In anticipation of our upcoming 2021 District Conferences, I recently asked our District Conference Committees to give us a sneak preview at what we can expect at each conference. Starting with “Stories of the Sunshine State,” Progressions will offer readers some insider information about our District Conferences. For more information (including registration links) click here.
Stories of the Sunshine State — University of Florida
(Answers from Erin Lewis, director of District Conference, University of Florida)
How did you arrive at your conference theme and what can members expect to see at this conference?
Named “Stories of the Sunshine State,” the first-ever Sunshine District Conference stays true to what the state is known for. What better place to learn about entertainment, travel and tourism than Orlando, Florida?
At the three-day conference, guests will get to hear from professionals on a variety of topics related to the entertainment, travel and tourism sectors of public relations. There will also be opportunities for attendees to network with current and emerging public relations practitioners.
Is your conference virtual or in person?
The 2021 Sunshine District Conference is an in-person event. Occurring from Feb. 19 to Feb. 21, the three-day event is being hosted at the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida.
Tell me about the speaker/session that excites you the most. Why should members attend
One of the speakers I am most excited to hear from is Nicholas Komisarjevsky. He is the Global Science Communicator for Wave of Change, and he will be talking to us about how climate change is impacting the tourism industry and how we can work to implement sustainable business practices through leadership and long-term commitment. Not only is this a fascinating topic, it’s also crucial that we recognize the impact our work has on the planet and how we can work toward sustainability.
Do you have any planned networking events? How will your conference allow members to connect?
The Sunshine District Conference has plenty of networking opportunities worked into the programming. Throughout the conference, there will be meals and coffee breaks that will allow attendees to get to know each other and network with professionals. During the coffee breaks, attendees will be encouraged to exchange digital resumes and business cards and to add each other on LinkedIn and other social media platforms.
How can members make the most of their conference experience?
There isn’t a wrong way to go about attending the Sunshine District Conference, but if you want to get the most out of your experience, I suggest three things: Be present; Be intentional; and Be excited.
This might be one of the first in-person events you’ve been to in a while, and I encourage you to take it all in. Be present at the conference, and ask questions, take notes and stay engaged.
It’s also important that you’re intentional — both with your questions and your interactions. Make an effort to get to know other attendees and exchange contact information. Be thoughtful in your interactions with other guests as well as speakers. You never know which connection you make will lead to success in your future career!
And finally, be excited! Make sure that you have fun and enjoy your time at the conference.
Anything else you would like to share?
If you want to learn more about or register for the first-ever Sunshine District Conference, visit our website. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter (@sunshinestatedc) to stay up to date on all conference announcements, and reach out to me via email if you have any questions!
Zach Ferenchak, 2020–2021 vice president of brand engagement, is a senior at Capital University, a private university in Columbus, Ohio. He is majoring in emerging media with an emphasis in public relations and minors in journalism and marketing. In his free time, Ferenchak can be found obsessing over the latest gadget or video game, exploring a coffee shop with friends, or going on a trail run. He hopes to elevate the voices of all PRSSA members through the organization’s various brand platforms. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.