An Open Letter to my Conference Committee

Group photo of the eight-member conference team for the WVU 2019 Regional Conference
Members of West Virginia University’s 2019 Regional Conference Team for Wired and Wonderful: The Reach of Digital Storytelling.

“Never work with your friends,” we’ve all heard it and may have witnessed the horror stories of giving a referral for a friend who turns out to be a less-than-stellar employee or is the furthest thing from a team player. What they don’t tell you, though, is that the people you work with should become your friends. This applies to every setting, group project members, co-workers and your District Conference team. 

I am extremely lucky to come from a Chapter at West Virginia University where our executive board is typically a pretty tight group, inside and outside of meetings. During the 2018-2019 academic year we had a pretty new executive board, the year before was entirely seniors, leaving three of us to carry on the leadership. It’s extremely exciting to have so many underclassmen on your executive board and I was looking forward to another year as treasurer and getting to know all of the new faces. 

After attending the 2018 National Assembly in Miami, I came back beyond excited about all of the opportunities I was able to learn more about to get our Chapter involved on a national level, including hearing from and meeting many of the amazing “Regional Conference” coordinators. I made it my mission to put our Chapter on the map, get our members more involved nationally and highlight the amazing programs our university offered, and a District Conference seemed like an amazing way to showcase this. In fall of 2018, alongside my Chapter President and Co-Coordinator, I helped put together a bid form and submitted a proposal for Wired and Wonderful: The Reach of Digital Storytelling

Emily Zekonis hugs Brittany Osteen
Conference Coordinators Emily Zekonis and Brittany Osteen

Hosting a District Conference is an extremely large undertaking, planning and managing any event has countless moving parts that you really can’t do alone. I am the definition of being Type A, a bit of a workaholic who has a hard time delegating work. Being one of the co-leaders of a committee was a difficult adjustment, there was no possible way I could micro-manage every detail without something falling through the cracks that could ruin the event. I knew our team was talented, I had seen them pull off crazy amazing work on their own, it was my own tightly-wound personality that had to change to make this event successful. 

After six months of emails, late night calls, urgent texts and caffeine filled meetings, our team did it. Wired and Wonderful took place during the last weekend of March with a speaker line-up, sponsors and countless extras beyond anything I could have expected when the process began, and it was all because of every single member who joined to lend a hand. You’ll hear over and over again about the professional experience you gain from these events but never forget the relationships, the friendships and the family you can build from creating an unforgettable experience together. 

Thank you to the 2019 WVU Wired and Wonderful team, I can’t wait to help build the bond we have at other schools who will embark on this crazy, fun and unforgettable professional adventure. 

Interested in hosting a 2020 District Conference? Contact Emily Zekonis, PRSSA vice president of events and fundraising, at and check out the District Conference Interest Form on the PRSSA website – Due August 29, 2019.

Photo of Emily ZekonisEmily Zekonis, 2019-2020 vice president of events and fundraising, is a first-year graduate student at West Virginia University. Emily is studying integrated marketing communications with an area of emphasis in management. She previously graduated from West Virginia University in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in strategic communications with an area of emphasis in public relations. Follow her on twitter @emilyzekonis or send her an email about all things related to District Conferences, sponsorship and fundraising at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *