The Power Of Initiative

What are you waiting for? There are a million tasks that need to be completed, and you know which ones fall within your scope of responsibilities and skills. So why aren’t you doing them? If the answer is, “No one has told me to yet,” you’re about to get the leg up on how to impress your boss.

One simple rule to follow that can help you differentiate yourself from the crowd is taking initiative. Sounds easy enough, but the reality is so few people act on those opportunities. We could blame the millennial generation for being babied and wanting everything handed to them, but it could also be as simple as being afraid of failing.

It’s time to let go of that fear and put your best foot forward. If you do fail, then own it, learn from it and move forward. Take the initiative, you will get noticed more quickly and become more appreciated in the workplace.

So what does this phrase “take initiative” mean? Plainly, complete tasks or volunteer for more, before you are told to. Instead of being handed a list of things you need to complete, anticipate what will be on that list. Also, be willing to take on a little extra responsibility when the opportunity is offered up.

One example could be knowing exactly how your boss likes reports submitted. Maybe they like three physical copies on their desk before they walk out the door in the evening. They always send a reminder email in the morning so no one forgets. However, yours are neatly stacked on their desk before they walk in that morning.

A big project coming up? Ask what you can do to assist the team. Don’t wait for them to come and see if you would like to help. Take the reins and show them that you are willing and able to do a little more.

Always ask if there is more you can be doing. Sitting idle is a waste for you and your organization. Breaks are necessary and overworking is entirely possible. Know your capabilities and take on what you can. Every little bit helps.

Every day, think about why you do the work that you do. Hopefully you do it because it is a passion and you love it. If that is the case, why aren’t you constantly striving to do more and get better? Use that passion to drive your initiative.

A final story to leave you with. While hiring executives for the 2015-2016 ImPRessions firm, we had to turn a few members down. One of which reached out and ask to meet and talk about how she could get better. As soon as we received a new client over the summer, she was placed as an executive. Her name continues to resonate with me as she moves up within the firm.

Take that initiative. Show that you care about your work and demonstrate your capabilities. Those little actions can leave lasting effects.

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Austin Ambrose is a Senior Journalism major. He is also the CEO of ImPRessions. Follow him on Twitter @Tex_Ambrose7.

Golin CEO Fred Cook’s Career Advice: Improvise More, Worry Less

By: Allison Zullo

B3z0B-rIYAAjy4u.jpg-largeScripps PRSSA gathered on Monday, Dec. 1 for its usual weekly meeting. However, this week’s meeting was anything but usual. Why? Because Fred Cook, CEO of Golin, one of the top public relations firms in the world, was visiting Ohio University to speak to PRSSA and other Ohio University students about his unlikely journey to becoming a CEO of a major global PR firm.

Cook’s speech was all about improvising, which he defined as taking your skills, resources, and experiences and turning them into something exciting and special. He stressed that improvising is a survival skill, particularly in the professional world.

Cook explained that he lived a relatively normal life until his freshman year of high school, when he was kicked off the tennis team after participating in a weekend tournament with older men that was not sanctioned by his school. At this point, he said, he began his education in life experiences, rather than school experiences. Cook believes that these life experiences are often more important than what you learn in school, and help you tremendously in the real, professional world. The more life experiences you have, the more ideas you will have, and the more ideas, the better.

Cook stressed many unorthodox points about how to prepare yourself for the professional world someday: travel the world, experience different things, ask questions (especially of those in leadership positions at your internships), don’t be afraid to run with your crazy idea(s), customer service is important in ANY line of work, and much, much more. With each piece of advice Cook gave, he included an always-hilarious life experience he had that taught him these lessons. From traveling the world on a ship and being arrested for drunk driving for a company that offered rides to people too intoxicated to drive, to improvising during his job as a California tour guide, Cook’s entertaining stories never failed to make the standing-room-only audience laugh, while learning invaluable career advice.

B3zxBOlCQAEEqeO.jpg-largeCook ended his speech by stressing one thing: worry less, and be braver! He understands that it takes a lot of courage to be brave, but Cook stressed that courage is built by experience, and there is no way you can fail if you have countless experiences on which you can fall back. He left us with a single quote: “In your career and your life, it’s about the experiences you have, not about the promotions and salaries you earn.”

Cook stayed after his speech to sign copies of his book, “Improvise: Unconventional Career Advice from an Unlikely CEO,” and talked to those who approached him with questions or a desire to chat. His speech was based upon what he wrote in this book, and even more of his crazy stories and life experiences are detailed in it, so if you are interested in learning more about Cook, pick up a copy of his book and start reading (and stop worrying)!

Getting the most out of your LinkedIn

By Allison Zullo

As aspiring PR professionals, we are a little too familiar with social media. From Twitter to Instagram to Pinterest, we know the ins and outs of both the personal and business sides. But what about LinkedIn?

