PR Advanced: Be The Change – What Advice Would You Give?

Last weekend I was invited to be a speaker at PR Advanced: Be The Change event at Boston University. I was excited for the opportunity to sit on a panel with executives from other PR firms, notably Fleishman-Hillard and Edelman. Other speakers included executives from the likes of IBM, MTV, APCO Worldwide and the Boston Celtics.

The first thing I noticed about the event was the energy from the students. I sat in on a few working sessions before I spoke, and I was impressed with the students and their ideas. In one session, the students were divided into groups and assigned the task of designing, with as little resources as possible, an out-of-the-box campaign for Of Rags, a sustainable fashion organization. I watched the students brainstorm together and then present in front of the judges – and I was impressed with the number of ideas, the professionalism of the presentations and the ability to show creativity and solid plans with only a half hour of prep time. In addition, none of the students in the room had ever met each other before, and yet they presented as cohesive groups. Some professionals don’t even work together that well!

During my panel session, the moderator asked some basic questions about a career in PR, what the Boston PR industry is like, hot upcoming markets for PR and so on and so forth. Students asked questions and we answered them with both large and small agency viewpoints. Questions came through about how agencies decide who to hire, what would get the attention of a recruiting manager, what a typical day is like (answer: that’s the best part about agency life, there is no typical day), etc.

It was a pleasant panel and I think that the students appreciated the insights – or at least, the follow up conversations and thank you notes I received indicated so. If you’re a student or a new professional entering the PR industry, what questions do you have that we can help answer? If you’re already a professional in the industry, what’s one piece of advice you would give to students and new recruits so they can indeed “be the change” our industry needs to survive and thrive?