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 Emma had to say.
- How did you first join PRSSA?
I love telling this story! I came to AU undecided on my major. I took Understanding Media and we spent one class learning about PR. I thought it sounded interesting and seemed like something I wanted to explore further, so I set up an informational interview with a friend of my dad’s who works at an investor relations firm and I just got to know the field a little more.
As soon as the second semester started, I declared my major in PR. On my way home, I saw a flyer in the elevator that said “I’m a CAS student and I joined PRSSA. Come find out why” with a picture of Channing’s face. And I thought, oh well I’m a PR student now, I should look into this! And the last general interest meeting was actually that night. So I just went in with an open mind and I immediately fell in love with the organization. I could tell it was going to help me with my career and help me figure out what exactly PR was. So I paid my dues and I jumped right into it!
- What made you want to run for EBoard?
I had gotten to know a lot of the EBoard that first semester that I was involved in PRSSA. I was in a PR class where we had to interview someone in the PR field, so I interviewed Alex, who was the VP of PRSSA at the time. I got to know him really well, and we met for coffee two or three more times, and he told me I’d be a good fit on EBoard. It wasn’t really on my radar until I was nominated for two positions, but I decided to go for it, so that’s how it all happened.
- Describe some of the responsibilities you had as Vice President.
This year I’ve been in charge of our weekly newsletter. So after our Sunday night EBoard meetings, I pull together any events, chapter meetings, panels or fundraisers we have going on and I put them in the newsletter that gets sent out Monday mornings. I was also in charge of securing speakers for our chapter meetings, like Michael W. Robinson and Julia and Felicia from the Career Center. I’ve also helped with the mentorship program, which we’re turning into PRSSA Peers, and I’ve helped Melanie and everyone else on EBoard wherever I was needed.
- What were some of the bigger challenges of the position?
I would say making sure to meet deadlines and being proactive about planning and securing speakers were the biggest challenges.
- What was your favorite thing about being Vice President and what was the most rewarding?
Just getting to oversee the EBoard and getting to have a leadership role in this organization was rewarding. I was also amazing getting to travel to Indianapolis for National Conference and Seattle for National Assembly and meeting other PR students from across the country. Developing my own personal and career skills through PRSSA has also been really beneficial. I’ve learned so much through our chapter events, so it’s been rewarding hearing lessons I’ve already learned through PRSSA in my classes and feeling like I’m one step ahead.
- Vice President is a relatively new position. And you’re the youngest person to have held it as a sophomore. Did that present any unique challenges?
When I heard I was nominated for Vice President, I was definitely a little shocked, like who thinks I’m capable of doing this type of thing. But then again I met with Alex and he explained that he thought I’d be really good for it, so I went with it, and at the beginning it was a little nervewracking.
But Melanie assured me that even though I was the youngest person to hold the position, and at the time also the youngest on EBoard, I shouldn’t be afraid to speak up and feel confident on EBoard. It was a little scary at first. But I knew I had to just tackle it head-on. And it helped that I had a great EBoard to support me.
- What type of skills did you build from having this position?
I definitely built my public speaking skills. And really my pitching skills. I had to be able to pitch this organization to my classes and my friends. I’ve also improved my organization and time management skills. And I learned how to delegate tasks and trust people to do what I’ve asked them.
- How did you balance this position with your other commitments?
That definitely comes with practice, and it’s something I’m still working on. But it just comes down to being really organized. I have a huge calendar, one on my phone and desk. And it helps me make the right amount of time for what needs to get done.
- What is your favorite PRSSA memory?
That’s such a hard question! I would say National Conference was my favorite. There was 11 of us, and we got to spend 5 days together. We grew closer as a group, and we got to meet new people from across the country and I just think that was an amazing experience. It was something I’ll never forget. But at AU, my favorite event was probably the crisis event because it was highly interactive and we had to plan on-the-spot.
- What advice do you have for the next person who will take on your position?
It’s bittersweet! I’d say to be excited. Don’t be nervous to take on this position. It is still relatively new, but I feel like I’ve gotten to develop it a lot this year. And know that I’m here to help you if you need it! But the most important thing to remember is to manage your time and not get behind.