OU PRSSA Takes on National Conference

On Thursday, October 4, Jensen Armstrong and I traveled to Austin, TX to represent our Chapter at National Conference. National Conference is a yearly event, which is held in a new city every year; last year National Conference was held in Boston, MA.

 (Jason Mollica speaking at PRSSA National Conference)

(Jason Mollica speaking at PRSSA National Conference)

The weekend is packed with networking, agency tours, resume critiques, career and Chapter development sessions and award ceremonies. Students who attend National Conference are also highly encouraged to attend PRSA’s International Conference, which is happening at the same time in the same city.

On Saturday, October 6, I attended a personal development session called, “Personal Branding, Digital Analytics and Your Future Success.” Jason Mollica, a professor from American University, led the session. Mollica stressed the importance of how developing your own personal brand never stops, even when you are out in the professional world.  

Mollica stated that as PR professionals, we should always be defining and redefining our brand because even after graduation, you should always be a student who is eager and willing to learn new information. Because of this, your brand should constantly be evolving.

 (From Left to Right: University of Nevada Chapter President Daniel Long, SUNY Plattsburg New York Chapter President Haily Dang, University of Oklahoma Chapter President Chelsea Journee, University of Central Oklahoma President Marc Estuche)

(From Left to Right: University of Nevada Chapter President Daniel Long, SUNY Plattsburg New York Chapter President Haily Dang, University of Oklahoma Chapter President Chelsea Journee, University of Central Oklahoma President Marc Estuche)

Sometimes, we forget to think about our own brand because we are constantly thinking about our clients’ brands. It is important to care about your brand and be proud of who you are. Don’t be afraid of being passionate about something; use your passions to brand yourself.  

Mollica also talked about analyzing your brand. I personally think that is a step that most people forget about because as PR professionals, we are constantly monitoring our clients’ brands on social media and seeing the sentiment of mentions, comments, etc. It is important to take the time to audit yourself.

Remember to audit what you are posting and what you are putting out on the Internet. Tools that Mollica mentioned to successfully analyze your brand included Klear (https://klear.com/), Talk Walker (https://www.talkwalker.com/) and Meltwater (https://www.meltwater.com/).

My favorite thing about PRSSA national events is connecting with students from all over the nation. Jensen Armstrong and I had the privilege of meeting student leaders and Chapter members from California, Nevada, New York, Florida, Alabama, and the list goes on and on.

 (Treasurer Jensen Armstrong and President Chelsea Journee at National Conference)

(Treasurer Jensen Armstrong and President Chelsea Journee at National Conference)

I highly encourage students from our chapter to attend National Conference next year. PRSSA’s National Conference will be held in sunny San Diego in 2019. 

If you have any questions about National Conference, please don’t hesitate to contact me!  chelseajournee@ou.edu 

Our Meeting with OU Alum Jared Deimund

Our guest speaker at Tuesday’s meeting was Jared Deimund, an Account Executive specializing in Public and Political Affairs from Saxum in Oklahoma City. Deimund graduated from our very own Gaylord College in 2016 with a public relations degree, so we were so excited to hear about the work he has done.


Diemund’s three main clients at Saxum are the Oklahoma Beer Alliance, Oklahoma’s For Criminal Justice Reform and the Oklahoma Lottery. His main focuses at the meeting Tuesday were how to choose between a small and large agency and the transition from college to the business world. He gave us these 5 tips to think about when trying to decide where you want to work:

1. Location- Where do you want to be?

2. What kind of culture do you crave?

3. Who are you going to be working with or for?

4. What kind of work do you want to do? In five years? In ten years?

5. Do I see this agency as a place I want to be for a while or simply as a stepping stone?

Along with this advice, Diemund also spoke about his experience transitioning from college to the business world and gave these 5 tips:

1. Relax. You’re not expected to be the CEO already.

2. First three months are vital

3. Be excited to learn.

4. Work is work.

5. Have fun.

So, whether you are transitioning into the business world, college or somewhere in between, Diemund’s advice is very helpful and, as always, it is good to hear from another successful Gaylord graduate.


