FORUM Fall 2017 Vol. 50 Issue 1 - Page 2

Student Continued from page 1 Visit Boston for the PRSSA 2017 National Conference While I certainly felt prepared from a professional standpoint, I was taken off guard when the professional pivoted the conversation from talking about the “D.C. PR market” and the up’s and downs of in- house vs. agency practice to ask me about my life and who I was as a person. She later shared, “When I talk to my co-workers, I want to know ‘What’s going on in ... their life?’” and then she said this powerful phrase: “I believe i n treating people like people.” From that point on our discussion left the superficial realm and we were soon connecting about deeper issues that were important to the both of us. Before I knew it, we had been there for over an hour. Instead of sitting with a potential employer, I was sitting with a good friend. As we wrapped up our meal, we snapped a picture together and then made plans to “hang out” again soon. Walking away from that experience, I realized that those were the types of conversations and experiences that I wanted to fill my life with. communications is just as much work as it is fun, but boy is it a lot of fun. One of the best parts of the job was being able to work with the full-time staff and listening to the stories they would tell about some of the biggest sports moments in school history. One of those staff members was an old-timer by the name of Ralph Zobell. Ralph and I developed a great friendship as I taught him how to use Twitter and he taught me how to be a better writer and a true professional. Whenever I worked a game with Ralph, he would stop me before I left and ask, “So what did you learn today?” Pausing for self- reflection was sometimes a tough exercise, but it showed me the importance of always being curious and looking for a new way to grow. Now, at the end of the day, I try and ask this question of those around me. While the question stays the same, the answers I get are always different and it gives a unique insight into what the people around me value and helps me learn from everyone I know. “What did you learn today?” Over the past two years, I have worked as sports information director for BYU Athletics, and let me be the first to tell you that sports “Man sieht sich immer zweimal im Leben.” This is a German phrase that translates to “You always meet twice in life.” It’s used more or less as a reminder that treating people well is an important habit and that you should never burn bridges. I’ve also found this to be true and I’ve never regretted the choice to be kind to another person. I first heard this phrase from a mentor as we were walking through some key decisions in terms of my future and hearing this helped me see how friends have come in and out of my life but that the best ones always seem to return. Our industry can sometimes seem like a “small world” and the more you travel and meet people, the more you’ll discover that we’re all connected in some way or another. So always remember to treat every relationship with respect and to care and value the people you come in contact with. Now as we approach a new year of PRSSA, I encourage each of you to invest in the people around you and in the relationships you will develop through this Society. Take the time to be a friend and to learn as much as you possibly can. Treat people like people, ask “What did you learn today?” and always remember, “You always meet twice in life.” Where Are They Now: Brandi Boatner For Brandi Boatner, By Riley Nordquist Augustana University PRSSA 2008-2009 National President, August 2005 was a test. Born and raised in New Orleans, Boatner had no idea what her life would soon become. That summer, Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf of Mexico and left behind a pile of debris and chaos. Unaware that it would be the last time they would see their home, Boatner and her family evacuated and returned to New Orleans two weeks after Katrina hit. What they found left them speechless. “I remember standing there just looking at what used to be,” she said. “It was heartbreaking. I literally thought my life was over. How were we going to recover? Were we even able to recover? The clothes that we left with were what we had. But I knew this couldn’t be how our story ended.” Boatner wouldn’t let the setback of Katrina stop her. Boatner received her Bachelor of Arts in public relations at Loyola University New Orleans. Her class was referred to as “The Katrina Class.” After the hurricane, she knew she would be forced to finish her education elsewhere, but Boatner did not wait. She went to Hawaii Pacific University where she earned her Master’s in Communications with a certificate in international marketing and served as the PRSSA National President during the 2008–2009 academic year. “My main goal was to advance the Society and the future professionals within it,” said Boatner, about her time as National President. “I wanted to show people what we do. I wanted to make people’s college experiences impactful.” Boatner’s positions of leadership certainly didn’t stop after serving as National President, 2 www.prssa.prsa.org/forum as she has now taken her experiences to PRSA where she serves as a co-chair of social media for the national PRSA Tech Section and is a former member of board of directors for the PRSA Foundation. Boatner also is the chair of IBM’s Black Network of New York business resource group. Formerly, Boatner held the positions with PRSA New York Chapter, as member of the Young Professionals Section of PRSA. first time, every time. That’s not reality. Failure makes you who you are.” When