In April, I was honored to attend the PRSSA 2023 Leadership Assembly in Scottsdale, Ariz. The event hosted two official representatives from each Chapter and allowed us all to grow our individual leadership abilities.
One session I found particularly interesting was “Emerging Leaders.” It was an extremely engaging experience that provided various perspectives on leadership. Many of the skills that our speakers acquired through PRSSA are skills that they continue to utilize in their day-to-day lives. They also learned how to become developed leaders in the public relations field early in their careers and shared information on how to achieve similar goals.
The speakers for this session included:
The moderator for the session was Karla K. Gower, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Alabama, and the director of the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations.
In the first half of the session, the moderator asked individual questions to each speaker. Each answer showed a different perspective on leadership, but they all shared common themes and reassured the group of attendees who, along with myself, feel unsure about themselves and their future.
I collected quotes from the speakers that I felt held tremendous meaning.
“Why shouldn’t that be me?”
You deserve to achieve any and all career aspirations you have. There is no reason you can’t be whatever you set your mind to.
“Who were the leaders that helped me?”
Whether good or bad, think about people who inspired you and helped you get to where you are today.
“Set big, intentional goals.”
Dream big but know where you are going with those dreams.
“Seek to understand instead of being understood.”
Rather than believing your perspective is the only correct one, listen to others and understand their perspective.
“Go where you are valued, not where you’re tolerated.”
Never settle. There are always better opportunities that will value you and your work.
“Have a peer network that serves as a good dinner group.”
When work begins to not feel like work, that’s how you know you have a dependable peer network. You are able to converse about work, while also discussing each other’s social lives.
“You’re exactly where you need to be.”
While all those quotes hold great value, this would have to be my absolute favorite quote from the session. This quote is one I am keeping with me for various accomplishments, failures, or anything in between. It reminds me that all things in life happen with a purpose and is meant to shape you into the person you are to become.
There are two other quotes that I’d like to elaborate on.
“You always meet twice in life.”
It holds larger meaning than just regarding leadership. It reminded us that we need to be conscious of how we treat people. The world we live in is much smaller than we think, and you never know the impact you will have on others. The person that was your worst enemy in middle school could very well be the boss at your dream job in the future. The rude remark that you leave on another peer’s social media post will leave a lasting impact on your digital footprint, which future employers will see. Being mindful of our presence, even outside of the workplace, is what builds our integrity and connections as leaders.
“Your career usually starts at your second job.”
I really appreciated it when the speakers discussed this topic. While we all might not be able to start our careers at our dream job, our first job provides a stepping stone of opportunity. This job, while not ideal, helps to enhance skill sets that we can take with us into our careers. Patience is key in this step of the process and will ultimately lead to a successful, fulfilling career.
During the second part of the session, we were able to engage with the speakers and ask our own questions. This led to an even more delightful conversation and was the conclusion of a lovely session.
The Leadership Assembly and this experience could not have been possible without PRSSA and the incredible sponsors, The Plank Center and FIU Communication. The opportunity to be involved in this session is something I will be forever grateful for and look forward to adopting these practices into my leadership techniques for my future career.
Hailey Fuller is a Junior at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. She is majoring in arts management and minoring in professional communications and media studies. She currently serves as the vice president of her Chapter and the president of the newly founded Arts Management Association on campus. To connect, please use LinkedIn.