By: Chloe English
What a wonderful year!
As VP of Professional Development for Grand Valley’s PRSSA Chapter, it was truly a privilege to lead our members into opportunities that further their advertising and public relations knowledge. Every tour made me eager for the next. When I decided to run for this position last year, I knew I found a passion for helping others. The core of my position is being the “link” between the members and professional world- exposing them to as many firms and agencies as possible while getting first-hand experience on what professional life will be like upon graduating. The fact that I was directly contributing to part of their professional knowledge and experience made me feel proud to be in my position, and more importantly a Laker! It is a very bittersweet feeling to pass the torch on to the next VP of Professional Development, but the show must go on!
This year we had the chance to explore agencies, firms, and corporations all over the state of Michigan, including PRIME Research, Truscott Rossman, Amway, Mort Crim Communications, Lambert, and many more! The “fan favorite” of this year was our visit to Detroit with the Detroit Red Wings communications team. Their director exposed us to sports media relations and crisis communication. He explained how the team handles week-to-week games with the press, potential setbacks with the players, and positive publicity for the team. Another bonus: we received a tour of the brand new Little Caesars Arena, for free! The entire team provided us with a unique experience to explore VIP areas of Detroit’s state-of-the-art arena and a behind-the-scenes look at the Red Wings training areas, locker rooms, and the hall of fame for all the Detroit sports legends. This wasn’t necessarily an agency tour, but we still learned about the different buckets of sports communications and a quick history lesson on the city’s MVPs. One of the coolest things about this tour was the prime opportunity to ask questions about sports communications. We don’t always have the chance to connect with sports teams, so being in the environment where sports and PR thrives was very exciting.
Another tour that stuck out this year was our (second) visit to Detroit to attend the 2019 North American International Auto Show. We had the privilege of receiving a press pass for special access during industry preview week and the opportunity to speak with the PR professionals who handle this global event every single year. Our “PR dad” Derek DeVries pulled some major strings for us to connect with Lambert’s team who helps manage media relations, social media, and analytics for this event. We heard about the importance of social media during this time and how it supports the value of brand awareness – especially when auto industry brands are spending millions of dollars to station right here in Detroit. We also had the chance to speak with Brad Warner, the director of communications for Yazaki North America. He stretched our thinking on marketing strategies, corporate communications, and how to stop putting so much pressure on “being” creative and just “doing” it. As he so eloquently stated, “every great idea starts with humble beginnings.”
As I leave this position on GV PRSSA’s Executive Board, I want to send a major thank you to all of the members that attended the tours. You are the reason I love what I do – what I learned during my time here I will embrace as I take my next step in my career. Lastly, to all PRSSA members, I hope all of you feel a little more confident, capable, and ready to dive in head first after immersing yourself in the ad and PR world with me this year.
Thank you for everything, and as always, go Lakers.
Chloe is a senior at Grand Valley State University majoring in advertising and public relations. She is currently the VP of Professional Development for the Grand Valley chapter of PRSSA. Her specialty is community relations and she loves to network with other businesses and professionals in the community. In her free time, you can find Chloe typing away at the nearest coffee shop or working out at the gym.