Editor’s Note: The PRSSA 2013 National Conference was in Philadelphia from October 25-29. All National Conference posts can be found here.
“Acknowledge the obstacles, but don’t give them power!”
This powerful quote was a cornerstone for Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour’s energetic message Monday morning at the PRSA 2013 International Conference.
FlyGirl’s unique insight derives from her experience with breaking the status quo to become the first African-American combat pilot in the U.S. Marines.
FlyGirl narrated a touching story about combating an enemy attack, thus saving the lives of fellow Marines. She had to get “permission to engage” with the target; once she received it, those missiles were ready for launch. This narrative set the perfect stage for another impactful quote: “You must give yourself permission to engage.” Oftentimes, we hold ourselves back from greatness because we don’t give ourselves permission to take or embrace new opportunities.
I attended this session expecting a typical speech. Instead, FlyGirl passionately applied her military combat experience to our professional lives. Her narrative made me laugh and cry simultaneously and inspired me to bring a renewed passion to my PRSSA Chapter.
My favorite part of her interactive speech was when she changed onstage from her Marine uniform to a business suit. This allowed the audience to transfer the images and the message of FlyGirl’s combat analogies to the professional world. Her uniform change was a very powerful visual that inspired all of us to give ourselves “permission to engage” when facing obstacles at work and PRSSA.
I found it very valuable to ponder yet another of FlyGirl’s quotes about taking action to overcome obstacles. She even dedicated an entire book to the philosophy that “a breakthrough mentality creates reality.” I encourage you, whether you are an officer or a member, to actively foster a breakthrough mentality that enables you to accomplish things for your Chapter that have never been accomplished before. With a fully loaded helicopter of strategies, tactics and newfound passion, give yourself “permission to engage.”
Ariana Michelle Trevino is a senior at The University of Texas at San Antonio pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in public relations and a minor in business administration. She is Chapter president of UTSA PRSSA. She is passionate about San Antonio and helping public relations students prepare for their futures. Follow her @ArianaUTSA or add her on LinkedIn.