By Zach Ferenchak
From networking to career and chapter development, the recent Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Leadership Rally in Scottsdale, AZ provided valuable insights that Culpwrit invited me to share. Here are some of my favorite moments:
Diversity and Inclusion: The Importance of Why
One of the most impactful themes that emerged from the weekend was the importance of why. This idea resonated with me the most after a presentation by Aerial Ellis, author, professor, strategist, and adrenaline junkie, among many other amazing things. Aerial was speaking on diversity and inclusion and how we can embrace diverse peoples within our chapters and schools. The point that she drove across was that instead of thinking of diversity and inclusion in terms of an objective to meet, that we should ask ourselves why we want to embrace people of diverse backgrounds in our chapters. My answer to that is that we must embrace diversity because diverse voices lead to innovative ideas. Each person brings something special to the equation and that is something that can be celebrated more within our industry.
Commanding Your Career with the Networking Trident
This session started with a spoiler to the latest Aquaman movie, (you have been warned). Hosted by Ben Butler, APR; Dr. Alisa Agozzino, APR; and Robert “Pritch” Pritchard, APR, Fellow PRSA, it made an effective analogy between Aquaman’s trident, which grants him command of the sea, and what the speaker trio coined the “networking trident”, which grants you command of your career. The three forks of the networking trident are the educational network, the PRSA network, and the professional network. What I learned from this session is the importance of quality connections. With just three intentional connections, your network can grow exponentially. Things like asking for help and offering help, just showing that you care about your connections can go a long way. One thing that I love about this industry is that professionals are always looking to give back and add value to student experiences, and I hope to continue that same trend as I offer counsel and guidance to younger members in my chapter in the years to come.
Goal Setting: Sending More Members to International Conference
I have been extremely blessed with the opportunity to attend now four different PRSSA conferences throughout my collegiate career. The conference experience has opened my eyes up to so many different opportunities, allowed me to meet new people, find my passion/niche and more. I must extend my sincerest thanks to both PRSSA for granting these opportunities to students and also Capital University for financing three of these conference trips.
That being said, one of my goals for this upcoming academic year is to send more members of Capital PRSSA to the upcoming PRSSA International Conference in October. The International Conference is the defining event for a student’s PRSSA experience, and you truly do have to be there to understand how that is so. I hope to inspire and open the eyes of some new Capital PRSSA members by sending them on this trip in the fall. I received a lot of claps when announcing this to the session of chapter presidents, and hope to deliver on the goal I promised to that room and to myself.
Those are just some of the things I learned at my first ever PRSSA Leadership Rally. I am excited to get things started for the year at Capital University PRSSA and hope to elevate the student experience for chapter members just as this rally has done so for me. Here’s to another year of learning, growing, experiencing, networking with intention, and leading with purpose.
Zach Ferenchak is a current student studying Emerging Media at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. He hopes to one day use his communication skills to support creators in the games and technology industries.