Erika's Summer Internship Experience: Influencer Marketing

Summer has come to an end, which means it’s time to reflect on what I learned during my summer internship. I had the incredible opportunity to be the public relations intern at i.d.e.a. - an integrated creative agency in sunny San Diego! Most of my time was spent conducting influencer marketing research where I learned a few things. Not only was this type of marketing fun for me to dive into, but it’s a growing aspect of public relations that young PR professionals need to keep in mind as they enter the workforce.

Influencer marketing - this form of marketing focuses on the use of influential people rather than directly marketing to whole publics. Whether you’re using an influencer database such as GroupHigh or doing organic research, there’s a few things PR practitioners need to keep in mind when making their recommendations to their client.


1. Before you begin your research. Always keep in mind your client’s overall brand, goals and purpose before diving into the research. Your goal should be to find an influencer who can relate to the brand authentically so they can in turn share content that will resonate with their followers.

2. Budget. Influencer marketing is a growing industry with costs ranging from the hundreds to the thousands. It’s important to know your budget before beginning your research so you know what you’re working with. During this time you can establish how you will measure your return on investment (ROI). Are you really getting the most bang for your buck?

3. Social. In the world of technology, social media following and engagement is crucial. The more followers and positive sentiment an influencer has, the more likely your client will reach a bigger audience. It’s always a good idea to scan through the followers an influencer has too. Avoid being misled with bought followers.

4. Bloggers. It’s also important to check if the influencer has a blog. Depending on the client, product or service, blogs may not be as important. Bloggers really come into play in travel and food industries. You’ll want to research the number of unique visitors per month (UVM) the blog has. Resources such as Cision can help identify this number. Much like social following, UVM is important in determining the potential reach an influencer has.

5. Media landscape. If an influencer is big enough, they may have been featured in regional and local news. Do a quick Google search to check if their reach goes beyond social and blogging.

Influencer marketing is a growing trend within the public relations industry and although these tips are not all encompassing, they can be used as you begin learning more about and researching influencers.

Happy to talk more about my experience with you. Let’s grab coffee and chat. Contact me at erika.fierro-1@ou.edu.

Lee Reynolds: Sticking to Her Roots

At our meeting on Tuesday, we had the opportunity to hear from Lee Reynolds, the Director of Development at our beloved Gaylord College. Many of us were surprised and excited to hear that she graduated from OU with a PR degree! 

Lee gave us a brief history of her time thus far within the PR field. After graduating from OU, she lived in three different states before returning to her roots: Norman, OK.

She recommended five lessons that we should implement in all of our PR endeavors: 

  1. Importance of storytelling
  2. Every interaction is a networking opportunity
  3. You can never over-prepare
  4. Personal touches can be a game changer
  5. Utilize every resource available

In addition to informing us of these helpful tips, she also gave us interview advice by suggesting we position interviews as conversations. We're trying to learn as much about them as they are about us! 

In honor of Lee's two favorite words, we say "thank you" to everyone who came to the meeting and heard the wise words of Pritch, Dean Ed Kelley and Lee!

And remember: "It's not the grades you make; it's the hands you shake." -Lee Reynolds

First Meeting of the Semester: MVP Status


Our first meeting of the semester took place on Tuesday, and it was certainly one for the books! From Dean Ed Kelley telling us we provided the largest cake in OU PRSSA history to Naina Wani speaking about her time working for the OKC Thunder, it was a memorable meeting to say the very least.

Students were lined out the door anticipating the start of the meeting, and some of our Exec members eased their anxiety by handing out slices of the delicious, gargantuan cake. Dean Kelley started the meeting off with a bang by informing new folks about what all our organization entails. 

