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.

Last minute tips for PRSSA elections

By Kelsey Miller

031110_voted-1Whether you’re new to running for PRSSA elections or not, there are a few things to keep in mind while putting your cover letter and speech together:

Don’t just run for a position to be on Eboard. Be sure that it’s a job you enjoy. If you aren’t thrilled with the duties of that position, you probably won’t be good at it. Don’t let your pride of being on executive board cloud your brain. Make sure to run for the position that suits you.

Talk to the exec in that position now. I’ll let you in on an exec board secret: they love when you want to talk to them. We assume that when people talk to us about our positions, they will take it more seriously and take initiative.

Execs give great insight and ideas about their positions that lead to great talking points in your speech. When I met with the former VP of external relations, Marisa Dockum, she talked about putting together a professional mentor program. Although I didn’t get the position, Briagenn, the current VP of external relations, did a great job executing the program this year!

During your speech, talk about what you’ll do with the position, not why your qualified. This is where killer ideas come into play. You have one minute to persuade people into voting for you; make it count. I don’t care why you’re qualified for the position unless it pertains to the duties at hand. I will always vote for someone with less experience that has more innovative ideas than anyone that has a dozen internships under his or her belt.

Don’t discount the cover letter. The cover letter is a free pass to bragging rights without being judged, so take advantage! Not everyone will read your cover letter, but I can assure you the current executive board, our professional advisor and members that care about the chapter will. Give concrete examples about your skill set that match the duties of the position you apply for.

Make your speech natural. A lot of people have public speaking anxiety. I strongly recommend against a memorized speech or a speech you read word for word. If this is how you feel the most comfortable presenting, then do what is best for you.

I am a fan of bullet points on an index card and having an idea about what you want to say about each point. This opens up the opportunity for the speech to flow naturally and letting the chapter see your personality. Showing emotion in your speech shows how much you care about the chapter and the position.

Talk to your friends. Never let a position get in the way of your friendship. Have open communication with friends who want the same position and understand that your friendship isn’t worth throwing away for a leadership position. Friendship also shouldn’t discourage you from running for a position. Run for the position you want.

Running for the Scripps PRSSA executive board is a great experience whether you get a position or not. It is great exposure and gets your name out there. If you haven’t considered running, you should give it a shot. If you have any questions, please contact me or any other executive board members. I’m excited to see you all on election day!

2627e23Kelsey Miller is Scripps PRSSA’s Vice President of Internal Relations. She is a junior majoring in strategic communication, minoring in marketing, specializing in in travel and tourism and working towards a social media certificate. After graduation she hopes to work at an agency with visitors bureau accounts or accounts that deal with resorts. Follow her on Twitter at @kelseymiller300!

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)!

Fish, Non-Profit PR, and D.C.: November 10th meeting recap

By Allison Zullo

This week’s meeting was the last for the semester. It’s crazy how fast time flies!


  • Our annual Thanksgiving Dinner is this Monday, Nov. 17 at Ben Clos’ apartment, 317 Palmer Place. Contact Megan Newton if you still want to bring a side dish or help cook. Also, bring a holiday outfit! We will be taking a “family picture” for a holiday card to send to our professional advisors and faculty members.
  • PRSSA will be hosting a Twitter chat this Tuesday, Nov. 18 and 9 p.m. Come participate with Scripps PRSSA in Scripps 114 – there will be free pizza!
  • The Mentor/Mentee game show will take place Thursday, Dec. 4 in Baker 231 at 8 p.m.
  • Fred Cook, CEO of Golin, will be visiting campus and speaking Monday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. in Walter Rotunda. Make sure you mark your calendars to hear from one of the most well-known and influential people in the PR industry!
  • Tentative dates for the spring semester networking trips are Friday, Jan. 30 for Cleveland and Thursday, March 26 – Friday, March 27 for Chicago. Get excited!
  • Member spotlight this week is Steph Gort! She will be graduating this December and will be greatly missed by all of PRSSA. Give her a follow and a shout-out on Twitter at @StephGort.
  • ImPRessions spotlight this week is AVW Productions (@AVWProductions). Congrats on a successful first event of the year, Punkin Chunkin’!

Project Updates

  • International Education Week starts this Saturday, Nov. 15 with the International Student Dinner (which is sold old). It continues through Nov. 20. Visit their website,, or follow the hashtag #OHIOIEW14 for more information and the full schedule of events.
  • The Scripps Innovation Challenge team is working hard to promote weekly boot camps and recruiting teams to register for the challenge. Registration ends Dec. 4, so make sure to encourage your friends and peers to form a team to compete and register, even if they aren’t Scripps kids! Visit and follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @SIC_OHIOU for more information.
  • International Week will take place sometime in April and have designed a logo! The team is now in the process of solidifying an official marketing plan.

And now for today’s speakers: Lynsee Fowler and Gavin Gibbons from the National Fisheries Institute!


