Tuesday, September 26th, was PRSSA’s biggest event of the year. Portraits of Success really was a success! This one-day represented months of rigorous planning, as well as many ups and downs. A major part of event planning is to accept that no matter how much you plan, you cannot predict everything, and at least one thing will go wrong. There is nothing more rewarding than enjoying the fruit of your hard work, to see it all come together. From planning such a hard scale event, I learned a lot. I learned how to be organized, how to delegate, time management, and stress management.

Let’s start from the beginning: the planning started from merely an idea that I had at the end of April, and all of the steps in between leading up to the event. Last year, as a freshman, I attended the Living Legends event in the fall, I was blown away by the event, and I learned so much from the speakers, but I never really realized how much planning was involved in such a wide scale event. I knew that I wanted this event to focus on networking, and to really promote professional development for those in the communications as well as other fields. It started with the name of the event. I knew that it had to be a name that truly encompassed the goals of my event, as well as one that grasped the attention of those who heard the name. Since the purpose of my event was for aspiring professionals to listen to successful individuals and how they got to the place that they are now, I knew that I wanted the word success to be a main theme of the event and I was sure that I wanted it to be in the title. I incorporated the word portraits because I wanted the panelists to be the faces of success and I thought that the word portrait really encompassed the art of networking. After I had solidified the name and the theme of the event, I knew that it was time to solidify the speakers that would be the portraits of success. One thing that helped me during this process was to take note of the speakers from the events prior, and the types of speakers and advice that our members and attendees would like to see. I noticed a trend from past events of networking from city to city. After much thought, I had the idea of having the theme being about networking from city to city, and I decided that I would reach out to speakers from LA and NY.

Reaching out to speakers made me understand the importance of having a well-rounded network, and pushed me to make sure that the speakers that I reached out to would encourage other students to expand their network as well. I would say that the primary difficulty of planning this event was solidifying the location, speakers as well as co-sponsors. Planning and following up were the parts that took the utmost patience. At the time of the planning stages of this event, I did not have an events committee, so the PRSSA Eboard collaborated with me to make sure that this event was successful and that it promoted the interests and values of PRSSA.

The Eboard’s ideas and feedback for the event really allowed me to plan the event in the right direction. Working with Emma as well as our faculty advisor really put me on the right track and allowed me to steer the event in the right direction. Each planning stage and idea allowed the event to be as successful as it was. When the speakers were finally confirmed in mid-June, it really allowed me to see the vision of the event, and how the speakers would reach the audience of aspiring professionals. An important skill that I gained from this process of event planning was to cope with what happens when the planning of an event does not go as planned. When the original location that I confirmed for the event fell through, I felt as though I had failed as an events director, and that my event would not go as I wanted it to. When I secured a new location, I remained positive and continued to secure the vision that I had for my event. Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better event, and it was so uplifting to see the attendance of the event and the networking that occurred after the event with the panelists.