After each Exec member introduced himself/herself, Naina Wani stepped up to the plate. She talked about her experiences as a basketball communications coordinator for the OKC Thunder, including tips and tricks on how to make it in the world of Sports PR. 


We were incredibly pleased with the turnout, and the students who attended seemed eager to learn and were engaged throughout the entire meeting. Naina Wani may have talked about MVP Russell Westbrook, but we like to think of all the people who attended the meeting as the real MVPs. 

Thanks again to Dean Ed Kelley, Naina Wani and all of the students who attended on Tuesday!

For more information about the OKC Thunder and available jobs/internships with them, you can visit https://www.nba.com/thunder/employment


OU PRSSA takes Dallas – Current Industry Trends and Hiring Tips


Last weekend, a group of PR students from the OU PRSSA chapter had the opportunity to visit agencies and in-house communication teams in one of the nation's fastest-growing industry hubs and the self-proclaimed 'New York City of the South': Dallas. After decades of oil and cotton, the city's hottest commodity today seems to be innovative communication agencies and a pool of talented PR graduates coming from the most esteemed colleges across the countries. Below I listed a couple of the things we learned from talking to CCOs, recruiters and interns.

Influencer Marketing
Everywhere we went, influencer marketing was the word of the hour. From the big players to small-size integrated agencies, nobody wanted to live without the endorsement of celebrities, bloggers or community influencers. Especially micro-influencers, 'normal' people with a social media following of about 4 to 10k, are the new darlings of the PR industry. Or as the communication manager of an international convenience store chain puts it, "Customers want real recommendations from real people." For current PR students and recent grads, acquiring tangible skills like pitching and social media monitoring will definitely come in handy as brand activation and influencer marketing are here to stay.

Company Culture
Listening to recruiters and employees, a deciding factor that seems to have moved into the center of every hiring conversation is company culture. Whereas in the past companies and employers have tried to bait talent with good pay and the prospects of a corner office, today it is all about flat hierarchies and quirky office perks. But don't be quick to assume that all millennials care about is free snacks and bean bags.  Employees tend to value the more practical perks, like the access to gyms, nursing rooms, and napping stations, more than fancy break rooms with ball pits and ping pong tables. In the end, it's all about enabling people to do their best work and make sure they don't mind putting in extra hours. Not sure how to inquire about an agency's culture? Ask people what makes them excited about coming to work every day. Usually, you'll get the most honest answers when not asking directly.

Agency vs. In-House
Ah, the eternal struggle. What's the right choice for me? Talking to people in both fields, it's not an either/or question, instead recruiters today expect graduates to have experience in both fields. Right out of college, it is okay to start out in a place or industry that's comfortable to you, but by the time that first big job rolls around, you want to make sure you have both agency and in-house under your belt. Some recruiters even go so far to require candidates to have basic journalistic experience. But don't stress. Whether you see yourself in an agency working on multiple projects at once or need that full in-house emersion into one brand or company, it is okay to decide against one or the other at some point in your career. Listen to your gut.

Internships and Resumes
Some of the most asked questions during the trip circled around the 'perfect' intern or resume. While our hosts had differing views on resumes, almost all shared the same vision for their interns. "We look for people that are proactive and don't shy away from asking questions," says one agency recruiter. "I want to be able to hand you a project and not have to think about it again until the deadline. But if you have questions, don't sit at your desk and quietly drown. The people on your team usually don't mind helping you out." 

Most places we visited are open to welcoming unconventional majors, like economics and English literature, so it is becoming more and more important for traditional PR and communication majors to set themselves apart. Just don't jump to the conclusion that a flashy, over-the-top resume is the way to go. The majority of recruiters we talked to preferred simpler versions with easy-to-read fonts and less color. However, that preference might vary if you're applying for more creative jobs, like graphic design. The key takeaway is to be confident in your design choice and make it work for you. "If you want to do it all hot pink because Elle Woods is your role model, then, by all means, go for it," says one recruiter. "Just don't be wishy-washy, you'll get lost in the middle."