I accepted an By Brian Hammel Otterbein University internship with a health “Insanity,” said Boatner about the interview process. “I didn’t hear back from them for six months but then I got the call on my birthday in 2009. I moved to New York and started Jan. 1, 2010, and I’ve been here seven years now.” “My national presidency prepared me for a large corporation,” she said. “It helped me manage my time and it certainly helped me in my ability to communicate with others.” Boatner hopes current PRSSA members take advantage of the opportunities of the organization the way she did and encourages students to remain committed in the face of life’s challenges. “Embrace failure,” she said. “People often create this imaginary playbook of things they can and can’t do, that nobody ever told them. They just believe it. That voice in your head is a liar. You need failure to get to the path of success. Nobody is good at ev erything. Nobody perfects something the • Career Development Exhibition •“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” Opening Night Celebration • Career Tours* • Coffee with Champions for PRSSA • “Boston Tea Party” Farewell Breakfast • Resume Critique* • Regional Conference Workshop • Student-run Firm Workshop • Fireside Chat* • PRSA General Sessions • Awards and Chapter Roll Call • “Happy 50th Anniversary PRSSA” Awards Ceremony and Dinner • Chapter Development Sessions • Presentations from more than 30 industry professionals •Numerous opportunities to engage with students and professionals * Preregistration required What Comes Next? Navigating the Post-Internship Supervisor Relationship She is still employed at her first post- graduation job at IBM. Boatner went from Oahu to Manhattan for her interview at IBM, which included six one-hour, back-to- back interviews. Boatner serves as the digital experience manager for IBM’s Global Technology Services department. When she looks back on her time as PRSSA National President, she thinks of how the position made her ready for her career today. What’s Happening in Boston? Nothing You’ll Want to Miss! Photo courtesy of Brandi Boatner “People often create this imaginary playbook of things they can and can’t do, that nobody ever told them. They just believe it.” Fall 2017 care company my junior year, I was nervous. Although the company has a wonderful reputation, spending 40 hours a week in a hospital wasn’t the most appealing setting to me. I soon learned that the year I spent in the marketing and communications department would be one that changed my life, both personally and professionally. Along with the plethora of portfolio pieces created and the exposure to a network of more than 90 professionals, my supervisor made my experience unforgettable. In just a year, she taught me how to conduct myself during meetings with executives, handle the (minor) inevitable breakdowns and bring genuine joy to the workplace, among many other things. Leaving my internship was tough for me. I had spent a year developing a relationship with a manager who was the first person to teach me how to behave within a workplace. When navigating the waters of our new post-internship relationship, I learned a few things that might be helpful for the transitioning intern. Send a thank-you note. Dust off those thank-you notes sitting in your desk. Handwritten thank- Fall 2017 you notes are not only important for landing the internship; they are a crucial first step in developing the post-internship relationship with your supervisor. Take the opportunity to show appreciation for the experience and highlight what you learned — both personally and professionally. After all, you spent a considerable amount of time with this person. Let them know they made an impact on your life. Configure your cadence and keep it organic. When planning a public relations campaign, you don’t want to overload your audience with messages — every communication should have a purpose and impact. Communicating with a former supervisor is no different. Establish a specific timeline for how and when you’re going to communicate with them. Do you reach out for coffee every six months? Check in via email yearly? Ask yourself: Is what you’re sharing newsworthy? Will it spark a quality conversation? Supervisors are professionals who lead lives with busy calendars. Plan accordingly! Mind your (social) manners. Social media is a phenomenal way to connect to the world around you. During every internship, I follow the rule of not friending my supervisor or anyone in the department unless they friend me first. After your final goodbyes, you may want to friend or follow them on social media. If you aren’t comfortable with seeing them in your Instagram or Facebook feed, connect with them on LinkedIn. Be sure to ask for a personal email address, too. You never know how long they will be with their current company. When it comes to social media, listen to your instincts. You are the only person capable of judging your relationship with your supervisor. References available upon request. Even if you ask for a reference when leaving the company, be sure to reach out again before every job or internship interview. It may seem redundant, but it gives you the chance to reconnect with your previous manager and remind them of the great work you did. Internship supervisors are some of your best professional assets. They can be mentors and advocates, and they can teach you so much more than tactical work. Nurturing your relationship with a previous supervisor can pay back tenfold — both personally and professionally — for many years after the internship ends. www.prssa.prsa.org/forum 3