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Leadership Rally Overview

This past weekend we sent our VP of Programming, Ashlyn Rochester, to Scottsdale, Arizona to represent our chapter at the Leadership Rally. The Leadership Rally attracts PRSSA members from all over the country. The goal of the rally is to give the members leadership skills and ideas to implement back home to their chapters.

Here's what Ashlyn had to say about the rally:

Day One

We heard from Mickey G Nall, APR, PRSA , Professor at the University of Florida, at dinner. We had introductions from national PRSSA board members, and a fantastic Mexican themed buffet dinner. The main point of the evening was to network with the other attendees, so there were no concrete workshops to discuss.

Day Two

We began the day strong with a presentation from the immediate past president of PRSSA. We heard about a campaign they are planning to implement about membership. The new campaign is called “What’s Your PR?” and it will focus on the benefits of why people join PRSSA. Like, for the networking and job opportunities.

Next, we heard from Aerial Ellis, author of the "The Original Millennial" and a professor at Lipscomb University. She told us about various types of leadership when it comes to dynamic teams.

1. Transformation- engages others to create connections and motivates others.

They are known for having qualities like: being highly influential, a strong role model, extra intuitive, magnetic, high performer and having high expectations. While these are all good qualities, Aerial warned us that sometimes a transformative leader can be seen as egotistical.

2. Authentic- use a transparent approach to teams, mirroring natural born leaders.

They are known for being: trustworthy, having a sense of purpose, full of great ideas, acting upon values, being sensitive to others, and being transparent. A weakness to these characteristics is the leader might be seen as a narcissist.

3. Servant- desire to serve teams then lead.

Servant leaders have the following qualities: good listener, empathetic, using their influence for good, caring about change and social justice, has keen foresight, and they lead with their heart instead of their head. The downside to these characteristics is that the leader may seem unrealistic as they are perceived as altruistic and dreamy.

4. Adaptive- engages teams through problem solving and looking at the big picture.

Adaptive leaders are known for being: task orientated, flexible, organized, focusing on the tough and appreciating conflict. But the opposing side might see an adaptive leader as shady. The leader will step down if there is someone is more suitable for the position, yet the leader might harbor some frustration if it doesn't get done.

Aerial made sure we knew all of these roles because we will "be each of these leaders for your team."

Aerial Ellis discussing the different types of leadership.

After a quick break, we had a discussion among chapter cohorts group. Depending on the size of your chapter, you would go to one room. In these discussions, we exchanged challenges our chapters are facing and some possible solutions for these difficulties. I found this to be extremely useful to hear from my peers about what their chapters were doing, and that they had the same issues sometimes. Some of the issues were meeting attendance, fundraising struggles, and accountability on the executive board. All of these difficulties were met with several possible solutions.

And following another delicious buffet style meal ,we heard from from Gary McCormick, APR, PRSA, owner of GMc Communications. Gary gave us a presentation about planning out events and meetings. The session was called "Make it Fab" and Fab stood for Food & Fun, Accessible, and Benefits. These are the key elements to event planning. He also explained the benefits of doing a SWOT analysis of our chapters and our events. For those who don't know, SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Some of Gary's recommendations for planning meetings were: changing it up to keep it exciting, doing before and after promotion of the event, and asking and using speaker assets,

Gary McCormick, APR, PRSA, owner of GMc Communications beginning his presentation about event planning.

From left to right: Ben Butler, APR, National PRSSA Professional Adviser, Alisa Aggozino, APR, Ph.D., National PRSSA Faculty Adviser, and Robert “Pritch” Pritchard APR, PRSA Instructor & Faculty Adviser, Lindsey University of Oklahoma Norman, Oklahoma

Following that session, we heard from a few of the national PRSSA advisors about how to leverage your resources. This was a great reminder about the importance of networking, and doing something as simple as asking to buy someone a cup of coffee could lead to a great connection, or even better, a mentor.

Some key takeaways I got from that session were:

-Ask for opportunity

-Using social media as a tool

-Always answer a call, email, or text from a professional connection first and within 24 hours

-Hand written thank you's are powerful

-No opportunity is beneath your pay grade

-Always have business cards handy

One advisor gave a great presentation about how to build a professional network. Here were his tips:

1. Go to events, specifically something that gets you excited

2. Pick a profession you admire and ask them for coffee

3. Use your current network to grow your network

Ask colleagues for introductions

4. Make your initiative known

 For example: I am looking for a job or mentor

5. Regularly seek counsel from mentors to increase your vision

 He stressed the importance of having three different types of mentors. One mentee, one mentor 5 years ahead of you, and one mentor 15+ ahead of you.

Day Three

On our last day we had a great keynote speaker, Becca Booker, previous freelancer and owner of Homemade Social. Becca gave a presentation about freelancing, which I found very useful as I'm interested in that industry. Here is what I learned from Becca:

Becca Booker, previous freelancer and owner of Homemade Social giving a presentation about how to free lance.

When interviewing for an internship or applying for them, you should:

-Make everything a PDF

-Research their social media

-Tailor your resume & cover letter to the company

-Include analytics statistics

-Message them on social media saying you applied

Becca also discussed the benefits of being a freelancer compared to working in an office from 9-5. One benefit of freelancing is the growth potential when freelancing. A benefit to an office job is the stability and being able to have healthcare through work. As a freelancer, you would need to provide your own healthcare and learn how take taxes out of your income. A positive to freelancing is the ability to make your own schedule, which can equal the ability to travel.

She gave tips on what should be in a portfolio (hint: analytics should be included). Becca also gave plenty of resources for where to advance your current skills, where to find freelancing jobs and internship, and tools and apps to help be productive.

Final Thoughts

Overall, it was such a fun time. It was a great mix of educating and still having fun. It was beautiful to be in a space with such like minded people who have the same goals as one another. I made so many connections and friends to other chapters. This leadership rally gave me the confidence boost I needed to feel like I can successfully do my job in the chapter, and be a good leader. This rally helped grow my excitement for the upcoming semester. I'm so excited to hopefully see these people again in four months at International  Conference in October!

From left to right: Abby Reich, PRSSA President at UW Oshkosh, Ashlyn Rochester, VP of Programming at UNR, Lauren Tritch, VP of Communications at UNL, Delaney MacKenzie, PRSSA President at GVSU, Mallory Grimm, Firm Director for 1910 PR, and Lauren Grizzell, member of PRSSA at Georgia Southern.


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