By Gentry Benett
After a very long trip from our little town in Athens, Ohio, seven Bobcats arrived in Nashville for a weekend full of public relations.
NASHvantage, a PRSSA Regional Conference, took place at Belmont University from March 20-22, 2015. “Entertainment PR: Beyond the Music Industry” was the tagline for the conference, but I think all of the attendees got a lot more out of it than learning about entertainment PR.
The weekend began with dinner and a surprise musical performance. We dined on chicken, salad, veggies and lots and lots of dessert while meeting the directors of the conference and networking with professionals that sat at each table. A local singing group, Jasmine, sang for the 200 attendees from 27 different colleges across the country and awed us with their vocal skills.
We brought our goodie bags home and dove in to our gifts: Goo Goo clusters, Belmont University drinkware and more. Excited for the events of the next day, we went to bed with a few nerves and stomachs full of Nashville’s finest dessert.
Saturday was a jam packed day: breakfast came before the keynote speech which was followed by sessions of amazing speakers: representatives from Goo Goo, Omni Hotels, the Nashville Predators and more came to tell us about their communications strategies and tactics.
A young professional panel brought the attendees together again, learning about the life we will (hopefully) be living as PR pros in the near future. Dinner that night was up to each attendee to choose, everyone splitting off to enjoy tacos, barbecue and more. A night on the town led to sleep from a long day of networking and learning.
Finally, breakfast on Sunday morning brought awards (our own Megan Newton winning for “First to Register”) and goodbyes.
Overall, NASHvatage was a great experience. It helped me to learn a lot about entertainment PR and how the skills we learn now will apply to our careers. My favorite session was with Hope Cooper Buckner, a young professional who works for Belmont University in the Communications Department. She gave her audience some great pieces of advice including the one that stood out to me the most- “you may not know the last step, but you’ll always know the next step.”
For more, check out #NASHvantage on Twitter for all the live tweets from the conference!
Gentry is a sophomore majoring in strategic communication, minoring in marketing and pursuing a certificate in social media. After graduation, she hopes to run the online presence for a company. Follow her on Twitter at @Gen__andTonic!