I jumped at the chance to attend the PRSSA 2019 National Assembly when my Chapter president first asked for volunteers. I was eager to have another national PRSSA event under my belt. As the date approached, I began to question my decision to travel across the country for a conference that, to my knowledge, mostly consisted of sitting in a room and voting.
Though I understood the importance of the democratic process in selecting our next national Chapter leaders, I was unsure of the value the event would hold for me as a delegate who was not running for national office and had no plans to in the future.
As it turned out, the weekend was more than worth my while and provided many opportunities for education and meaningful networking.
Speakers discussing diversity and inclusion brought to my attention issues I hadn’t even realized were at play within my own Chapter. I learned how to make diversity and inclusion a priority and core values of my Chapter through different conversations and decisions, and how to initiate these changes as a Chapter leader.
A session with current Chapter presidents offered insight into issues other Chapters were having, some of which were similar to my own. Leaders were able to share experiences and offer strategies they’d used to address similar problems. I now have a network of people to reach out to for help if I’m facing issues with anything from member retention to fundraising. As I step into a new leadership role in my Chapter, I found these interactions incredibly helpful.
These candid conversations led to connections with students from all over the country. I learned so much about other schools and their PRSSA Chapters from talking to students around me. I started many new friendships that I’m excited to revisit at the PRSSA International Conference in October.
I also learned valuable information about PRSSA as an organization. I learned about new programs and resources to explore such as the Regional Ambassador program and Champions for PRSSA. I personally met many students on the current and future National Committee and now have a better understanding of their roles in the organization and goals for their position.
Overall, what I anticipated as a weekend filled with boredom and bureaucracy turned out to be one of the most impactful professional development opportunities of my career, and provided me with resources to be a more effective public relations leader.
Anna Kendall is a junior at Central Michigan University majoring in integrative public relations with a minor in psychology. She is the director of publications for CMU’s PRSSA Chapter. Follow her on Twitter @AnnaKendall16 and on LinkedIn.