The following is a Q&A between FORUM Editor in Chief Ashley Mauder and Jennifer Braner, an account/media intern at marketing and brand communications agency Harris D. McKinney. Braner graduated from DePaul University in 2012, where she served as the vice president of Chapter programming. Since graduating, Braner continues to serve as a mentor to PRSSA members and assisting her alma mater’s Chapter’s executive board.
Q: What does your job consist of?
A: Media planning is currently my main focus. With that, I am constantly managing the various aspects of the campaigns we produce. I update placement calendars and calculate spend, impressions and regional circulation for the media in which we are purchasing placements. I also justify our ad budget based on these numbers and generate presentation materials for our clients. Additionally I clip, label and file client advertisements. It’s a balancing act.
Q: How has being in PRSSA benefited you as a professional?
A: PRSSA, for me, bridged the gap between student and professional. I was able to network with professionals and gain insight that is typically unavailable for a college student. This exposure allowed me to establish a professional resume before I graduated college and allowed me an advantage over other applicants. Additionally, now as a professional, I realize that PRSSA helped me adapt to meeting professionals in a social setting which is extremely beneficial — even when you have a job.
Q: What advice would you give to young professionals who have just joined PRSSA?
A: Do as much as you can manage and get to know as many of your peers as possible. I learned an immense amount from volunteering for different opportunities, leading projects and serving as a vice president in my PRSSA Chapter. It connected me with outside organizations and individuals that continue to support me even after graduation. Additionally, PRSSA members, and those involved with the organization, are amazing people. Take time out to connect and get to know your peers and those involved in serving the association.
Q: If you could sum up your PRSSA experience, what would it say?
A: Three things stand out to me: Teamwork, learning, and growth.
Q: If there was one thing you would do differently with your time in PRSSA, what would it be and why?
A: One thing I would have done differently during my membership in PRSSA would be to make the time to attend the National Conference (in Orlando in 2011). My academic schedule was packed at that point in the year, but I should have carved out the time. I missed out on such a great learning and networking opportunity. Disney World wouldn’t have been too shabby, either.
Q: As a PRSSA mentor, what do your responsibilities consist of?
A: I am able to give guidance to PRSSA general members. I give advice, insights and assistance (such as proofing resumes and cover letters) in a personal and informal way. I aim to be a resource for young, aspiring public relations professionals that have questions about anything and everything.
I love to communicate with public relations minded students and new professionals. If any readers have any questions, comments or is looking for any professional guidance, I am on LinkedIn and Twitter. Feel free to contact me!
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[highlight]Do you have PRSSA mentors? What do they help you with? Share your experiences with us. [/highlight]