By Hannah Ross
As we transition to a new EBoard for the upcoming semester, the outgoing EBoard wanted to reflect on their final thoughts from the year. Here’s what Cordelia had to say.
- How did you first join PRSSA?
I joined the first semester of my freshman year. I went to the student activities fair and the AU PRSSA representatives were just the nicest people on the quad! I thought the club seemed interesting, so I went to the general interest meeting and it seemed like such a dynamic club with nice and welcoming members. So I decided to spontaneously join a PR club – which is pretty out of character for me as a CLEG major. But sometimes the best things are the things that push you out of the comfort zone.
- What made you want to run for EBoard?
A couple weeks in, Melanie approached me about running for Director of Finance. And so I decided to apply – and I went to the career center four times to have my application looked over before I sent it in!
- Describe some of the responsibilities you had as director of finance.
A lot of it was acting as a liaison between everyone in the club and American University. That meant communicating on behalf of PRSSA to Club Council and Student Activities and figuring out the financial needs of everyone in our group and determining if they were reasonable, and if so, how we could achieve our financial and fundraising goals. I had to balance what the club wanted with what was feasible, and then convey our requests to the university in a way that showed how our requests fit with our overall vision for the club. So I work with a lot of people doing a lot of things.
- What were some of the bigger challenges of the position?
Communication was definitely a challenge. For example, when Lauren (our events director) needs something, she goes through me, and I have to communicate to the right people at the university about what we need. And things can sometimes get lost in translation. Email can complicate things and it can be aggravated by having to go through so many people, which isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault. So I had to figure out how to be an advocate for our club and effectively communicate our needs to the right people in an efficient way.
- What was your favorite thing about being director of finance and what was the most rewarding?
I loved getting to work with everyone. From working with everyone on the EBoard one-on-one to help them figure out their money requests, I’ve gotten to know every single person on the team a little better. I really liked being able to help people realize their vision for their roles and getting to know each member’s distinct personality.
When I started on EBoard, I had to handle three events right away without having any experience. And when I was able to figure out all of the logistics, it made me realize that I had great people to work with who could help me. But I also realized that I was able to handle a lot of it on my own.
- As a freshman, you’re the youngest EBoard member. Did that present any challenges?
Honestly, no. For the most part, people forget that I’m the youngest. Lauren even thought I was a grad student for awhile! The only challenge was that I didn’t really feel qualified to be a mentor in our mentorship program. I did have to adapt to AU’s rules and working with an EBoard, but that’s just part of joining and leading any new club.
- How did you balance this position with your other commitments?
I am part of the student advocacy center, the SPA leadership program, a leadership LLC,
and I’m taking extra classes right now, and PRSSA is a pretty time consuming commitment as well. But actually in a good way, because I’ve learned so much about dealing with people, managing time and deadlines, and avoiding stress. I balance everything by keeping a lot of to-do lists.
- What type of skills did you build from having this position?
Communication and extreme organization. For every single event, there could be four to five forms, surveys, and receipts I need to keep track of. There was a steep learning curve to figuring out how to keep track of those forms. So I learned how and when to do all of that through trial and error.
- What is your favorite PRSSA memory?
This is a hard one. There are so many good memories. I really liked the president’s panel. Even though I’m not a PR major, it was so encouraging to see where people ended up and to see the amazing things people can do from their time at AU. And it was amazing to see Melanie take that step as well. Melanie and the former presidents on the panel are in such a different place in life than I am, so it’s great to hear from people who are at a different point in their lives share their lessons with us.
- What advice do you have for the next person who will take on your position?
It goes back to communication. This position isn’t the most glamorous, but it can be really rewarding. You get to help people achieve the vision they have. But be ready for lots of paperwork. And remember to be patient, because people won’t always understand on the first try what it is you need with them. On the EBoard and the university side, the people you work with will be dealing with a lot of other things. So just be patient with the system and the process.