The National Fisheries Institute is a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. that focuses on educating the government and the public on seafood safety, sustainability, and nutrition. Fowler is the communications manager for the organization, while Gibbons is the vice president of communications.

This meeting was all about non-profit PR. Fowler and Gibbons explained that a large part of their job is advocacy for seafood safety. Even though they are not registered lobbyists, they are basically lobbying on Capital Hill constantly in order for their message to be heard by the government.

Gibbons stressed that if no one is talking about your message, it essentially doesn’t exist. Therefore, you must work to get people talking about it! The best way this can be done is to get it on paper, but social media or any other publication methods work well, too.

Fowler talked about an innovative PR/marketing strategy that has been successful for the NFI: short, edgy videos that get their message across in memorable way. They used tactics such as humor and fear (just a little bit…) to draw attention to the message they were trying to get across, and found that this method was successful in getting the attention of their target audience of government officials.

 Thank you, Lynsee and Gavin, for speaking to #ScrippsPRSSA! We learned a ton about what it’s like to work for a non-profit organization in D.C.

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

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!

Why every PR student should study abroad

By Erin Golden

The benefits of studying abroad as a college student can be described just like the places you can go: unlimited. At the risk of sounding like every other student who’s had the privilege of traveling, stepping out of my comfort zone and living in a foreign country for a semester changed how I look at people, the world and even PR.

With endless opportunities available, many students are overwhelmed and don’t know how to start their journeys abroad. Especially with the amount of work that PR students do, taking a semester or summer off to study abroad can seem like too much. But the positive lessons that can be learned from traveling, taking pictures, map-reading, cobblestone-walking and mistake-making are numerous. I wouldn’t take back my experience for anything, but I will give some pointers to my peers who are contemplating starting a journey abroad.

1. Look at life through a different lens. Whether it’s a 2-week-long spring break trip to Ecuador, or a year-long exchange in Leipzig, Germany, exposure to how other people live can help you to understand how their societies operate. Understanding people means understanding their views and opinions, making it easier to put things in their perspective. I never thought I would have so much in common with a fifty-something woman from Toledo, Spain. And although it may come as a surprise to many Americans, not everywhere operates the way we do – and sometimes, their ways might be better. A little exposure to different elements never hurt anyone.

2. Be self-reliant.  When you’re in a foreign city, GPS and iPhones aren’t a reliable source for getting directions or Googling questions. Using paper maps and asking people for directions are a lost art in the days of technology. Many young adults don’t know how to read a map anymore or figure out their locations without their phones. Exploring new cities and countries while abroad is the perfect place to get lost and learn how to find yourself. Trust me, the amount of times I got lost is laughable, but I always found my way.

3. And when you can’t rely on yourself, trust others. When traveling, you learn how to rely on yourself, but you also learn that people all over the world are, for the most part, genuinely kind. If you need help, ask someone. Or lean on the shoulder of your travel buddy. Learning how to compromise and make decisions as a group can be extremely difficult, but after traveling in a group and being forced to come to a collective decision in a timely manner, working in a group is much easier. “Give a little and take a little” can be a good motto for school, PR and life.

4. Materialistic things aren’t as important as you previously thought. With limited space in your backpack or suitcase, it’s just not possible to bring everything you own. And backpacking from hostel to hostel means no laundry – re-wearing the same clothes will become a reality. Plus, when money is tight and your backpack is small, it makes more sense to spend money on experiences rather than things. If I could extend only one piece of advice to future study abroad students this would be it. Memories of the sky-flight over Madrid will most likely last longer than the keychain you bought at the palace. Experience trumps things, every single time.

In any line of work, experience is key. It’s not always the degree you have or the title it comes with, but the projects and work you’ve done before. (And as Scripps kids, we know this well.) However, studying abroad can be the trip of a lifetime – and may teach you things you never would be able to learn walking the streets of Athens (as much as we love those beautiful bricks). The whole world is out there; it’s just up to you to decide your destination.

Scripps PRSSA 9/30/2013, RECAPPED!

By Emily Barber

What a busy evening for PRSSA’ers! Once again, the seats of Scripps 111 were filled with people – notebooks open, laptops ready, eager to learn.

However, what’s a meeting without a few announcements? If you’re interested in being on the Dave Rave Halloween PR team, don’t forget to sign up. Dues-paying members must have their $75 paid by October 14th. Also, an internship at an independent PR firm is open, so be on the lookout for more info! Finally, the team who will be attending National Conference was announced – congratulations everybody!

After the updates, we started off with a brief visit from Ryan Lombardi, VP of student affairs here at OU, who provided a bit of encouragement by saying he is “continually impressed” with the work of PRSSA. He also admitted he is quick to turn to us for Twitter tips – after all, we are the social media pros! 

