- What made you want this position?
Hannah: I was approached by the immediate past president, who told me that I should consider running for an executive board position. I couldn’t figure out which one to go for when Darla, who I had met while working with ImPRint Communications, told me about the Digital Media Director position and how it collaborated with the PR Director position. I love social media and using WordPress, so I figured, why not?
Darla: It’s in my nature to step out of my comfort zone and run for leadership roles because I know that, in the end, it will help me grow as a student and a person. I specifically wanted the position as PR director because I wanted to gain more experience and learn outside of class. More importantly, it was the 2014-15 executive board who inspired me and encouraged me to become involved in PRSSA. I can’t thank them enough for the support.
- What is the most demanding part of the position? What has been the most rewarding part of your position?
Hannah: The most demanding part of being Digital Media Director is always having to be wired. Even on weekends, someone will email me with website trouble, or when I’m doing homework I’ll receive a tweet from someone that I’ll have to respond to. I still have to schedule things and create content during breaks. It never ends.
The most rewarding thing, though, is seeing engagement from people. I love seeing that people are watching our Snapchat stories or interacting with our posts.
Darla: The position requires you to be organized and prepared at all times. This can definitely be demanding for those who are involved with other organizations, have a job, take a lot of hours, or just have trouble balancing time.
The most rewarding part of my position is being creative with the newsletter and then sharing it with members. Another rewarding part of this position is having my news releases picked up from newspapers and the Manship School.
- Do you intend to go for a position similar to this when you enter the industry?
Hannah: Absolutely! This position made me realize that, while it is tasking, social media, website management, and content creation are what I love to do.
Darla: Yes and no. I plan to attend law school after I graduate, but I do hope I find a job where I can combine my love for public relations and law!
- If you could get members to describe your time in this position in one word, what would you want that word be?
- Walk us through a day in the life of your position.
Hannah: As soon as I wake up, I go through all of the notifications on my phone. I check my email, PRSSA’s emails, and emails I get from the website. I check all of the apps that PRSSA is on — looking through comments and messages. The day is a repeat of that, always refreshing to make sure I’m caught up. I’ll approve members, adjust elements of the website, and check in on pending blog posts.
Darla: Sidenote: Before fall 2015, I re-designed PRSSA’s magnet that displays the dates of our important events. I also re-designed the brochure for prospective members. As for a typical day as PRSSA’s PR director, I plan out the bi-monthly newsletter and news releases. I usually reach out to members, alumni or advisers to write about a certain topic for the newsletter and ask them to send it back at a certain date. Once I receive all of the articles, I edit for AP style and then send them to Tara to read as well. Then, I plug in the articles into the new newsletter template that I created and update any graphics in the newsletter (the “Did you know?” box and calendar). I am constantly thinking of new ideas of how to make the newsletter more engaging for readers. So I recently changed the newsletter to be completely compatible online, which means readers can read the newsletter in the comfort of their home on their laptop or phone and click on links for more information. I also recently created a one-page version of the newsletter as a way to encourage readers to visit PRSSA’s website in order to read the full version of the newsletter. As a result, the duty of updating the one-page briefs is now a part of a typical day as PR Director. For news releases, I pick and choose when to write releases and who to write it to. As we’ve learned from our guest speakers, it’s important to write releases on relevant and timely information. I’ve received a lot of great feedback when I sent releases about our success at the PRSSA National Conference!
- What would you say to anyone who wanted to run for this position?
Hannah: Be organized. I can’t stress this enough! Have a dedicated schedule for each week. Take advantage of the free tools around. If there’s going to be a meeting, don’t just talk about it — make a Facebook event. If you want to livetweet an event, don’t forget to @-mention the speaker and curate tweets from other people.
Darla: I agree with Hannah. Be organized. Use a planner to create deadlines for yourself. Create deadlines for people to submit articles to you, for you to send the edited articles to the president, and for you to send the final version of the newsletter to the president and faculty adviser. Ideally, these deadlines should be a few days before the PRSSA meeting where the newsletters are distributed. Your duties involve working with people and their schedules, so be mindful of people’s time and, of course, your own.
- Being students and members of ImPrint, what has this position taught you about time management? What is different about both organizations?
Hannah: ImPRint has you in group collaboration on more of a weekly basis. PRSSA is more bi-weekly. ImPRint also gives you tangible things for your portfolio or resume, but PRSSA gives you lots of leadership and soft skills.
Darla: Being heavily involved in ImPRint and PRSSA has taught me –and is still teaching me—to be quick on my feet and to keep my priorities straight. I remind myself that I made a commitment to both organizations for a good reason, so it’s important that I show it in my work. In ImPRint, I have to work with a group of people who have the same workload and responsibilities as me. This is where communication plays a major key, along with knowing how to delegate work between members. In PRSSA, I have to work by myself, in terms of designing the newsletter and writing the releases. This means that I have to discipline myself to get the work done in a timely manner. Communication still plays a major role.
- Any last thoughts?
Hannah: If you have any questions about this position, please talk to me! I’ve learned so much about social media and WordPress and really improved my skills with it.
Darla: I just want to say that being a part of the executive board is an experience like no other. It has challenged me creatively, socially, intellectually, and everything in between. I have so many pieces that I can now attach to my portfolio. I’ve made relationships and connections with guest speakers, members and advisers. I highly encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, and see what all the fuss is about. You will not regret it.