FORUM Thoughts from the President’s Desk: Mindfulness and Spring Cleaning By Ashleigh Kathryn National President The “New Year, New Me” mindset is trending and school is about to start up again. Your classes are posting assignments, your Chapter is promoting its first meeting of the semester and you are making your way to the gym and trying to eat healthier. You are sprinting down the track of success, but old habits slowly creep back in and before you know it, you are burnt out by March. Does this sound familiar? This cycle may happen a few times throughout the year, but it continues to do so because we want to keep improving. We keep moving forward and forget about being “mindful” in the present. We say yes to everything trying to get ahead, but we become so overwhelmed that we actually make matters worse in the long run. Be present. Be mindful. Discover success. I was at a dinner with PRSSA students and public relations practitioners when I heard about being “mindful” and what it really means. “It suggests that the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through.” A student shared with me that he was writing a blog about mindfulness in communications and the practitioners brought up points about how now students are constantly re-setting the bar, but are often so spread thin. Ambition is our double-edged sword. It can make or break us depending on how we manage our attention and execution. Take the steps this semester to be more mindful of your presence, instead of focusing on constant change. “Solutions that ask us to change who we are or become something we’re not have failed us over and over again. Mindfulness recognizes and cultivates the best of who we are as human beings.” Mindfulness will allow you to discover success as a “process” of learning new insights. These insights are the key things that might be hindering your growth as a leader, innovator and student within your Chapter or Firm. Continue on page 6 OPEN FORUM 2 WINTER 2019 Vol. 51, Issue 2 www.prssa.prsa.org/forum Five Takeaways from PRSSA “Art of PR” National Conference By Members of Grand Valley State University Grand Valley State University PRSSA trav- eled to Austin, Texas, for the PRSSA Na- tional Conference. After a wild weekend in the South, “Art of PR” had us fixin’ to spill the beans on our biggest takeaways! Emily Gagnon: There’s more than one way to bake a cake PRSSA National Conference opened my eyes to the variety in Chapters and their organizational structures. The exposure to different Chapters made me realize just how beneficial it is to be part of an interna- tional association, allowing for networking and learning beyond our boundaries. This Conference also proved just how naive I was to naturally think that all PRSSA Chap- ters were structured the same. There was a workshop where members were able to discuss their Chapter’s best practices and address issues they have come across. This was inspiring because we were able to brainstorm, problem solve and come up with new ideas together. This not only strengthens our individual Chapters, but improves PRSSA as a whole. Amanda Hume: Advice from PRos HGTV. It’s also reassuring that there is no right or wrong direction to take when heading into the “real world,” as there has been success shown in various ways and forms. Each person entering this field has a unique story to share. Delaney Mackenzie: The Art of Con- flict and Crisis One of my favorite sessions was “The Art of Conflict and Crisis,” led by Dr. Ra- quel Perez, Aileen Izquierdo and Heather Radi-Bermudez from Florida Internation- al University, which experienced its own public relations crisis last spring when a pedestrian bridge on campus fell and killed six people. These three women led a powerful discussion on crisis, how it is inevitable and how to recover from one. The best piece of advice they gave was to think of worst-case scenarios, prepare and make sure every employee understands the message. These three women deliv- ered such a riveting session that I can still hear their words of advice echoing in my head. It was a presentation I will never forget. Allyssa Murphy: The fuel of emotions One of the most interesting sessions that I was able to attend was titled “Becoming the Change: Rising From Tragedy to March for Our Lives.” The guest speakers were Brendan Duff and Delaney Tarr. PRSSA National Conference provides attendees the opportunity to see and hear some high-ranking public relations pros share their stories and experiences in the industry. These professionals not only Continue on page 6 freely handed out advice to us aspiring public relations students, but talked about how they got to where they are today. Hearing each speaker talk about their journey to success opened my eyes to the many pathways we have once we graduate from college. One example is Gary McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA, who had a session focused on strategic event planning. He shared that he never would have imagined he’d be an event planner but his organi- zational skills and strategic Members of the Grand Valley University PRSSA Chapter (back row, left to planning led him in that direc- right): Trevor Bryan, Sofia Anderson, Emily Gagnon, Brendan Duff, Delaney Tarr, Delaney McKenzie, Allyssa Murphy tion and allowed him to work (front row left to right): Madison Farhat-Tomaszewski, Amanda Hume, with a big-name client such as Sabrina Antcliff, Courtney Fogle Not able to attend the PRSSA 2018 National Conference this year, don’t worry! Check out the quick recap with the top five takeaways. 4 There are nine Regional Conferences happening this spring. We hope to see you and your Chapter at one soon! 7 Get ready to kick off another semester with your Chapter. The time is now to seize the moment and build upon past successes!