To keep with the theme of Twitter, we welcomed experienced marketing strategist and OU professor Nate Riggs as our keynote speaker of the night. Aside from working with multiple Fortune 500 companies, Nate is nothing less than a Twitter guru. He began right off the bat by declaring his main message, “the secret to winning as a business on Twitter” is to “build new cultural habits.”

Nate went on to share the advice of some of his favorite authors, including Jonah Berger, the man behind the book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On.” One of Berger’s main explanations for his book title is explained in his S.T.E.P.P.S. acronym – Social currency, Triggers, Emotions, Public, Practical value, and Stories. Nate also shared some habits to form that can help in mastering effective Twitter and marketing strategies, including, “be clear about your intentions” and “consistently take calculated risks.”

A lot of useful information was shared at tonight’s meeting. Not only is the journalism industry changing, the world of marketing is as well. Nate predicted that in ten years, the majority of people will know how to use Twitter effectively, and social media campaign committees will no longer be necessary. However, a firm grasp and lots of experience can only make us more prepared for all of the other exciting opportunities to come!

If you want to learn more about Nate Riggs, head over to his website. Or if you’re interested in his marketing class “Special Topics”, or as he likes to call it, “Content Marketing Habits”, you can check out their blog at You’ll find the course under MKTG 4900 in the catalog.

Thanks again to Nate, and we’ll see the rest of you tonight at 6 p.m. in Scripps 111! 

Get ready for the first PRSSA meeting of the school year!

Aaron%20BrownThe first Scripps PRSSA meeting of the 2013-2014 school year will take place tomorrow, September 9.

In accordance with tradition, Aaron Brown of Fahlgren Mortine Public Relations will be the keynote speaker for this kickoff meeting. A career agency professional with a deep passion for his clients’ and the agency’s success, Aaron plays a leadership role in Fahlgren Mortine’s account management and operations, matching the expertise and specialties of the members of the Fahlgren Mortine team with each client’s unique needs.

Aaron is also an account architect specializing in integrated business-to-business marketing and communications campaigns. Programs under his leadership have consistently earned local, regional and national honors. Aaron earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism in 2001.

Come join us in Scripps 111 at 6 p.m. to hear Aaron speak about agency life and the various roles and responsibilities of a PR professional.

Scripps PRSSA, the crazy family you’d be even crazier not to join

By Allison Jordan

We all have different reasons for attending Ohio University, but this one fact is what brings us together as one. Simply put, all Bobcats leave a little piece of their heart in Athens. Period.

It’s now easy to see how every experience and challenge I faced, throughout my time at OU, has prepared me to be the best possible version of myself for the “real world.” I’m realizing that even if those four years weren’t the best of my life, they sure as heck were filled with non-stop memories and shenanigans that can never be topped. Athens is a magical place and only the fortunate few who have attended school there can really understand how special it is. Time goes by so fast and before you know it you’re standing in line wearing a cap and gown. I should have listened to Kenny Chesney when he told me not to blink… geesh! Make sure to relish in every absurd moment that passes your way and for the love of all things sacred, get your butt to Union Street Diner, Strouds and Hocking Hills. You’ll miss them.

Once you graduate you’ll gain perspective on some of the more important memories and events that happened while at school. For me, PRSSA was a very common thread in a lot of those memories. I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I received the email that we obtained a Regional Conference bid, or the feeling I had when we walked up on stage to accept a National Teahan Award. Some of my most proud moments in college came from our chapter’s accomplishments. In addition, some of my most fun memories in college are from our chapter events – just watch the vines from our Senior Sendoff if you need proof. I love sitting back and seeing how amazing all the underclassmen are and how connected everyone has become through this organization. Scripps PRSSA is truly a crazy family and you would be insane to not join in on the fun. Need more convincing? Just ask one of the executive board members about the chapter. In a second their face will light up and they will ramble on and on like it’s their own baby. Don’t hold it against them, they’re just insanely passionate about what they’re doing for the chapter and it’s infectious!

Even though you try to pretend it won’t happen to you, graduation will come and you’ll be forced to say goodbye to our secret bubble of paradise. But the good news is that post-grad life is kind of amazing. Who knew? I moved to Chicago three weeks after graduation and it was by far the best decision I’ve ever made – aside from choosing to go to OU, of course. I’m now working as a post-grad account management intern at Zócalo Group. Zócalo is Omnicom’s premiere WOM agency and part of the Ketchum global network. But most importantly, it has some of the most amazing people I’ve ever worked with and a culture that I’ve never experienced before. My transition from being a college student to working full time has been so much easier than I ever thought it would be and I have PRSSA to thank for that.

So, key take away, join Scripps PRSSA. You’ll never regret it. I owe so much of what I’ve accomplished to this amazing organization and the crazy, talented people who mentored me there. In this competitive industry you just need two things, experience and connections. Scripps PRSSA will give you both, and some of the best friends you could ever ask for.