Since the explosion of social media networks like Twitter, Facebook and various blogs, the opportunities for obtaining a public relations career continue to grow. Communiqué, the student chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) at Rollins, serves to make students aware of those opportunities.
On Nov. 15, Communiqué organized the Professional Networking Round Table. During this round table, students interested in public relations and communications had the opportunity to talk with Communiqué chairs, advisors and industry professionals from around Central Florida.
It is one of the events the group organized to attain the goal of its mission statement, which explains, “Communiqué is dedicated to providing opportunities for Rollins students to gain valuable ‘hands on’ experience in the communication field, learn from experienced professionals, expand resumes while still in school, and to become distinguishable in the chosen field.”
The event was part of a major project for the students in COM 315: Event Planning and Communication. Holt Student Rob Soviero found the experience surprisingly simple. “Because we effectively utilized every possible resource on the Rollins campus, it made the event an easy one to organize,” he said. “[Communiqué advisor] Dr. Planck’s guidance helped us realize that Rollins has every resource needed, from catering to printing service, to produce such an event without needing a large budget.”
The first speaker of the night was Amanda Forbes, president of the Orlando Area Chapter of FPRA and senior account executive of Fry Hammond Barr. She encourages anyone who is interested in a career in public relations to join FPRA. You can find more information at www.fpra-orlando.org.
Rollins alumnus Justin Braun ’09MBA’11, spoke next. He is now the manager of social and Web communication at ActivEngage, Inc. It was definitely reassuring to see a recent Rollins graduate with a successful career despite the bleak economy. Braun suggested reading blogs like HubSpot and said, “You will screw up — everyone does. But you need to remain calm.”
Roy Reid is partner/vice president of Consensus Communications, a PR firm. His career spans 25 years. As Reid spoke, he stressed the importance of perseverance and leadership in difficult times. He told audience members to turn in their best work first and to have a vision.
Wendy Jo Moyer explained how she originally took a job she was not very interested in, but used the position to network with others and to gain more opportunities. She is now the communications manager at Workforce Central Florida, a group which helps Florida residents find jobs. She realized that even though “you won’t get your dream job right after school,” every experience counts. “Never stop learning,” Moyer said.
The last speaker was Christina Morton, account executive of Digital Media at CBR Public Relations. She started her PR experience while still in college and encouraged the audience to do the same in order to achieve a head start.
All five speakers work with social media in their jobs, and all enjoy careers that vary every day. Each speaker also mentioned, multiple times, that a career in PR is about two things: knowing people and networking.
Soviero was proud of the event he and his classmates created. “It was important because we had five professionals who work in the communication field, giving students an honest look into their careers and what it takes to fulfill a career in public relations, marketing and social communications,” he said afterward.
I strongly encourage anyone who is even slightly curious about the fields of public relations and communications to see what Communiqué has to offer. You can join the organization on Rollins’ Get Involved website, and you can contact its president, Rachel Mayfield ’12, at email@example.com for more information.