Insightful and Inspiring: “Pair with a Professional” at ChappellRoberts
Today I visited ChappellRoberts in Ybor City for my PRSSA “Pair with a Professional” session with Katy Parsons and Christine O’Connor Turner. The experience was a wonderful eye-opener. I gained so much insight and advice from these two women that I am still trying to digest it all.
ChappellRoberts is a successful agency that specializes in everything from advertising, marketing, branding, public relations and issues management to new media. They take great pride in creating change for their clients and the community.
During our conversation this morning, Katy Parsons and Christine O’Connor Turner suggested several ways for me to better prepare for a career in public relations. I was a sponge absorbing everything that they had to say. I will share just a few of the suggestions that they made.
1. I need to work my butt off! In order to stand out in this competitive industry, you must be proactive. Both of these women were successful because they didn’t take no for an answer, and they pursued thier dreams with perseverance. Katy shared a brief story about sending out job applications during her Spring Break vacation, while her friends were vacationing and going on cruises. Needless to say, she had a job after graduation while most of them didn’t. She worked her butt off, and so will I.
2. Professors are the perfect networking tools. More times than not, successful PR professionals will turn to professors in order to find the best and brightest students entering the field. Both Katy and Christine landed their internships by working with their professors in some capacity. This taught me to value the relationships that I have with my professors here at USF. In the end, it might land me a job, an internship, or a corporate contact that I may not of gotten otherwise. Not much to my surprise, Katy Parsons referred to Professor Bob Batchelor, a public relations professor at USF who is well-known for helping PR students succeed.
3. Go above and beyond. Practice outside the classroom. If I am serious about pursuing a career in public relations, I must go the extra mile to study outside of the assignments and tasks given by my professors. Katy Parsons suggested that I utlize resources such as Lexis Nexis while I have access to them in college. I should also attend PRSA or AMA professional events, and meet professionals who are currently practicing what I want to pursue. Reading articles or magazines that pertain to the public relations industry provide even more perspective and preparation for the industry. Christine says volunteering for public relations projects or volunteering in an area that you are passionate about will provide you a valuable experience, and quite possibly land you a job.
The take-away that I got from this session today was that I should stop at nothing to get what I want. Both of these ladies are very successful at what they do, and they didn’t get there by chance. It took hard work, dedication and commitment. I am honored that I got a chance to sit down with them and absorb all the advice that they had to offer.