Getting the Most Out of Your Professional Adviser

Editor’s Note: To commemorate PRSA/PRSSA Relationship Month, PRSSA is running a series of posts on how to grow your relationships within the profession. An archive of PRSSA professional development posts can be found here. More information can also be found in the PRSA/PRSSA Relationship Manual.

National Professional Adviser, Sonja Popp-Stahly with IUPUI Chapter members.
PRSSA National Professional Adviser Sonja Popp-Stahly, APR, visits with the IUPUI PRSSA Chapter in September 2011.

While most, if not all, PRSSA members know their Chapter’s Faculty Adviser, a disappointing few realize their Chapter also has a Professional Adviser available to them. I frequently hear from students, “I don’t know who our Professional Adviser is,” or “We haven’t heard from our Professional Adviser.”

Faculty Advisers typically have more visibility and accessibility. You see your Faculty Adviser at Chapter meetings, in the classroom and in his or her office on campus.

Your Professional Adviser most likely has a “day job” away from your university and possibly even in another city. You probably don’t see him or her much, but your Professional Adviser is there to support you.

Don’t wait for your Professional Adviser to initiate contact with you. PRSSA is your organization, and if you haven’t tapped into the resources available through your Chapter’s Professional Adviser, it’s time to take the initiative and reach out!

What should you expect from your Professional Adviser? Responsibilities include:

• Finding PRSA members to serve as guest speakers at PRSSA meetings and in classes.

• Inviting students and Faculty Advisers to attend PRSA Chapter meetings.

• Being available to counsel students on career questions, including job seeking, resume writing and interview techniques.

• Arranging for one-on-one contact between PRSSA and PRSA members.

• Arranging field trips to public relations departments, agencies and media outlets.

How else can you get your Professional Adviser involved? Think about:

• Inviting him or her to your e-board meetings (Skype works great if distance is an issue).

• Inviting your Professional Adviser to speak at one of your Chapter meetings.

• Soliciting his or her feedback on your Bateman Case Study Competition project.

• Asking for letters of recommendation for scholarship or award entries.

• Getting his or her advice on any Chapter issues you have.

Your Faculty and Professional Advisers offer unique perspectives and both serve as valuable resources for you and your Chapter. Get in touch with your Professional Adviser today!

If you aren’t sure who your Chapter’s Professional Adviser is, contact PRSSA at If your Professional Adviser needs some guidance, have him or her contact me at

How does your Professional Adviser get involved in your Chapter? How do you encourage the Professional Adviser to engage with students?

This is a guest post by PRSSA National Professional Adviser, Sonja Popp-Stahly, APR. Sonja also serves on the PRSA Health Academy executive committee and the PRSA Hoosier Chapter board of directors. She is Communications Manager at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis.

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