Without any hesitation, last June I applied to be a PRSSA District Ambassador. I was so excited to apply and yearned to be more involved with PRSSA on the National level. I knew this was a huge leap and when I found out I had been accepted to be a District Ambassador, I was ecstatic.
This past year, I was able to be a District Ambassador alongside 13 others that also serve as ambassadors. District Ambassadors serve as the liaisons between PRSSA National and Chapters. Each ambassador covers around 15 Chapters in their District and provides them with information, updates and resources from PRSSA National. In addition, District Ambassadors schedule calls (sometimes monthly) to better connect and support Chapters. Essentially, District Ambassadors help Chapter presidents with anything they need. I’ve been so thankful to have served as a District Ambassador this past year for 15 amazing Chapters in the East Central District. I can confidently say that without this role I would have not been elected as the incoming PRSSA vice president of Chapter development. Below are just a few things out of the many that I’ve learned from being a District Ambassador.
District Ambassadors are constantly learning about 15 different Chapters at different schools that each operate in their own unique way. Though some Chapters are more independent and self-serving than others, all Chapters come across problems; which is where District Ambassadors step in. District Ambassadors aren’t expected to have all the answers, but listening to Chapters, sharing your personal Chapter experiences, providing PRSSA resources and giving your best advice can motivate Chapters to shift their challenges into opportunities. Ultimately, I’ve gained critical problem-solving skills from being a District Ambassador that I will continue to utilize in PRSSA and in my future career.
With every new PRSSA experience or role, my love for this Society continues to grow. As a District Ambassador, I was able to connect one-on-one with some of the fantastic Chapters that make this Society outstanding. I looked forward to scheduling Zoom meetings with my Chapter presidents and/or their executive boards, chit-chat about anything PRSSA related and form genuine connections with other members. I reposted some of my Chapters social posts to my platforms, commented on Chapters successes and even attended some of my Chapters virtual events. All in all, I tried my best to be there for my Chapters and cheer them on with every step, especially during these past two virtual semesters.
As I listened to and learned from other Chapters, I quickly realized how other Chapters experiences could help my Chapter. District ambassadors are meant to lead Chapters to success, but true leadership means learning from those around you as well. Helping other Chapters succeed while also helping my own succeed was a win-win. I learned tons about virtual fundraising, programming and recruitment just by connecting with other Chapters during my time as a District Ambassador. All around, District Ambassadors are so beneficial to helping our Society and Chapters thrive.
By far the best part of the District Ambassador program is watching Chapters thrive because of your advice and guidance. In my opinion, there’s no better feeling than knowing that your efforts have impacted even just one member, let alone an entire Chapter. When Chapters take to heart the advice you gave or resources you provided and create tangible change is exactly why I love this program and being a District Ambassador. As the end of the year comes to a close, I’ve enjoyed speaking with Chapters on where they were at in August versus now. Whether the Chapter carried successes throughout the year or perhaps this was their first year being an official Chapter, I’ve reminded them that their accomplishments should be celebrated, no matter how big or small.
Interested in applying to be a District Ambassador for the 2021–2022 academic school year? Click here to learn more about the program and application process.
Alyssa Gormley is a third-year strategic communication student at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. She recently served as the executive vice president of Scripps PRSSA and is the incoming PRSSA vice president of Chapter development. Connect with her on LinkedIn.