A Professional’s Take on Why You Should Attend ICON

This year, the PRSA and PRSSA Conference — ICON 2021 — will be presented as a joint, virtual event. Beginning October 4, Conference will offer professionals and students a wealth of compelling, general sessions; timely keynote speakers; on-point breakout sessions; enjoyable networking opportunities; and much more.

While we’re all disappointed by the Conference’s shift to fully virtual, the value of attending hasn’t diminished.  Attendees will still benefit from such speakers as award-winning journalist Yamiche Alcindor and entrepreneur, investor, and bestselling author Randi Zuckerberg, as well as panel discussions on “Building Trust in a Distrustful Age,” “The State of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in PR and Communications,” and “Navigating Your Communication by Utilizing a Military Mindset.”

And thanks to the virtual environment, attendees have no need to choose one session over another.  Instead, they may attend all 81 sessions, either on-demand or live. 

Other Conference highlights will include: 

  • 64 confirmed breakout sessions​
  • ICONversations & Your Society at Work​ (including a special, October 6 PRSSA session)
  • 10 PRSSA-specific programs ​
  • Diversity & Inclusion Happy Hour​
  • Welcome session​

​Certainly, developing and enhancing knowledge, skills, and abilities is tremendously valuable. But the benefits of virtual attendance extend even further. Consider the following: 

  • Network with peers and professionals. The event is expected to draw a thousand attendees, and everyone represents a potential job, opportunity, or collaboration. 
  • Affirm or identify professional areas of interest. The many sessions represent a chance to test the waters, confirm an interest, or even begin steering a new career course.  
  • Learn the lingo and luminaries. Speaking the language and knowing the players is essential to long-term success.
  • Energize your academic journey. A new perspective from fresh voices often helps invigorate your professional passion.
  • Invest in your career. Attending the profession’s premier event is an investment both in yourself and your career. Beyond knowledge and networking, attending ICON sends a clear signal that you’re committed to the profession. 
  • Make your own luck. When you’re connected and actively engaged, you put the odds of future success in your favor.  
  • It’s the perfect gift. Don’t be afraid to ask loved ones and friends to give the gift of ICON as your holiday, birthday, or graduation gift. 

While the cost of ICON may be a challenge, the information shared during the event — as well as the networking opportunities provided — delineate a clear path to success. 

Michael Cherenson, executive vice president at SCG Advertising + Public Relations, is a 30-year industry veteran and the author of three studies on the impact of reputation. He is Accredited in Public Relations (APR) by the Universal Accreditation Board and Public Relations Society of America and is a member of the organization’s prestigious College of Fellows.  

His expertise extends to all disciplines of public relations, including corporate, marketing, internal and crisis communication, government relations, event management and interactive public relations. At SCG, he serves as chief public relations counselor and strategist, and oversees all public relations activities for the firms’ diverse clientele. 

In January 2020, Cherenson was elected to serve a two-year (2020–2022) term as the National Professional Adviser to the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).  The foremost organization for students interested in public relations, PRSSA has nearly 7,000 members on some 375 college and university campuses around the world. 

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