April 22 – Laura Villwock, Direction Home

Scripps PRSSA was more than pleased to welcome Laura Villwock, Communications and Development Coordinator at Direction Home, the Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities, to speak to the Chapter.

Laura Villwock earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from the University of Akron and a Masters of Business Administration from Ohio University. Laura spent her early business career in retail bank management and finance. In 2008, Laura joined the team at the Center for Marketing and Opinion Research where she expanded her skill set in research, public policy and grant writing. Laura’s current position as the Communications and Development Coordinator with Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities has allowed her to be more closely involved with a population she has a particular regard for. Laura is a FEMA certified Public Information Officer, Lean/Six Sigma green belt, board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Northeast Ohio, Co-Chair of the Career Success Institute Conference, Ambassador for the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce and the Chair of the Stark CARE Coalition.

Here are some takeaways:

  • Community outreach refers to efforts that connect an organization’s ideas or practices to the public.
  • “Volunteerism is something you can do to spread the message through people and their stories.”
  • Community engagement is important, because the people you are serving will learn your story and cause when you are more involved.
  • “You need to know your audience and who you’re reaching out to.”
  • Legislative advocacy refers to efforts to influence the introduction, enactment or modification of legislation.
  • “The more people who speak about your cause, the more influence you have.”
  • “Get involved in an organization and use it as a tool for your public relations career.”
  • “The message that Direction Home tries to focus on is choice.”
  • “Go out and be an advocate for the cause that you care about.”

Sydney Davis is a junior Journalism-Strategic Communication major and current Scripps PRSSA VP of PR. Keep up with her on Twitter @_sydneyadavis

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