If you’ve never heard of it, LinkedIn is a social media site where professionals can connect with each other and companies or businesses. In short, it is an essential networking tool that all professionals, including aspiring pros that are still in school and looking for jobs or internships like us, should be taking advantage of.

But don’t have a stress-induced panic attack if you haven’t created an account yet, or are confused as to how to gain more connections or add more information. Here are a few tips and tricks that will get you well on your way to being a LinkedIn expert.


Keep it professional. LinkedIn is a networking tool, so it is crucial to keep everything as professional as possible. Use a high-quality, professional-looking picture of you (and only you) as your profile picture, and make sure anything you post is business or industry-related and is not inappropriate in any way. Also, LinkedIn will notify you whenever someone views your profile, so keep the stalking to a minimum and save it for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Highlight your experiences. Input as many of your professional work experiences with jobs, internships, and organizations as you can. Add detailed explanations of what you were responsible for and what you accomplished. This isn’t your resume, so you don’t have to worry about keeping it short and concise; you can make it as long and detailed as possible. However, do make sure that your experiences are relevant and up-to-date. For example, if you’re about to graduate, don’t have anything from high school on your LinkedIn profile. In addition, you can upload your updated resume so potential employers can print it off and have easy access to it.

Join groups. Join groups that are relevant to what you want to do and what you are interested in. LinkedIn has many public relations and social media related groups, which allow you to connect with other aspiring and established PR pros that are interested in the same things you are. Ohio University has a group for both alumni and current students, where you can connect and network with other Bobcats.

Follow companies and influencers. Follow companies that you are interested in, whether it be for a job or internship, or simply because you like what they’ve been doing recently and want to learn more about them. You can also follow “influencers,” which are people (mostly founders and CEOs of major companies) that have amassed a lot of followers and write about specific topics. This can be a great way to learn more about the industries you are interested in, or even just learn a little bit more about current events from a different opinion.

Network, network, network! You don’t have to tell Scripps PRSSA twice! Connect with anyone you can on LinkedIn, from your peers here at OU to your coworkers and mentors at your internships. Whenever you receive a business card, search the person on LinkedIn and connect! You never know where these connections can lead, so don’t be afraid to get out there and send some LinkedIn invites. Just be sure to write your own personal message when connecting, instead of sending the generic one, to ensure that you stand out and to remind the person you’re connecting with of who you are and where you met.

Happy connecting, Scripps PRSSA!

Follow Allison on Twitter at @allisonzullo

My Freshman Year Experience: Gentry Bennett

By Gentry Bennett

ImageI have a strong belief that no one understands Ohio University until they come here. I too was once someone that wrote off OU as a backup school, and only applied here as such. Little did I know, four months after receiving my acceptance letter to the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, I would venture to Athens for the first time and fall head over heels in love.

The campus is gorgeous, the alumni are stellar and the opportunities OU offers are second to none. I knew the journalism school would be competitive and challenging, and that’s exactly what I wanted out of my time in college.

What I didn’t want, however, was to not feel at home. On tours, at orientation and again at move-in, the Class of 2017 was told to get involved in order to make the most of our college experience. At the involvement fair I signed up for everything that had anything to do with the wild world of PR I would soon find myself in.

During the first week of classes, I met everyone in my learning community and found two other strat comm majors. After deciding to attend the first PRSSA meeting together, three fearless freshmen walked in to Scripps Hall 111 side by side. From then on, it became a tradition. Every speaker “aww’ed” at the fact we were freshman and commended us on becomiImageng involved.

Beyond PRSSA and the amazing connections I’ve made through it, I also decided to join ImPRessions, our student-run PR firm. After submitting my application I figured I wouldn’t get a position as a freshman- but I got an email later that week stating that I made it on to the College Book Store account, my top choice!

The people I’ve met and the experience I’ve had couldn’t be matched anywhere else. Ohio University has truly proved itself to me, and I hope that everyone gets to see this side of Athens. More than just a small town, it’s a community of Bobcats willing to help each other and grow together.

After learning a lot about not only myself, but also about my career goals, I look forward to sophomore year for more of everything; especially spending my Monday nights with Scripps PRSSA, the people that have helped make Athens my home– now and forever.

Spring has sprung in Athens so take advantage of the sunshine!

By Jess Carnprobst

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 12.22.20 PMThe weather is finally getting warmer which means students are getting tired of doing the same thing they did all winter. When the weather is nice and the semester is coming to an end, you need to explore and find new ways to have fun. Here are some activities that I always enjoy when the weather is nice.

  1. Take your work outside

Instead of being cooped up in the library or your room, take your work to one of the greens and be productive there. I don’t know if it’s just me, but some of my most creative ideas come to me when I’m sitting in the grass with the sun shining down on me. It’s relaxing and productive!

  1. Take advantage of the nature scene

Whether you choose to spend the day at Strouds, Old Mans Cave, Bong Hill or any of the other majestic sites Athens has to offer, definitely take advantage of the options. Athens has so many beautiful places to visit, and I suggest that everyone take advantage of them while they can. I can’t tell you how many times seniors have told me they wish they visited these places more often.

