At the beginning of October, Scripps PRSSA traveled to Austin, Texas for the PRSSA National Conference. If you don’t know, PRSSA National Conference is where PRSSA Chapters from schools across the country come together to network and learn about everything PR.
This trip marked a lot of firsts for me: my first plane ride, my first time outside of the Midwest and my first National Conference. I loved every second of it, but here’s some of my favorite moments.
At the Welcome Ceremony, every school does a Chapter roll call where they do a chant to mark their presence at the conference. Scripps PRSSA decided to change the words to one of our favorite songs and perform it for everyone. This was so much fun and started off the conference in a positive way. If you have not seen the video yet, here’s our roll call!
Attending different sessions throughout the course of the weekend taught me so much about PR, event planning and personal branding. I attended a session about creating and maintaining an effective personal brand with Jason Mollica, a professional lecturer at American University, where he showed us how to balance our personal passions and personality with a professional presence. I attended a powerful session about how city officials kept the city of Austin under control when a serial bomber had the city in a panic in March 2018. The panel gave so many great tips about crisis communication on a large scale, and they told us that transparency and honesty is the best way to handle a crisis like that. Another interesting session was about maintaining athlete reputations in sports PR with Andy McGowan, an instructor at Georgia State University. My favorite session of the whole weekend though was actually at the PRSA Conference with former Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall. He spoke about making marketing campaigns with purpose, creativity and humanity because those factors help audiences connect with the company, and he showed examples of campaigns he created for Coca-Cola and Airbnb that gave the whole audience chills. All of the sessions offered throughout the weekend were incredibly inspiring and taught me a lot about how the professional world of PR works.
When Scripps PRSSA was not at sessions, we were getting food. From brunch to ice cream to tacos to In-N-Out, we tried everything Austin had to offer – and it was all incredible. My favorite thing we ate, however, was barbecue at Stiles Switch BBQ. Our chapter barely spoke at the restaurant because we could only focus on eating. For a foodie like me, this was one of my favorite moments.
At the end of the weekend, we attended the Awards Ceremony and Dinner, where we networked with other chapters and enjoyed some closing remarks. This was my favorite part of the trip, because Scripps PRSSA was awarded the Dr. F.H. Teahan Outstanding Chapter award out of over 350 Chapters. I have never been so proud to be from Ohio University, and it was incredible to be awarded for our Chapter’s hard work and dedication. The moment was surreal, and I am so glad I was able to experience it with the other members of Scripps PRSSA.
Overall, my first National Conference was a huge success. I had so much fun networking with other students and professionals, learning about every aspect of my future career and bonding with our Chapter’s members. I cannot wait to go again next year to National Conference in San Diego, California and learn even more about public relations.
Hannah Schuller is a junior studying Journalism – Strategic Communication and can be found on Twitter @hannahschuller_