Rosanna Fiske inspires PRSSA students with her E.R.A.S. Tour

As a junior college transfer student, going to a four-year university can be intimidating when trying to find a sense of belonging and a dynamic routine that works with your schedule.

Luckily for me, I decided to join PRSSA last fall semester and since then I have only elevated my PR skills, networking toolbox and professional confidence. 

This past April, I had the amazing opportunity to represent my university, California State University, Fresno, as a delegate at the PRSSA 2023 Leadership Assembly in Scottsdale, Ariz. 

The connections I made with such passionate, like-minded individuals were unforgettable. In addition, the variety of insightful speakers and workshops left me with valuable information that I was able to take away back to my Chapter. 

My favorite keynote address was “Building and Strengthening Leadership through Corporate Communications” presented by Rosanna Fiske. 

Fiske’s message about Leadership built around “The E.R.A.S. Tour” struck a chord in me as her address went on, explaining the meaning of each letter and its regard to leadership. 

E is for empathy.

Fiske elaborated on the importance of leading with empathy. 

“Don’t assume, ask,” she said.

What she meant by not assuming was to not judge someone on the surface level of how they want to be treated. Fiske said to ask someone how they want to be treated, contrary to the golden rule, and what they need from you to be successful in the professional realm. 

By learning how to treat someone diversity can be celebrated.

Everyone comes from different backgrounds, and everyone has bad days. The workplace is a collaborative effort and it’s better when your humanity is what gets your peers on the same page.

This also means understanding yourself in your own abilities and what your needs are. 

R is for recognition.

“Give credit where credit is due,” Fiske said. 

Regardless of the amount of work one does in a group effort, even if it’s 1%, they still did it; commend them.

The objective is to lead with recognition because it’s not about you. 

“People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care,” she said. 

It’s about the team and about completing your goals. Recognition will find its way back to you if you do your part, but you should never expect it if you’re leading appropriately. 

A is for adaptability.

Adaptability to Fiske meant a few things: reinventing yourself, diversifying your viewpoints, change, learning, self-awareness and innovation. 

“Ask, welcome and take in feedback constantly,” she said. 

She mentioned how important it is to grow from constructive criticism instead of getting offended. 

Learning from mistakes and feedback is what helps someone grow and be better for themselves or company. 

Learning how to be adaptable will help you evolve as a leader.

S is for strategic thinking.

Strategic thinking is big picture thinking, she said.

This means that strategic thinking is a cumulative process that takes vision, shared goals, a clear path to follow and team effort.

Being a leader takes organization and initiative. It takes 100% effort which can be split into three parts: 70% doing, 20% feedback and coaching and 10% education. 

Feedback is constructive, an observation and is a compliment. 

“Digest feedback if it’s valid and show gratitude,” Fiske said.

This goes back to the first three letters. By being able to absorb feedback, you can capitalize on what you need to improve. 

I can actively implement, all Fiske’s tips in my life and in my Chapter when I return as president next semester. 

After hearing a Latina professional talk about her experience in PR, it made me feel more seen and capable of reaching my goals in a field I’m so passionate about. 

Jiselle Cardenas is a Fresno, California native who has earned two associate’s degrees from Fresno City College in communications and public policy, law and society. In Fall 2022, she transferred to California State University, Fresno to pursue a B.A. in Media, Communications and Journalism with a focus in advertising and public relations. She is very interested in pursuing a career in advertising or PR.

Jiselle is the current managing editor for The Collegian newspaper and will serve as president of PRSSA at Fresno State for the 2023-24 school year. Her extracurriculars have allowed her to explore the professional realm in Fresno through networking and creative projects, ranging from media writing, photography, social media management and working with real clients through a nonprofit student-run PR firm course called TALK. In May 2024, Jiselle is expected to graduate and aspires to become a copywriter, publicist or work in an advertising agency.

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