  1. See Aaron Carter live!Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 12.22.04 PM

It’s been all the buzz for the past week – Aaron Carter’s coming to OHIO!! “Aaron C’s in the house, here we go!” Mark your calendars, because your favorite childhood star will be on South Beach on April 24.

  1. Have a picnic

Nothing beats eating outside in the warm weather. You can either pack your own meal or get Grab ‘n Go and eat on one of the greens. I’ve had SO much fun doing this! Some of my best meals have been Boyd Grab ‘n Go on West Green. The picnic feeling makes everything better.

One of the best things about OHIO is that there is plenty to do when the weather is warm. Athens is a unique town with so many opportunities. We’re lucky to be attending a college in such a beautiful area and there is no better time to appreciate that than in the spring. No matter what your interest is, there’s something fun for you, so get outside and enjoy the warm weather!

Scripps PRSSA welcomes new Professional Adviser, Zach Wright!

By Marisa Dockum

Scripps PRSSA is pleased to gain an eighth professional Adviser, Zach Wright. Zach is a Social Media Strategist at Razorfish in Chicago, Illinois. He has already played an vital role in the successes we have accomplished this year. Zach served as a panelist during our first ever PR Career Week and he has assisted multiple members with internship hunting.

Zach made time to answer a few questions as an introduction to Chapter members:

  • What stood out to you most about Ohio University’s PRSSA Chapter?
  • Zach: What stood out most to me, was just how driven the members were. Every single person I have connected with from the Ohio Chapter, has displayed such a passion, and such a willingness to not only take advice, but to learn from and apply it.
  • What are you looking forward to most with being a Professional Adviser?
  • Zach: I am most looking forward to connecting with each and every member of the group and figuring out how I can help guide them to a successful career.
  • Looking back, if you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be?
  • Zach: Join PRSSA! Also, I would tell myself that it’s ok to not know exactly what I want to do yet, and that I should explore my curiosities to the fullest.
  • What is your preferred definition of public relations?
  • Zach: I define PR as, creating and defining cultural moments and movements.
  • What is your favorite aspect of PR and social media?
  • Zach: My favorite aspect is when you’re able to actually affect people’s lives. Whether it’s through customer service, or through a message.

Please join me in welcoming Zach to Scripps PRSSA by tweeting at him, @zacharywright. We are happy to have him as our newest professional adviser!

#ScrippsSummerChallenge Week 2

By: Nicole E. Spears

The Scripps Summer Challenge program was introduced to help Scripps PRSSA members keep in touch, as well as in tune with their PR skills, over the long summer months.

Were you bored this week, Scripps PRSSA? We had an amazing group contribute to this week’s Scripps Summer Challenge, so I’m going to credit either an increase in downtime, or the fact that we introduced a reward for the best participant: an Ohio University journalism tee. (Check out the back–true, no?)

This week’s challenge was to download the PRSA Ethics mobile app and share one thing you learned on twitter. If you don’t have the app yet, I would definitely recommend checking it out! There are plenty of handy things to learn, here’s what our members found out:


tweet 1Thanks to all who took part! Don’t forget to look for next week’s challenge in your inbox tomorrow.

What have you learned from the PRSA Ethics app? Share in the comments below.

#ScrippsSummerChallenge Week 1

By: Nicole E. Spears

The Scripps Summer Challenge program was introduced for the first time last week to help Scripps PRSSA members keep in touch, as well as in tune with their PR skills, over the long summer months.

Last week’s #ScrippsSummerChallenge asked Scripps PRSSA members to connect with a professional using social media. Unfortunately, we don’t have any testimonials to share with you this week.

Instead, here are some ideas of how you can use social networks to make new professional connections:

  • Twitter: It may be the easiest way to start a conversation. Tag someone with an article you think they may be interested in, ask a question, or simply introduce yourself. Don’t forget that if they’re also following you, you can use a direct message to make a more legitimate connection.

  • LinkedIn: It’s true that it is a bit counterproductive to “connect” with people that you don’t know on LinkedIn, but that doesn’t mean that you should rule it out for networking. Joining groups and starting discussions is not only great for finding new connections, but for continuing your education outside of the classroom or office. Also, check out this post by Cidnye Weimer about using LinkedIn for networking.

  • WordPress: Reading is so important for young professionals, and a lot of great content is coming from fellow PRSSA members or colleagues. Use the WordPress reader to keep up with some blogs, and comment on posts that resonate with you.

  • If you’ve seen other’s About Me pages, you might have thought they were simply a bio. However, an profile is a great complement to a blog or website. By including your keywords, it can help build your online presence and SEO results, making it easier for others to connect with you.

How else do you make connections using social media?

Scripps PRSSA’ers, don’t forget to take part in next week’s Scripps Summer Challenge! Look out for the email about each new #ScrippsSummerChallenge on Monday mornings.