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.
As public relations students, it is important for us to develop meaningful relationships with seasoned professionals so we can prepare ourselves for the ‘real world.’ Lucky for us, many PRSA Chapters offer mentorship programs for public relations majors to directly connect with communication professionals. Read about former Alabama State University PRSSA member Audrey Parks’ mentorship program experience with PRSA Alabama.
Q: Who was your mentor?
Audrey Parks: Mark Ingram, communication manager at PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.
Q: Could you give an overview about your PRSA mentorship program experience?
AP: My experience with the PRSA mentorship program was one that allowed me to have access to a mentor and helped me to hear from a professional that not only worked in the industry, but from one that hired new employees for his company. Having Mark spend two hours with me over the phone helping me tailor my resume for public relations jobs was priceless.
Q: What was your favorite part of the mentorship program?
AP: Having access to my mentor and being able to trust him to give me honest and open answers.
Q: Would you recommend the mentorship program to other students?
AP: I would most certainly recommend the program to other students. The program provides students the opportunity to have access to public relations professionals in a safe and productive manner. Students can have an open line of communication to individuals who have survived some of the challenges of the industry. I would recommend any student that is considering public relations as a major to link up with PRSA and its mentorship program as early as their freshman year.
Q: What did you learn from your mentor?
AP: The greatest lesson I learned from Mark was that in order to be successful in this business, you have to be willing to work hard and do what it takes to separate yourself from the masses. You have to be willing to find your “it factor” and use it to forge your way into to the business.
Q: How often did you and your mentor get in touch with one another?
AP: I have to honestly say that I did not spend as much time with Mark as I would have liked, due to my hectic school and internship schedule. That is why I strongly recommend students take advantage of this program earlier in their studies.
This is a guest blog post written by Vice President of Professional Development Helma von Zadow. Follow her on Twitter @HelmaVonZadow.