PRSSA National Assembly: Session Recap

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David Grossman, Founder and CEO of The Grossman Group, closed out this year’s PRSSA National Assembly with an emotional discussion that provided audience members with enough Twitter-worthy one-liners to fill their feeds for days to come.

Grossman’s speech, which focused on the positive effects of authenticity on life and leadership, really hit home with me. It was the perfect end to a successful conference, leaving me with a sense of empowerment, a respect for self reflection and na eagerness to tackle the future head-on.

According to Grossman, the key to happiness and effective leadership is authenticity, or “the constant process of being truthful with yourself and others.”

In college, we are all filled with anxiety. We are worried about our futures, our grades and finding our place to “fit” in the world; however, it is these worries that take us out of the present and lead us further from the authentic selves that we strive to be.

So, you may be wondering, how can I be authentic when I am still trying to find out who I am and what I believe? Or…how can I let go of my worries and discover my path to success? Finally, if authenticity is so important to effective leadership, what can I do to encourage my peers to be authentic? All of these questions can be answered through some of Grossman’s most powerful, and most heavily Tweeted quotes.

  1. How can I be authentic when I am still trying to find out who I am and what I believe?

“In order to be authentic, you need to be curious about yourself and others, and the world.”

“The better you listen, the better your relationships will be…especially the one with yourself.”

Know yourself. Pay attention to what you already know about yourself. Think! Is this me?”

Key take-aways: Be curious. Listen. Pay attention

  1. How can I let of of my worries and discover my path to success? 

“When life gets too big, take a step back. When you get to the bottom of the mountain, don’t look up, just keep going forward.”

“Embrace who you are. You can’t let go of what you haven’t embraced, but if you own it, it can’t control you.”

“We have more courage than we might think we do.”

Key take-aways: Step back. Embrace yourself. Be courageous. 

  1. if authenticity is so important to effective leadership, what can I do to encourage my peers to be authentic?

“People may not remember our interactions with them, but they will remember how we made them feel.”

“How do you encourage authenticity? Lead by example. Words are cheap. There needs to be consistency over time.”

“Be intentional in your actions and lead by example.”

Key take-aways: Interactions matter. Lead by example. Be intentional.

Remaining authentic and embracing your imperfections can often be difficult; but, I assure you, when you remain true to yourself, the rewards you will experience will outshine hurdles you may encounter.

As I reflect on my experience at the 2016 PRSSA National Assembly, my feelings are of pure gratitude. In addition to meeting new people and exploring a new city, I was able to reconnect with old friends, and thanks to David Grossman, one of those old friends was me. After listening to Grossman talk about his journey toward authenticity, I now have a better understanding of myself and an unshakable confidence in what the future has to offer.


Megan Bayles is a current senior at Waynesburg University where she majors in Public Relations and minors in Marketing. Megan serves as our PRSSA Chapter president and is involved in many other campus activities.

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