By Sierra Fatlowitz, Chapter President, PRSSA SJSU
Every year, over one hundred chapter presidents and firm directors travel to Scottsdale, Arizona for the PRSSA Leadership Rally. Greeted by public relations and communications professionals, students settle in for the weekend — 3 days full of professional development, mentorship, networking and fun.
Incoming Chapter President, Sierra Fatlowitz, represented PRSSA San José State University (PRSSA SJSU) at the 2018 Leadership Rally from June 1 - June 3, 2018. Following a welcome reception, Sierra attended workshops, panels and lectures aimed to:
• Energize members — improve recruitment and executive board management
• Discuss challenges — implement Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis
• Discover PRSA/PRSSA benefits — learn more about Champions for PRSSA, the PRSA Foundation, PRSA mentors and more
In a breakout session lead by incoming PRSSA National President, Andrew Young, student leaders participated in a SWOT workshop and shared their results in small groups. President, Sierra Fatlowitz, discussed the following analysis for PRSSA SJSU:
• Strengths: SJSU is accessible and has many students commuting from various parts of the Bay Area in addition to living on campus.
• Weaknesses: The city of San José and the surrounding areas are some of the most expensive places in California.
• Opportunities: SJSU has high incoming freshmen and transfer student rates in addition to offering many majors in the public relations and communications discipline.
• Threats: SJSU is in close proximity to other universities and has local competitors in the workforce from schools including; Stanford University, UC Berkley, UC Santa Cruz, Cal State East Bay, University of San Francisco and more.
Prior to the end of the rally, student leaders were encouraged to explore PRSA/PRSSA benefits and utilize:
• Champions for PRSSA — individuals, companies, agencies and organizations who offer financial and professional support
• PRSA online resources — webinars, publications, internships, scholarship applications and more
• PRSA members connections/network — both on a local parent chapter and national affiliation level
PRSA At-Large Director, Scott W. Thornburg, APR, delivered the keynote address at the rally. In addition to his national PRSA affiliation, Scott is also an active member in his local PRSA Silicon Valley chapter. Scott delivered an honest and humble presentation to students stating, “sometimes your five-year plan can become your seven-year plan,” and, “it’s okay if you fail, as long as you learn from it.”
After reassuring students that life doesn’t always go according to plan, Scott ended his time at the 2018 PRSSA Leadership Rally reflecting, “You are better than your excuses — just fix it.”
Following the rally, Sierra returned to San José and lead the fall planning meeting for the PRSSA SJSU chapter. In addition to discussing tips from public relations professionals and
other chapters, all eight board members worked collectively to assign responsibilities and brainstorm for the upcoming semester.
The PRSSA SJSU 2018-2019 E-board will aim to:
• Offer tutorials in services used by PR practitioners including Hootsuite, Cision and Buffer.
• Host resume critique sessions with industry professionals and HR specialists — including free LinkedIn headshots and profile setup.
• Facilitate hands-on learning opportunities for students interested in mass media by creating Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Final Cut Pro workshops.
• Draft an updated code of ethics in order to address the diversity and inclusion of the local chapter in addition to the established programs at San José State University.
PRSSA SJSU is excited to announce that they will be attending the PRSSA 2018 National Conference in Austin, Texas this coming October and looks forward to an exciting year full of agency tours, workshops, panels and mixers in an effort to elevate the member experience — enhancing their education, broadening their professional network and helping launch their careers after graduation.