The Power of Networking: PRSSA ICON Leadership Recognition Lunch & Champions for PRSSA Breakfast

During the PRSSA International Conference, I had the opportunity to participate in two meaningful networking events that helped me build more connections in the broader public relations community, the first of which was the Leadership Recognition Lunch. This lunch brought together PRSSA Chapter presidents and  Nationally Affiliates Student-Run Firm directors to share tips and tricks. It was refreshing to talk to other Chapter presidents about our Chapters’ strengths and weaknesses as well as ways in which we utilize our local PRSA Chapters to create mutually beneficial relationships with professionals. It was great to learn more about the events other Chapters hold for recruitment, topics for their speakers, how they run their meetings each week, and places where they would visit to broaden their Chapter’s understanding of the industry. 

During this event, David Grossman spoke about his book, “Heart First: Lasting Leader Lessons from a Year that Changed Everything.” The premise of the book is focused on the importance of being leaders that participate in more authentic relationships to better build community and work more collaboratively with one another. This type of leadership style is very applicable to public relations practitioners and future students in the profession, as the main goal in the industry is to build mutually beneficial relationships. Now more than ever — especially in a post-pandemic society — it is important for students to learn more about leadership styles to support our campus communities and our PRSSA Chapters. Mr. Grossman provided a lot of great insight and inspired me to be a more effective leader. Many of the leaders in attendance signed the pledge to commit to being “Heart First” in our interactions and to strive to better ourselves and those in our Chapters. 

The second networking event that I was able to attend was the Champions for PRSSA Breakfast. This was a very beneficial event as I was able to get to know a number of professionals and pick their brains on the industries in which they work. I appreciated how willing the professionals were to share stories about their lives and how interested they were in students and our future success. Hopping from table to table helped me not only meet new professionals, but also engage with students at those tables who had similar interests to mine. This was a great opportunity that helped me form more relationships with professionals at the Conference. 

These two events at ICON provided me with a unique opportunity to connect with a variety of students and professionals around the country. I am grateful for both of these events as they supplemented the professional dvelopment sessions throughout the Conference, and I encourage future PRSSA ICON attendees to participate in the networking events offered. As a leader in my local Chapter, I have been able to take back a lot of great information, best practices, and new ideas to help our Chapter continue to grow. 

Andrea Hoffman is a senior at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, where she is a double major in political science and public relations with minors in public policy, public health, pre-law, religion, and environmental studies. In addition to her studies at Ohio Northern, Andrea has been a member of PRSSA for four years, including serving as Chapter president for the 2022-2023 school year. Following graduation in May, Andrea will be attending law school at Ohio Northern University.

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