Category Archives: Professional Development

PR Day Early Bird Registration Extended Until Oct. 12

PRSA Houston is extending its PR Day registration through Oct. 12. The lineup of speakers for PR Day 2011: A Matter of Trust include: 

  • Luncheon keynote speaker: Alan VanderMolen, President/CEO, Edelman Global Practices and Diversified Insights Businesses
  • Henry de La Garza, Building Trust After a Crisis: BP  and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
  • Lee Warren, Marathon Oil, The Importance of Building Solid Relationships
  • Kelsey Ruger, ChaiOne, I.N.S.P.I.R.E.: Using Storytelling to Engage, Inspire and Move People to Action
  • Kathryn McNeil, Building Grassroots Campaigns From The Ground Up
  • Monica Danna, Maggie McDonald and Kelsey Ruger, The X, Y, Z’s of Social Media: Optimizing New Media in a Multi-Generational Workplace
  • Kami Watson Huyse, APR, Prove It! Measuring the Impact of Social Media
  • Allie Herzog, Creating Trust Via Social Media
  • Breakfast Media Panel features Deborah Collura, Vice President of News, Post Newsweek Stations (KPRC); Wayne Dolcefino, investigative reporter for KTRK-TV Channel 13, and Gary Jaffe, News Director for Channel 39 NewsFix will discuss Trust in TV News.
  • Ian Ord, Co-Founder, Fifth Ring, Joe Pogge, Strike Marketing and Graham Makin, Weatherford Establishing Trust While Delivering Your Message Globally.

Interest is growing for PRSA Houston’s premiere one-day conference, Oct. 26, at Reliant Park.  It’s a not-to-be-missed opportunity to gather new tools, stay abreast of the industry and network with professionals of all ages.

REGISTER NOW!  (Take advantage of Early Bird savings thru Oct 12.)

Full-day, half-day or lunch-only registration options are available.

Details

What:          PR Day 2011: A Matter of Trust

When:         Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011

Where:        Reliant Center, One Reliant Park

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Sage Advice

Did you miss PRSA Houston’s April luncheon? Don’t worry. With this video, we captured a few of the sages giving career advice. Thanks, Ed Davis (PRSA Houston board member and director of communications at the United Way of Greater Houston).

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Filed under Crisis Communications, Mentoring, Professional Development, Public Relations, Uncategorized

Finding Mr. Miyagi

Believe it or not, the movie The Karate Kid has influenced what most of us expect from mentoring relationships.

Mr. Miyagi takes young Daniel LaRusso, the underweight outsider bullied in his new school, under his wing. With patience and commitment, Mr. Miyagi teaches Daniel about succeeding in martial arts and life.

Wax on. Wax off.

By the end of the movie, Daniel’s life has been transformed.

In the real world, mentoring takes many forms and it doesn’t always conform to popular preconceptions. The current landscape of our profession requires us to stay on our toes. Knowledge sharing enriches us all. Developing mentoring relationships can be a rewarding experience for the protégé (I hate the word “mentee”) as well as the mentor.

Mentoring is simply when someone helps someone else learn something. The image many of us have of seasoned pros forming lifelong bonds with fresh-faced college graduates, helping them navigate the peaks and valleys of their careers is a limited view of what mentoring has to offer. A mentor is also not responsible for helping a protégé find a new job.

In the real world, mutually beneficial relationships can develop between peers, or around a specific topic or issue that one professional faces in his or her career. Throughout your career, expect your mentoring needs to change.

At the April luncheon, the PRSA Houston chapter will offer a different type of program and provide a venue for informal mentoring.

Rather than our typical speaker presentation, we will facilitate conversations at the luncheon tables with several of Houston’s PR sages. This format provides a unique opportunity for attendees to tap into the minds of some of Houston best-known PR professionals — leaders of their fields in a variety of industries.

Around the table, PRSA Houston members and guests will also have opportunities to exchange ideas and information around shared interests that will undoubtedly promote peer-to-peer mentoring and help expand professional networks like few other events could.

While the idea of finding your Mr. Miyagi may seem as unrealistic as mastering the “crane kick,” open your mind to the many possibilities mentoring has to offer and you’re sure to reap the benefits.

Stephanie Dedeaux, APR is an independent public relations consultant and 2010 PRSA Houston chapter president.

