2016 PRSA Pittsburgh Professional Development Day: Freshman Takeaway

Coming in as a freshman public relations major was extremely exciting for me; I had high hopes for considering I took a public relations course in high school. However, my expectations and knowledge of the field has been shattered this fall. My first PRSA Pittsburgh Professional Development Day was a huge piece of that.

I will admit, I was extremely nervous in the days leading up to the event. All of the upperclassmen who I look up to told me this is where they really knew they made the right choice by majoring in public relations. I wanted desperately to have this same feeling.

Overall, I really did enjoy my experiences that evening. For a girl who is usually a social butterfly, I found it terrifying to attempt to network with professionals. However, I took the challenge, and stepped outside of my comfort zone to engage and learn more from their experiences.

During dinner, I listened to the panel entitled “The Changing Face of Pittsburgh.” Topics of discussion included how the termination of a tangible copy of the Tribune Review affects our city, and where find work in the field within the city.

On the topic of finding public relations work in the city, Mike Lee an executive producer for Pittsburgh 365 said, “every business needs PR.” This comment really showed me that there are endless possibilities in the field. This excited me, as I would like to work in this wonderful city someday.

I chose to attend the “Mapping Career Paths” panel during the first breakout session. It was during this panel that I was really inspired by Steve Radick, the president of PRSA Pittsburgh. He encouraged all of us to get out and experience the world around us and to be “unabashedly you.” Prior to this, I assumed I had to be reserved, but Radick’s words on just being your unique individual was relief to my anxious soul.

I then attended the “Fresh Start: Building a Reputation for Start-Up Businesses” session. I chose this panel because I have considered starting an event planning business someday. It was there I learned from Jill Sciulli, director of marketing at Schell Games that building a brand isn’t something that just happens overnight.

While it would be amazing to wake up one morning being insanely successful, I learned from Sciulli that you must work hard to achieve your dreams and desires in your career. It may take some time and some errors to get to where you want to be, but it will happen.

I am grateful for the knowledge and connections I obtained at my first Professional Development Day. Thanks to this event, I know I have made the right choice in my major. The evening encouraged me to work hard for my dreams, and to ultimately remain true to myself. Without a doubt, I cannot wait to attend Professional Development Day next year so I can continue to grow as an individual and public relations student.


Nicole Tobias is currently a freshman public relations major at Waynesburg University. She is the high school initiative presentation coordinator for the Waynesburg University PRSSA Chapter, and serves as the public relations director and an account specialist for Red Brick Communications. She is also a student ambassador for the university’s Office of Admissions.

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