I’ve realized recently that most of my posts, I take that back, all of my posts have been about how women still have it hard in the world. Yes there are always issues with beauty and some old laws that can cramp the free will of the modern day woman at times. But, women are on top of the world right now.
Last week I attended DePaul Universities PRSSA Regional Conference in Chicago. I was blown away. The conference was Thursday and Friday, on Thursday those who signed up for firm tours were broken into groups and taken to two large, well known, PR firms in Chicago. I was able to visit Ketchum one of the largest Public Relations firms worldwide. It was a pleasure to be able to sit down and learn more about what goes into working at Ketchum. That’s a whole other story in itself, for now I’m going to focus on the amazing women I encountered over the weekend.
What I was most surprised to find was the number of women I encountered that were so empowered. First off was the Key Note Speaker on Friday, Susan Howe the president of Weber Shandwick Chicago. Her address to us was to be engaged, and passionate. The enthusiasm with which she spoke about public relations and working with clients was amazing. Her main presentation was on “Five things in the Market Place” a basic overview of how PR is being used and updated in today’s society and the atmosphere of the job market. Because I love to share cool new things, here they are briefly listed out.
1. There’s a diversity of opportunity – Many different ways to reinvent yourself and branding opportunities over, and over
2. “Career experts are ‘bullish’ on PR” – Yes it may seem tough out there right now for us young professionals entering the work force, but this can be a good thing! It’s easier to spot those applicants who are truly interested in working in public relations now.
3. PR is ‘inline storytelling’ – Now more than ever we are connected. It’s no longer a linear model of communication. It’s an intricate web and at every step of the way we need to be there as advocates for our clients
4. It’s a brave new world – There are many mega trends developing every day: brands showing their value and values to customers are even more important today, corporate social responsibility. It’s time to act fast and jump on all of these opportunities.
5. How can you be your best advocate? – Give every client what they need, be behind your client every step of the way. If you don’t believe in them who will?
Wow, with a keynote speaker like that I was extremely excited for the rest of the day. I was definitely not disappointed with what followed. My second session was with Linda Bergstrom from The Chicago Tribune. A tell it like it is powerhouse with “decades of experience” as she puts it. Linda ran a seminar called “Pitch Perfect” about how to properly pitch a press release or event to a media outlet, specifically newspapers. It was wonderful to be able to sit in front of a woman who had so much experience that she was will to share openly. We flipped through her email in box which was projected on the screen as she tossed aside a dozen press releases that just weren’t up to snuff. Explaining the in’s and outs of how to put together a successful press release. In the coming days I’ll post on that in the coming days.
Following that session was “Standing out in social media” with Sarah Evans. I’m not going to lie, this is what motivated me for the rest of the day. Seeing what Sarah has done in such a short time to affect so many people is simply astounding. In this seminar I finally understood Twitter! That same evening I went back to my hotel room before dinner and completely revamped my Twitter and started rolling ideas through my head of how to make my blog more viable in the PR world. I will post another blog later this week with tips from Sarah on how to create an online image of yourself and what you do. Sarah was just recently listed in Forbes as one of the 14 most powerful women on Twitter. Sarah was the first to tweet the earthquake in Chicago last week, and was front page news at both NYT.com and CNN.com by 5:30a.m. that same morning. It is simply amazing what this woman has done with social media. I walked out of that session almost singing “I am woman hear me roar.”
This is merely the tip of the iceberg of powerhouse women in the PR field. Keep following me as I post twice a week about things I’ve learned as a PR peon (I’m graduating in May, and am well aware of all the information I still need to soak up), as well as checking out amazing women in the field. I’m sure on occasion something will grind my gears and one of those great old 21st century feminist posts will come back as well. Until then, keep on keeping on.