2012 PRSSA Conference: Day 4

Things are starting to wind down here in San Francisco. As I am writing this, myself and the other PowercatPR members are gathered in a communal hangout space provided by our hostel, planning our departure tomorrow. It has been an outstanding, and exhausting, adventure here on the west coast. Most of us are pretty tired, and ready for a well-earned, full night’s rest.

This morning started off with two more keynote speakers, once again on behalf of our parent organization, PRSA. The first speaker, June Cotte, Associate Professor of Marketing, spoke on the topic of how consumers behave in today’s rapidly changing market; specifically with more and more companies choosing a more ethically-focused business plan.

The second was the founder and chief strategy officer of Pandora, Tim Westergren. Westergren told us about his journey to success, and how being a musician himself has affected the way he decides to run his business. The address was in the form of an interview, and Westergren entertained the audience with his laid-back, dry sense of humor.

After these speakers, the group reported back to the Westin Hotel for a chance to meet and network with upwards of 25 companies and agencies represented at the conference. We were all lucky enough to meet with some great people and increase the number of doors that will be available to us in the future.

Following the company expo, the group took part in a nice, long break for lunch. We decided to take advantage of this break and visit San Francisco China Town.


 True to its name, this area stuck to displaying a strong sense of Asian culture. The decorations, shops and restaurants added up to making you feel like you really took one step out of the US and into old China. Our adhoc San Fran tour guide, Benson Ho, was insistent that we try real Chinese food while in China town, and he showed us to a great, underground diner called R and G Lounge. The group took full advantage of the opportunity to try something new, and it was delicious!


 Following the extended lunch break, we finished up with a few more break out sessions. After our final sessions, we took part in some retail therapy, as the kids call it these days. The shops are plentiful in the area, and provide a great place to relax and browse over-priced clothing.

 The day wrapped up with a final awards ceremony and banquet. PRSA and PRSSA spared no expense in preparing a truly incredible closing ceremony for the conference. Scholarships were awarded and hard-working chapters recognized, alongside an excellent dinner.

We have had an inspiring experience in San Francisco, and are ready to settle back into Manhattan and start putting to work all the wonderful ideas we have picked up at the 2012 PRSSA Conference. We have grown together so much as group, and forged many new friendships along the way.


2012 PRSSA Conference: Day 3

Day 3 of the PRSSA National Conference began with a keynote address by Fred Cook and Peter Debrecy (@fredcook and @peterdeb, respectively). The former being President and CEO of GolinHarris, and the latter a Consultant for Gagen MacDonald. Both of these men were featured as part of the “living legends” portion of the conference, where students got to learn from those who have thrived in the business for many, many years. They spoke on topics such as the changing world of PR and the future role that our generation will play in the industry.

Our group has learned so much so far. PR is a rapidly changing field, and demands a commitment to constantly learning about new things. However, despite this need for a constant, working mindset, our group has managed to  find time outside the conference to foster close friendships. We have all learned so much about each other here in San Francisco, and our unity as a chapter is growing faster than ever.


After the key note address, PRSSA students were invited to attend the PRSA keynote address, featuring Twitter Co-Founder, Biz Stone. This was a tremendous opportunity for PowercatPR attendees, and we took full advantage. Stone is a fascinating and accomplished man, and shared with us a vibrant picture of his values, goals and path to success.


Following this second address, our group once again attended various seminars. These seminars were performed in a similar format to the past few days, and we once again picked up some great pointers to implement upon our return to Manhattan.

Today’s conference events concluded slightly earlier than normal, and we made sure to schedule in time to see a little bit of the city. We made our way to the iconic Fisherman’s Wharf, where we enjoyed a delicious San Fran-style dinner. Following dinner was a little more shopping around the pier, accompanied by excited conversation about how much we’ve learned so far.

Tomorrow will be our last, big day of events. The day will feature a chance to meet with professionals already working for a company or in a field that we currently harbor a particular interest in. The day will conclude with an awards ceremony and formal dinner, where we will get the chance to network with members of our parent organization, PRSA.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have enjoyed our little mini-series so far! This city has certainly been quite the adventure, and we have had such a great experience due, in large part, to the cooperation of our members. They have really made this trip the amazing opportunity it’s been so far.

2012 PRSSA Conference: Day 2

Our second day in San Francisco started off much sunnier than the first. With a day of fog and jetlag behind us, the gang set about to make the most of day two. After waking up at a brisk 7 a.m., we enjoyed a complimentary continental breakfast, followed by a fantastic introductory seminar.


We were lucky enough to witness a keynote address by speaker Timothy Jordan (@TimothyJordan), Senior Developer Advocate at Google working on their social platform, Google+. Jordan spoke on many topics, including the importance of PR in our world, as well as the necessity of the balance between science and art. Jordan also briefed the conference on the applications of Google+, and how we can make use of it in our daily lives. The keynote address was followed by a roll call where all schools answered their call with a brief chant.

Afterwards, chapters were allowed a nice, two-hour lunch break. After grabbing a delicious grilled cheese from a swanky sandwich shop called The Melt, myself and two of our attendees, Lauren Swirbul (left) and Rebecca Martineau (right), decided to grab a quick coffee.


Following our little burst of coffee-fueled energy, it was time to get down to business! PowercatPR leapt on the opportunity to learn and grow, and our members attended various, info-packed seminars. These featured high profile professionals speaking on topics such as social media in the political word, healthcare communications, tips on how to skyrocket your PR career, the world of integrated marketing communications (IMC) and many more.

The work day wrapped up with officers from all the chapters gathering and discussing problems they faced, and how other chapters went about solving similar problems. This collaboration was very helpful to our goal of always striving to improve ourselves and our organization.

The evening featured some relaxing free time. Walking around San Francisco has certainly been an adventure on its own, and the ladies on the trip have enjoyed getting the chance to peek around some local shops. We were all very tired after a filling Japanese dinner, and decided to wander back to the hostel for a full night’s rest. Tomorrow will be another early one, but we are definitely very excited for what the day has in store for us. It has been so great meeting and building relationships with like-minded PR students from around the country. Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

2012 PRSSA Conference: Day 1

Despite a 6 a.m. departure from Kansas City, PowercatPR’s brave team of adventurers has just completed their first day of the 2012 PRSSA National Conference in San Francisco! And what a day it has been. It’s surprising how much can get done in a day when your days last upwards of 19 hours. It wasn’t long after the gang checked in at the HI San Francisco Downtown hostel when we were suddenly thrust into a glob of energetic, smiling PR students from around the country. And this isn’t just your mom’s old conference. They put us to work from day one!


 The Kansas State chapter was eager to get to work on crafting some cards for hospitalized children. This was a collective effort being performed by many attendees of the conference.


Following arts and crafts, PowercatPR sat in on various seminars featuring tips on how to improve your chapter, increase your success in an internship, improve governance of your student-run firm and many more. It has been a very long day for us, and everyone is ready for bed after a night of networking and dancing at the conference mixer. Stay tuned for nightly updates on our west coast expedition!