Amidst beautiful spring weather, public relations students and industry professionals gathered together at the PRSSA Regional February Conference, hosted by BU’s PRSSA chapter. The conference “PR Advanced: What’s Your Story?” focused on the power of storytelling, providing insights about the public relations industry for attendees coming from all across the East Coast.
The day started with a keynote address from Karen Raskopf, Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer at Dunkin’ Brands. Over her 20 years of experience, she has held communications positions at Blockbuster, 7-Eleven and Ganettee Broadcasting. She talked about PR responsibilities in franchises and discussed the difficulty of crisis public relations for a global company.
“Big crises never happen on Monday,” she said. “It always comes on Friday afternoon when you’re ready to call it a week and go home.”
Raskopf also gave tips for landing internships and jobs that may seem out of reach, providing instructions for tailoring resumes to impress perspective employers. “I promise every one of you will find a job eventually, but you’ll cry,” Raskopf said. “I know it’s hard, guys. Work on it!”
After Raskopf’s address, seasoned PR professionals followed with more presentations. At one of the sessions, “Taking the Road Less Traveled,” Michael DiSalvo, Vice President of healthcare at Ogilvy & Mather, discussed how PR goes beyond big brands and flashy campaigns.
DiSalvo also offered advice about finding a PR job and growing while there, such as focusing on the skills that make you unique, showing that you care about an employer’s values, and realizing that your first job is not your “forever job.”
After a light lunch with students from other cities, attendees heard from an agency panel with employees from Jack Morton, MSLGroup and Allen & Gerritsen. The talks centered on the responsibilities and difficulties of working in an agency, specifically the hectic pace of the environment.
Keynote speaker Mary Scott, President of Global Integrated Communications at United Entertainment Group, closed the all-day conference.
Scott shared her experience on creating stories to boost clients’ recognition, such as making KFC the official late-night snack of the Oscars after-party and collaborating with Mark Ronson to promote Bose via Youtube videos. Her presentation taught attendees to plan, pitch, and tell engaging stories that resonate with audiences.
The day ended with a reception at Yard House in Fenway. Amid the food, beer and music, attendees realized that networking with peers, professors, and professionals can be loud, crazy and entertaining. The conference motivated attendees to reflect on the public relations industry and the problems PR professionals face.
For more information about PRSSA Regional Conferences, visit the chapter website or contact PRSSA Vice President of Regional Conferences Nicole Price at Nicole.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meggy Yu, Staff Writer
Meggy Yu is a first-year graduate student majoring in public relations. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business english in Beijing. Her passion for communications brought her to BU. The things she loves in life are traveling, cooking and photography.