Make the Most of This Year’s National Assembly

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Jessica Noonan (second from right) poses with some roommates and friends during the PRSSA 2011 National Assembly in Seattle, Washington. Photo courtesy of Noonan.

One of the best benefits about being a PRSSA member is attending the events; from Leadership Rally to National Conference to Regional Conferences and, of course, National Assembly.

While all enhance your PRSSA membership, Assembly gives you the opportunity to have a say in the future of the Society. During my time in PRSSA I attended three National Assemblies in Austin, Seattle and Charlotte. All were valuable experiences and had a positive impact on my résumé and career.

Each PRSSA Chapter chooses a delegate to attend Assembly. Often it’s someone who is already elected as president for the following year, or intends to hold another leadership position on the Chapter’s e-board. All the delegates gather to vote on decisions about the future of the Society, elect a new National Committee and review the Bylaws. The delegates and other attendees also have an opportunity to engage in leadership training and networking.

In the spirit of the upcoming National Assembly in Portland, here are tips on how to get the most out of your Assembly experience (along with some incentives for registering now):

  • Get to know your roommates. As a delegate, PRSSA covers the hotel costs and assigns you a room with three other delegates. Use this as a chance to make new friends by getting to know them — I’m still in touch with my delegate roommates from 2011.
  • Sign up for the Day-of Competition. Like many PRSSA events, Assembly is another networking opportunity. Expand that opportunity further by testing your skills with fellow PRSSA members in the Day-of Competition.
  • Seriously consider running for National Committee. Running for Committee was one of the best decisions I made in college. I ended up not being elected for the position I originally ran for, but I dropped down and ran again for vice president of professional development. Being elected to National Committee was rewarding while the process of running and making up a speech on the spot was an invaluable experience that I’ve applied daily to my career.
  • Read the materials you receive. Before attending Assembly, delegates will receive a huge packet of reading material. Take the process seriously, read through the candidates’ applications and put some thought into what you expect out of the new Committee.
  • Have fun. This year’s Assembly is in a really unique location — Portland. So take advantage of the opportunity to explore a new city with some new people!

National Assembly is an event well worth attending that will be a memorable and valuable experience for you as a PRSSA member and future public relations professional.

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Jessica Noonan is an associate in Burson-Marsteller’s corporate practice based in New York. She is the 2015 chair-elect for the PRSA New Professionals section and was on the 2011-2012 PRSSA National Committee. Follow her on Twitter @jess_noons.

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