The Public Relations Student Society of America at the University of West Georgia travelled to their third Real World PR Conference on Feb. 20 at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North Hotel. The conference is held in Atlanta each year to give public relations majors across the state of Georgia, and even a few students from South Carolina, the opportunity to participate in career-advancing opportunities. Throughout the conference, the students participated in a series of career workshops, several networking opportunities, resume critiques, and a career expo.
Among the 15 UWG students and PRSSA members that were in were in attendance, UWG senior and public relations major, Elizabeth Awalt attended Real World PR for the first time this year.
“Real World is extremely beneficial to my major because it really helped me pin-point what type of public relations I wanted to get into.” said Awalt. “It helped me get motivated to start researching. Also, I learned a lot of helpful tips when it came to building a resume and how important it is to represent yourself well as well as creating a brand for yourself.”
The conference began with an opening speech given by Stephen Brown, Managing Director at Cohn and Wolfe, which is a public relations firm in Atlanta. Brown encouraged everyone that was in attendance to “tweet” any photos or lesson that they had learned throughout the day. The “tweets” were then displayed on a large projection screen that featured a Twitter feed for everyone to see. Brown’s speech was cut short by an impromptu fire alarm, which caused everyone to evacuate the building—a true test of their crisis communications skills.
During the luncheon, the attendees listened to a keynote speech given by Kat Cole, President and Chief Operations Officer of Cinnabon, Inc. Cole enticed the audience with her story about beginning her first job at the age of 17 as a hostess at Hooters, and now operating as the president of a company.
“Have the courage to jump in, but have the humility to know that you do not know everything.” said Cole. “Draw lessons from unexpected places, and always tell the truth. People respect the truth when it is communicated with authenticity that does not appear to have an angle behind it.”
PRSSA at UWG was invited to the campus in 2010 and has continues to grow in memberships each year. They plan to be in attendance at Real World PR next year to continue to grow as young public relations practitioners.