The Power of Collaboration: Mizzou and UMSL PRSSA Chapters Join Forces

PRSSA emphasizes the importance of enhancing your education, broadening your network and launching your career. After becoming nationally affiliated in the fall of 2022, the University of Missouri executive board placed high priority on these three pillars. 

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UMSL & Mizzou Chapters at Fleishman Hillard.

In an effort to support this, the Chapter collaborated with PRSSA students at the University of Missouri – St. Louis to visit several public relations agencies throughout the St. Louis area in November. This collaboration helped to foster Chapter development and offer members a unique opportunity. The Chapter’s first-ever agency tour was organized by Caroline Schultz, former vice president of recruiting and logistics. 

“Planning the trip was beyond seamless, thanks to our incredible hosts. They were eager to share their knowledge with us and excited to invest in the future of public relations professionals,” said Schultz. “Looping in UMSL was the icing on the cake and allowed for a strengthening in our partnership and facilitating stimulating conversations between students throughout the trip.” 

Students began their day at Nestle Purina, where Senior Vice President Bill Etling and his team provided insight into the company’s marketing and public relations departments, as well as learning more about Purina’s philanthropic efforts. 

The second stop was at Fleishman-Hillard where students gained an understanding of agency life and were able to ask questions regarding their tasks, handling client asks and developing campaigns. With a surprise visit from Global CEO Jon Sanders, PRSSA Members were grateful to receive tips for entering the workforce. 

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UMSL & Mizzou Chapters at Weber Shandwick.

Next, the students visited Weber Shandwick, where members were able to see some of their most successful campaigns, getting a glimpse into what their employees do on a daily basis and gaining insight into the company’s culture. 

“There’s value in additional perspectives, as one university’s program will likely have differences from another’s,” said Bobby Ceresia, manager at Weber Shandwick. “Hopefully the Mizzou and UMSL PRSSA visit allowed for both universities to discuss their programs a bit with each other and how it relates to the agencies they visited during their time in St. Louis.” 

Lastly, the group headed to CommonGround Public Relations, hearing from owner Denise Bentele and her team, seeing the ways in which the company creates noteworthy campaigns.  

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UMSL & Mizzou Chapters at CommonGround PR. 

At all four stops students were grateful to have Q&A panels consisting of both University of Missouri and PRSSA alumni. Those conversations provided not only the chance to hear from industry professionals, but students from both Chapters were able to connect and learn from each other. 

“Collaboration provides a sense of community and networking opportunities for students with similar career goals and interests,” said Vince Costa, UMSL PRSSA Chapter president. “Beyond the tremendous community building collaboration creates, the sharing of ideas among diverse groups of students leads to learning that goes beyond what individual Chapters are able to accomplish on their own, helping to broaden the skill set of all students involved.”

Gianna Lapasso is a senior strategic communication student at the University of Missouri – Columbia, currently enrolled in the Missouri School of Journalism Accelerated Master’s Program. She is originally from Glenview, Illinois and has previously served on her Chapter’s student executive board as vice president of internal communications and Chapter vice president. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and cheering on the Missouri Tigers! 

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