In conferences, Chapter meetings and Twitter chats, we always discuss how important it is to network and to increase your personal brand; what we don’t always acknowledge are the benefits they can have for your personal life. Although my story isn’t the typical PRSSA experience, it’s still one worth sharing.
When I first registered as a delegate for the 2014 PRSSA National Assembly in Charleston, South Carolina, I was so thrilled that I thought nothing could stop me. I was serving as president of the BYU–Idaho Chapter and had been told for two years that there was nothing quite like the PRSSA National Assembly experience.
Two weeks before the conference, my adviser asked me why I chose to attend National Assembly rather than the Regional Conference in Chicago. I had received a post-graduation position in Chicago, and it would be a great opportunity for me to visit my new office and also get some apartment shopping in. I was disappointed to leave behind National Assembly, but I knew that Chicago would be a great experience for me to better learn my future home. I changed my flights last minute and made the trip out to Chicago instead.
My first day at Regional Conference was a wonderful experience. I went to the opening mixer at a downtown Starbucks and got to network with over 100 other students who were in the same place in life that I was. The room buzzed with students saying,“Follow me on Twitter!” and handing out business cards.
One of the guys I had met that night retweeted me a few times throughout the conference during sessions with Derek Cuculich, director of public relations for The Onion, and Caleb Gardner, the director of social media and content for Organizing for Action and President Obama’s social media.
I did some creeping like the classic public relations girl that I am, but didn’t think about it too much. I discovered this mystery tweeter was Jake, a guy on the executive board for Utah Valley University who was a year behind me in school.
After the conference, we would occasionally talk on Twitter. In August, he sent me a friend request on Facebook and messaged me to ask for a little bit of career advice. We got to chatting — and didn’t stop.
Eight months later, we are engaged and will be getting married this year.
We live in a world of Tinder dates and mindlessly swiping right, but I’m so thankful I met my future husband in a more traditional way. I’m so glad that I switched my flights last minute to go to the Regional Conference in Chicago.
The lesson learned here? Put yourself out there. Network, but not for the sole purpose of getting a job after graduation. Make real, lasting relationships with everyone you come across. You never know, it may just lead to your very own public relations romance.
Molly Smock is an alumna and former PRSSA Chapter president of BYU–Idaho. She has become somewhat of a utility player in her career as she has pursued digital marketing and account management, and soon will make the move from Chicago, Illinois, to Lindon, Utah. In her spare time, Molly enjoys keeping up with the cosmetic industry, feeding ducks and watching entirely too much Grey’s Anatomy. Follow her on Twitter @ModishMollyXo or connect on LinkedIn.