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Filed under Gen X, Gen Y, Mentoring, Professional Development, Public Relations, Uncategorized

PR Day 2009 Co-Chairs Explain How You Get What You Give

“When Lisa and I were asked to co-chair PR Day 2009, I resisted. Over the years I had served in many roles—from committee chair to chapter president to assembly delegate—so I felt I had done my part for PRSA Houston. Add to that the fact that I am co-owner of a small business, which takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to run. But I finally agreed, and I’m so glad I did. For one thing, we were able to recruit a great committee – made up of both newcomers and long-time members of PRSA. In addition, we had wonderful support from the board and Paula Ruth, our chapter administrator. As we began our monthly meetings, it became clear that we have incredibly talented and committed people in PRSA. We got a lot done and had fun at the same time. I encourage every PRSA Houston member to chair or serve on a committee. It was a terrific experience for me – one that I will never forget!”

Margot Dimond, APR
Principal
DoubleDimond Public Relations, LLC
Co-Chair of PR Day 2009

“Fairly new to PRSA, I was a bit surprised yet honored to be asked to take on the important role of PR Day 2009 co-chair with my business partner (who happens to be my mother) Margot Dimond. I had served on the PR Day committee the previous year and picked up a lot watching Jennifer Evans’ strong leadership, but actually taking the reins as co-chair would be taking things to a whole new level. Like Margot, I was also a bit concerned about juggling PR Day along with the needs of our clients. I soon realized that with a very active committee made up of both experienced PR pros and those new to the industry, a timeline and persistence, we were able to put together an amazing PR Day 2009! And I have to say I gained so much both personally and professionally from this experience—not only the obvious—that I met so many incredible people and made so many friends—but I also learned so much from our committee members whose countless contributions led to a successful event.”

Lisa Dimond Vasquez
Principal
DoubleDimond Public Relations, LLC
Co-Chair of PR Day 2009

Interested in chairing PR Day 2010? Visit the PRSA Houston job bank for more information.

PR Day 2009 co-chairs Margot Dimond, APR (seated) and Lisa Dimond Vasquez of DoubleDimond Public Relations

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More on January’s Luncheon Topic “Context is Decisive”

Most people seldom think about the air that surrounds them and about how it provides an essential life-giving ingredient, oxygen. We take it for granted because it appears to be “just the way things are;” only when we are deprived of it does it become frighteningly apparent that we need it.

Context, much like the air that we breathe, is transparent precisely because of its everyday occurrence – its institutionalized normative features in the cultures of our companies and our projects. And because we basically think of ourselves as doing our best at most times and that we are unbiased in our perceptions, we feel the current “context” is obvious or simply “the that way life is.”

Enormous challenges in project implementation exist as people struggle to map new ways of thinking, new practices or operating tools, onto firmly entrenched habits of the “as is” context of their organization.

We will investigate the role of one’s current context, in shaping what one thinks, how one’s project team interacts, the decisions you and your teams make and the actions you and they take in your daily work. We will uncover leverage points distinguishing how one might go from executing a “good enough” project to creating a new context for implementing a “breakthrough project.”

Contributed by Pauline Serice with King, Chapman & Broussard, who is an expert in performance-based leadership development and change. management

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Essay Question: Option 1

Remember completing the dreaded essay question?  If it’s written well it could mean getting a good (or at least reasonable) grade on an exam, being promoted to a better job, or– as in this case–being selected as a finalist for the Public Relations Foundation of Houston’s  (PRFH) $3,000 scholarship. 

This past spring, applicants for the 2009/2010 PRFH scholarship had four topics from which to choose and one single-spaced typed page in which to share their thoughts. The following essay is by finalist Jennifer Miller, currently a junior at the University of Texas majoring in advertising. It provided much food for thought as she explained how her experiences as a sometimes awkward but always polite restaurant server have prepared her for a career in the always changing and not always polite world of communications.  I think you’ll enjoy reading it as much as the scholarship committee did.

           Spilling queso, precisely chile con queso, down your shirt teaches you many things. First, and most obvious, only professional jugglers can balance skillet queso, salsa, chips, and a tray full of drinks. Second, since everyone else is laughing at you, you might as well laugh with them. And third, the unexpected makes everything either interesting or frustrating, and the difference is how you choose to react. 

            Working in a restaurant taught me, first and foremost, balance, how to be polite to impolite strangers, responsibility, and flexibility. On any given night, anything, actually everything, would go wrong. We were out of fries, the broccoli was cooked wrong, the fork had a spot on it, the drink isn’t strong enough, or “I ordered chicken, not steak!” Although telling the red-faced woman that I specifically told the chef not to put tomatoes in the pasta, redirecting the blame did not help the situation. One of the most important, and pride-swallowing, lessons I learned was to take responsibility for the problem; even if the fault is not mine, it is my responsibility to find the solution. The customer’s pasta does not become magically tomato-free by blaming the chef, but apologizing, taking the responsibility, and fixing the problem will hopefully put a smile back on her face.

