Learning and Networking at the PRSSA National Conference

As members of the vibrant Rochester PR community, we are fortunate to have the ability to attend regular professional development workshops and networking events hosted by PRSA Rochester. But occasionally traveling farther for a national conference can be an incredible experience.

Olivia Rotondo and Alexandra Hristodoulou, two students from St. John Fisher College, recently had the opportunity to attend the PRSSA National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. According to Alexandra, there are two big benefits to attending a conference like this one – networking and knowledge. And not only that – conference goers can learn from and network with professionals from a wide range of backgrounds. According to Olivia, “in classes, you don’t always have the chance to interact with someone in Fashion PR and Crisis Communication within the same day.” 


"New friendships and insights on PR further fueled my excitement for the profession."

Alexandra Hristodoulou
Secretary, PRSSA, St. John Fisher College
Account Executive, The PRIMA Group

"I'm definitely inspired to pursue a career in PR after attending the PRSSA National Conference."

Olivia Rotondo
Treasurer, PRSSA, St. John Fisher College
Social Media Coordinator, The PRIMA Group


Here are four additional insights from Olivia and Alexandra’s trip:

Excellence is in the details

Scott Williamson, vice president of public affairs and communications for Coca-Cola, impressed upon Alexandra the significance of paying attention to the little details in your career. “I got hired because I shined my own shoes and ironed my own shirt,” he explained. Seemingly small details are what makes great work and a great personal brand stand out – and they’re essential to getting you hired.

Mentorship is important

There was a huge emphasis on mentorship relationships by all the speakers at the conference. Students should feel comfortable reaching out to new and experienced professionals to ask for advice and recommendations. According to Olivia, “professionals are always willing to help you because they have been in your shoes.”

Reading, writing and relationships

These are three of the most basic, important skills for a PR person to have. Read to stay up to date and informed, write to improve your communication skills, and nurture relationships, because PR is the business of relationships.

Have confidence as a young professional

Hilary Hanson McKean, partner and managing director of global practices for Ketchum, provided key career advice. “Raise your hand,” said McKean. “It’s important to ask questions, be open and jump at new opportunities.” When you are obviously interested in your work, your colleagues will be interested in you.

After the conference, both Alexandra and Olivia are more inspired to pursue a career in public relations and more confident in their own potential. In fact, the only challenge they face now is finding their own niche within the field. From crisis management to experiential marketing to social media, there are a lot of options to choose from!

Have you attended a professional conference before? Leave a comment with the most important thing you learned during the event.

Jim Mignano

Jim Mignano is an Account Executive at Text100 and a College at Brockport alum. He is currently serving as PRSA Rochester’s President-Elect and also volunteers with the Young PR Professionals group. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or learn more about him in PRSA Rochester’s Advisory Network.

Return to list


    Leave a Comment