PRSSA and Student-run Firms: Where the Discipline and Practice Intersect

This was the first year the PRSSA 2016 Leadership Rally invitation was extended to Nationally Affiliated Student-run Firm directors. As someone who is new to the PRSSA game, I gained so much insight at Leadership Rally.

Cardinal Communications is Ball State University’s Nationally Affiliated Student-run Firm and has been my extracurricular focus since day one at Ball State University. I started as a coordinator, worked on the professional development committee and jumped up to the executive board my junior year — first as director of client relations and now as the executive director. I’m so proud to lead this nationally recognized agency.

I quickly learned how vital the relationship between PRSSA and the student-run firm is. I started to attend

Photo courtesy of Jessica Bermudez.
Photo courtesy of Jessica Bermudez.

PRSSA meetings my junior year where I learned about the benefits of a PRSSA membership. One year later, I flew to Scottsdale, Arizona to see how PRSSA and student-run firms intersect.

Here are a few things I learned at Rally as a firm director:

Learn from other student-run firms.

I can’t wait to bring all of the ideas other firm directors shared back to my own student-run firm. Pay attention to firm size and see how they operate based on that size. Some new ideas I gathered center around time management, accountability, client relationships and more.

Firm directors and Chapter presidents should work side-by-side.

It should never feel like one organization is working against the other. At Ball State, we like members to apply what they learn in PRSSA to Cardinal Communications. Our Chapter representative and I were exchanging notes and ideas throughout the whole trip to make the department and organizations more cohesive and appealing.

We’re in this together.

I remember leading my first executive meeting before the end of the semester and feeling inadequate and a little alone. How am I supposed to manage this entire agency? At Rally I learned that other firm directors felt the same way. It’s nice to know you have backup when something goes wrong or you just need to vent.

Courtesy of

I am glad I had the opportunity to attend Leadership Rally because I learned so much. I encourage all student-run firm directors to take advantage of these learning opportunities at national events.. Remember the PRSSA 2016 National Conference is right around the corner and will feature a Student-run Firm Workshop. Check out the program for the National Conference and register today to secure your spot at the workshop.

Katie Ronzio is a senior public relations major at Ball State University. She is the student-run firm director for Cardinal Communications and is on the PRSSA 2016 National Conference Committee. Ronzio interns at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Follow her on Twitter @kronzio.

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