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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day Four: Maverick PR wins most outstanding chapter in the nation

Maverick PR was named the most outstanding chapter out of 284 Public Relations Student Society of America chapters across the nation at the Academy of PRSSA Awards Ceremony and Dinner on Nov. 9.

The "Outstanding Chapter" award, the highest award given to any chapter, is determined based on the chapter's efforts of leadership, community and university service, professional development and internships.

The chapter has earned 11 national awards in the past six years: three third place awards and eight first place awards, Faculty adviser Karen Weber said. This, however, is the first time the chapter has been recognized as "Outstanding Chapter."

Maverick PR students Jill Sauser, Shannon Stawniak, Yan He, Faculty adviser Karen Weber, President Cassie Prestia, Kristen Martin, Andrea Ciurej (front, left to right), Jessica Legg, Janna Brock, Alicia Kettleson, Heather Nasif, Mikaela Knipe, Bre Gehrken and Sarah Waller (back, left to right) stand in front of San Diego Bay on Nov. 9
(Photo courtesy: Andrea Ciurej/UNO).

Maverick PR placed first in the 2009 National Plank Center Ethics Advocacy Awards for its roundtable discussion titled "Ethics & Bad Behavior: It's All About Choices." The first-place win earned $1,000 for the chapter and $250 for its faculty adviser Karen Weber.

The discussion, held in September, featured 14 corporate and non-profit Omaha professionals who discussed ethical scenarios related to corporate blogging, employee privacy and academic honesty with students. Seniors Stephanie Bonnett, lead event planner, Andrea Ciurej and Shannon Stawniak partnered with the Greater Omaha Alliance for Business Ethics to organize the event.

Maverick PR also earned third place in the National Organ Donor Awareness Competition for the event "Be a Team Player: Become an MV Donor." Seniors Alicia Kettleson and Jessica Legg organized the event held last spring. About 35 students registered to be organ donors and more than 300 students received organ donor information at the event.

Seniors Alicia Kettleson (left) and Jessica Legg (right) earned third place in the National Organ Donor Awareness Competition (Andrea Ciurej/UNO).

Senior Juan Carillo also earned an honorable mention for the PRSSA National Multicultural Affairs Scholarship.

Michael Steger, who stars as Navid Shirazi on the CW's hit television series "90210," made a guest appearance at the awards dinner. Steger assisted CW publicist Jeff Tobler in announcing the winners of the CW Campaign. Maverick PR did not participate in the campaign.

Andrea Ciurej and Michael Steger following the awards ceremony (Yan He/UNO PRSSA).

Before the big win, Maverick PR enjoyed a bayside lunch at Anthony's Fish Grotto.

Students Heather Nasif, Cassie Prestia, Jill Sauser, Sarah Waller, Yan He, Kristin Martin, Bre Gehrken (left, front to back), Alicia Kettleson, Jessica Legg, Shannon Stawniak, Janna Brock, Faculty adviser Karen Weber and Mikaela Knipe pose in front of a view of San Diego Bay. Not pictured: Andrea Ciurej (Andrea Ciurej/UNO).

After the lunch, Maverick PR students attended the professional development sessions focusing on building a professional image, graduate work and networking etiquette.

Walter Bateman, retired CEO of the Harleysville Group, and Natalie Neczypor, marketing executive of Ernst Young LLP, lead the professional image session titled "Resumes, Portfolios & Social Media - 'Building a Professional Image on Paper, Online and in Person.'" A question-and-answer session followed the presentation.

Bateman began the session by presenting the following tips for building a professional image:

 - Define success.
 - Conduct an introspection.
 - ID your value proposition.
 - Develop a personal brand.
 - Create a vision.
 - Exploit a search strategy.
 - Delineate and execute a tactical plan.
 - Establish a network.
 - Research targets.
 - Exercise discipline.
 - Start at the top.
 - Understand your marketable value.
 - Use the king's english.

Bateman presents ways of building a professional image to PRSSA students (Andrea Ciurej/UNO).
Bateman said job seekers need to rise early, work hard and "strike oil." Before "striking oil," Bateman said you need to do the following:

- Buy one manilla folder and write job search on it.
- Define success. Start by looking at yourself. (Place your definition in the manila folder.)
- Write a paragraph about what your job would be. (Place this paragraph in the manila folder.)
- Self-analyze yourself to a CEO. (Place your analysis in the manila folder.)
- Capitalize on what values you have to offer.

Bateman said job seekers also need to engage an influential network, obtain knowledge of the economy and buzz of the business and do dilligence as a potential employer.

Neczypor concluded the session with a five-step process on securing an internship or first job.

Neczypor addresses tips on how to secure an internship or first job to PRSSA students (Andrea Ciurej/UNO).

Neczypor said the first step is awareness.

Job seekers need to use resumes to present he or she's future goals. A portfolio should be used to tell your story and show your experiences and how they can impact the company. A mission statement should also be included into the mix.

"You need to figure out who you are," she said.

Positioning is the second step. This involves branding, selling and networking your "body of work" to the company.

Neczypor said job seekers need to build repoire by shaking hands and carrying on general conversations, as well as set a soft agenda regarding a course of action. Job seekers should give a concise overview or "elevator pitch" of their goals and accomplishments. They should also probe by asking open-ended questions and be able to present and defend their qualities.

Be assertive at the end of the interview by asking for the job, as well as a business card to confirm your sincerity for the position. Being assertive also involves your willingness to move abroad.

"Don't sell yourself short," she said. "Nobody is going to sell you but you."

Prior planning is the third step in securing an internship or first job. This involves researching the company, practicing your pitch through behavioral-based interviewing, preparation and performance.

Neczypor speaking to students about landing an internship or first job (Andrea Ciurej/UNO).

Neczypor said it is important to show your coachability, be humble, cool and collected and do whatever you can to mirror your interviewer throughout the hiring process.

Job seekers should also take notes during an interview to improve their preparation skills.

The final steps are follow-up and pursuit of the position and remember the big picture.

"It's a full-time job finding a job," Neczypor said. "It needs to be your second, third or fourth responsibility."

Maverick PR ended the evening by attending the "Stay Classy PRSSA" After Party, followed by a get-together in Downtown San Diego.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your outstanding chapter award!
    P.S. I've been to Anthony's Fish Grotto