            This quality transferred directly into my next job: the account executive position at the Daily Texan. This time, clients are paying hundreds for their ad space, not $12.95 for Cajun Chicken pasta. The Daily Texan works as a team, but once again, I am the only liaison between the team and the client. When one member makes a mistake, the responsibility falls to me, and now I easily accept it. A new challenge that I faced at the Daily Texan, one the restaurant didn’t prepare me for, was overcoming rejection. I’ve always considered myself a positive person, but my first month confronted my positivity. I had never taken a sales position before and I was not prepared for the amount of rejection that came with it. Through self-encouragement, encouragement from my co-workers, and getting rejected 100+ times, I found the ability to move past it. Receiving “no’s” is by no means my favorite pass-time, but I am now strong enough to handle them and proceed on with full confidence.

            Although I feel both jobs have taught me valuable lessons for the future, the most important lesson was one that I experienced, rather than learned. After a little searching, I found my home-away-from-home at a school with 55,000 undergraduates in Texas Spirits. I’ve always known this about myself, but its been particularly exemplified through my membership and leadership in this organization: In life, whatever you do, you will receive as much as you put in. I dedicate a large amount of myself to Texas Spirits, and through friendships, work, and life experiences I receive it back tenfold. Whatever it is I’m passionate about, I put my entire self into it, because that is the only way to truly achieve my goals.

I view every experience I have as a learning experience—I’m always looking to see what I can take from the situation. Whether it’s finally learning to balance a tray or realizing how to react in a situation, I don’t let lessons pass me by. These lessons I’ve learned in past will help me in the future, especially in a Public Relations job. It’s important to be confident with clients, even if the previous one tore you down; it’s important to be flexible and repair a problem, instead of assigning blame; and it’s important to not only be passionate, but to use that passion as motivation. All experiences relate to each other, and all provide something you can take from it. I used to barely be able to hold a tray with two hands, but after dedication, and 3 months in a restaurant, I can proudly say that I can hold a tray with 5 plates above my head, with a single hand.

Jen Miller would love to hear from you, especially if you’re offering encouragement and/or a paying job that’s not restaurant related.  She can be reached at jenmiller@mail.utexas.edu.

Contributed by Eydie Pengelly, APR, principal of Marcomm.biz and president of the Public Relations Foundation of Houston (http://www.prsahouston.org/foundation)

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Filed under Creativity, Mentoring, Professional Development, Public Relations

Job Search Survival 2009

Undoubtedly, this is the toughest year on record to land a new job. Reaching your career goal will take courage and nerves of steel. Are you up to the challenge? Here are four tips for job-search endurance that will keep you on the right track toward your employment goal.

1. Keep your career goal realistic.

This is not the time to strike out in a risky career direction. Following your heart toward a career in which you have little qualifications could yield months of frustration as you find yourself competing against legions of candidates far more qualified. Unless you are in the position to hold out for a very long job search, concentrate on positions where you are best qualified.

2. Realize it will take longer to land your next position.

If you’ve never experienced a lengthy job search, set your expectations out several months and practice patience. You will apply for many positions as the perfect candidate, and get no response. Expect that. You will conduct perfect interviews and hear nothing back. Expect that as well. Just remember that eventually the right company with the right job at the right time will come your way if you stay calm and focused and don’t let discouragement keep you from moving forward. Just keep with it.

3. Write a better resume than your competition.

Less jobs and more applicants equals extremely high competition. The quality of your resume has never been more important. For the best possible resume keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Focus your resume. Avoid a one-size-fits-all resume.
  • Showcase your best information in the top half of page one.
  • Include accomplishments that illustrate your ability to solve today’s business challenges.

4. Sharpen your interview skills.

With employers interviewing only the best of the best, when you are chosen to interview be sure you are your competitive best. You CANNOT “just wing” an interview and expect to be called back for a second. Today it takes solid interview strategy to earn a second round of interviews. Interview books are helpful, but they usually fall short of teaching you how to read the interviewer’s mind to understand his/her hiring motivations. A study in the art of selling is more effective to achieve great interview performance. A few basic selling strategies include:

  • Asking the right questions to understand the interviewer’s “hot button” motivations.
  • Formulate answers around the interviewer’s motivations.
  • Know your accomplishments well enough to weave them effectively through your interview to achieve top candidate status.

Throughout 2009, the best jobs will go to those who persevere and stay focused. Keeping your expectations and goals realistic will help prevent the emotional ups and downs. Prepare for your job search as if you were competing in a marathon. With patience, endurance and skill you will win your next job.

Contributed by Deborah Walker, CCMC. Deborah is a career coach helping job seekers compete in the toughest job markets. Her clients gain top performing skills in resume writing, interview preparation and salary negotiation.

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Filed under Job Search Tips, Professional Development