“Who you know gets you in the door. What you know keeps you there.”
These were the words of Meredith Klein, a public relations and social media senior account executive, as she explained that establishing connections with other professionals can open up opportunities, but does not guarantee anyone a permanent position with a company.
Klein works for an established communications agency called Gatesman + Dave, and recently spoke at this year’s PRSA-Pittsburgh’s Professional Development Day. Waynesburg University PRSSA Chapter members had the privilege of listening to Klein and many other public relations practitioners speak on issues like crisis management, ethics and the pressure that public relations professionals feel to cover multiple areas of media content.
As a freshman public relations major, who has little experience and only a basic knowledge of public relations, I found the Emerging Professionals Panel to be the most valuable session. The group of four knowledgeable public relations professionals focused on discussing how to prove the misconception wrong that “millennials” are entitled.
With all of the negativity that surrounds the word “millennial,” it was refreshing how the young panel, including Klein, pointed out that “millennials” actually have the upper hand when it comes to working with technology. We know how to utilize social media more than any generation that has come before us and can use this to our advantage as we make our way into the business world.
Though we may know more about how to navigate technology than those began their public relations careers twenty years ago, the panel encouraged us to be as absorbent as sponges – always asking questions and being ready learn more about our field. The main piece of advice that I gained from the session was that we, as “millennials,” must continuously work harder to prove ourselves as business professionals and stay current, creative and passionate in everything that we produce.
It was inspiring to hear from a panel of professionals who were really not too much older than I am. A few years down the road, I hope to be as confident in my abilities as a public relations professional that I will be able to proudly represent Waynesburg University’s PRSSA Chapter on a larger scale and share my experiences and knowledge with students who aspire to work in public relations in the future.
Olivia Kelley is currently a freshman public relations major at Waynesburg University. She is a part of the WUPRSSA Chapter and serves as the high school initiative scheduling consultant for the Chapter, as well as an account coordinator for Red Brick Communications. She is also a member of the Waynesburg University track & field team.