Coming Together – The Benefit and Importance of Professional Organizations

I graduated college in May of 2009. I worried, of course, about finding a job in the recession. I thought I had a pretty good shot at getting hired from a previous internship, but by the time I graduated and the market had sufficiently tanked, most of my previous supervisors were in no place to hire new communications staff. That’s where the Public Relations Society of America came in.

In college, I joined the Public Relations Student Society of America, which led to my involvement in its parent organization, PRSA. In the past five years, I have served in seven leadership positions, traveled to four national events, made too many close friends to count and, last but not least, been hired for two internships and two full-time jobs as a result of my involvement.

How did PRSA come to support my job hunt in the worst part of a recession? That’s easy – it’s all about who you know. In one of my last projects at LSU, I participated in a student campaign competition through PRSSA. During that project, I met a local PR spokesperson who hired me for my first post-graduate job just a few months later. When I was ready to move to Memphis, PRSA once again supported my search. After posting my resume to the PRSA Memphis website, I received an email from Courtney Liebenrood Ellett, who I now work with at Obsidian Public Relations.

So what if you’re not looking for a job? That’s great. PRSA or any other professional organization can still serve as a good resource. In the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to learn firsthand about Duncan-Williams’ popular Live at the GardenYouTube videos, how Anthony Siracusa transformed Memphis’ bicycling culture and the role communications plays in corporate culture from the CEO of First Horizon. The regular luncheons are a great way to get an inside look into the industry, as well as an opportunity to meet other PR pros in town.

Looking for more information on PRSA? Check out the Memphis Chapter’s website by clicking here and the Dallas Chapter by clicking here.