Boston University’s Public Relations Student Society of America, or PRSSA, hosted its 13th regional conference, PR Advanced: Pilot your Future, at BU’s Photonics Center on Saturday, February 23. Highlighting the tools that young professionals need in this evolving industry, the conference not only featured outstanding keynote speakers, but also provided personal workshops, including resume critiques, LinkedIn headshot sessions and breakout sessions to help professionals pave their way for the future.
This year’s conference theme, “Pilot your Future,” aimed to guide students transitioning from school to work this year. BUPRSSA’s conference coordinator Rebecca Owen said, “I’m inspired to make this year’s event career-oriented by giving our attendees tangible skills and advice that they could take into their first jobs.”
Brandi Boatner, brand communication manager at IBM Corporate Communications, shared an interesting and significant step called “personal branding” in the job seeking process. “Each person is a brand,” said Boatner. “If you can’t brand yourself, how can you do the branding for a company?”
A graduate from BU, Michael DiSalvo came back to speak as a senior vice president of Health & Wellness at Ogilvy . Sharing his job hunting experience, DiSalvo advised students to “work smarter and harder to get ahead,” and “Do more + Try more= Learn more.”
Even though the event lasted longer than 10 hours, it never deterred students’ passion to learn more. “I love the session with Brandi because her topic is really down-to-earth and relatable,” said Kcyonna, a freshman from Rider University. “I learned a lot being authentic to myself and I think the conference gave me much more confidence to network.”
“Although I am not a PR major, I learned a lot from PR Advanced,” Yike, a BU graduate said. “It provides career advice, industry insights, as well as networking opportunities from experienced professionals in the large integrated marketing sphere.”
In contrast to previous conferences, this year’s PR Advanced designed Resume Critique and LinkedIn Headshot sessions to give attendees what they need to start off their first career.
“The conference made me feel more hopeful by preparing me for the future,” said Olayinka, chair of COM graduate council’s social department.
Aiming to inspire, educate and encourage young people while they are discovering the communication industry, Owen said that PR Advanced’s ultimate goal is to “foster the next generation of communications professionals.”
Ruotian Bai, Staff Writer
Ruotian is a first-year public relation graduate student in COM. She received Bachelor of
Management from Communication University of China (CUC). Ruotian worked as an editor
for CUC’s school newspaper for two years and interned in China Central Television Business Channel. She enjoys dancing, traveling and watching movies.