Madison Tucker Speaks About Her Journey With PR


by Alyssa Danley

Small business owner Madison Tucker began her student career at OU as a ballet performance major before finding her way to Gaylord. After an injury at the end of her freshman year forced her to alter her lifestyle, she searched for another major that she could be passionate about. What she found was Public Relations.

Starting later than usual in the Gaylord game, Madison was forced to take on a heavier workload. This did not stop her from signing up for almost every opportunity in Gaylord, including participating in PRSSA and Lindsey + Asp.

After graduating in 2014, Madison landed a job as a customer success manager at an oil and gas technology company. She knew nothing about oil and gas, and the position had nothing to do with PR.

However, she views her experience at this company as a valuable opportunity in which she learned many life and work skills that she could continue to apply in future careers. That is what she did and continues to do so.

Her next job was at a Pinterest and Instagram marketing platform. It was during her time here that she realized she wanted to start her own business.

After briefly returning to the realm of oil and gas to do admin work at a firm, she launched her small business named Optimal Life Space. Her company focuses on helping businesses and people organize and declutter their life spaces at work, home and elsewhere.

She explains how she never envisioned having her own business and did not know what all it entailed when she started.

“It’s definitely been a crazy ride,” said Madison.

While her career may be centered around organization, her daily schedule is not. She describes her work days as “unorganized,” “off-the-cuff” and as a daily attempt at “figuring out how to run a small business.”

“My title never included ‘PR’. I’ve never worked at an agency, but every single thing I do every day requires PR," said Madison. As a result of running a small business, Madison has to tackle a wide range of tasks, including networking, marketing, creating and scheduling social content, accounting, bookkeeping and more.

Madison emphasizes the value of social media and learning how to communicate with people on different platforms. She explains how she is constantly working on using social media to connect with her audience, sell her services and create a broader brand moving forward.

Madison attributes her career success to the information she learned during her time at Gaylord. “OU introduced the topics, and I have been able to practice those," she said.

The tips that have proven beneficial to Madison’s success are: “Don’t apply for positions solely online,” and “say yes to every opportunity.” She suggests that all current Gaylord students and job seekers adhere to these guidelines to get the most out of their journey in the world of journalism and mass communication.

“You need to be passionate about what you’re doing. You’re signing up for a long period of time, so you need to like it just as much as they like you.”

For more information about Madison Tucker and Optimal Life Space, you can visit:

Website: optimallife.space.

Instagram: at “optimallife.space”.

If you are interested in running a small business or have questions about what life is like as a PR major, Madison is open to talking with you. You can contact her at madison@optimallife.space.

Guest Speaker: Brian Ferrell from factor110


On January 24, Brian Ferrell came to our meeting to speak about his journey in creating his company, factor110.

factor110 is all about "factoring in the difference." 

Brian started his company a little over 10 years ago. He worked for a few different companies before getting his CMP certification (Certified Meeting Professional). He had to study a lot before he got this certification because he had no knowledge of the industry beforehand. 

While he was studying to get his CMP certification, he added the term DMC to his vocabulary. DMC stands for Destination Management Company and is a firm that manages and plans out-of-town event services. 

He then decided to create his company, which has grown into three different parts: factor110, 110events and Destination Oklahoma. Brian's company is the only DMC in Oklahoma, so they have the upper-hand. 

factor110 plans and produces events for companies. These events include trade shows, award shows, company dinners and much, much more! Based on what Brian shared with us, it seems like the people that work for this company have produced some really cool, different events. 

When it comes to events, Brian had a few pieces of advice for us:

  • Events are an extension of your brand.
  • The success or failure of your event is dependent upon the attendees experience.
  • Be different. Be confident. Be authentic.
  • Create a unique signature event. Instead of doing a lot of things not well, create something that is signature.

110events is a rental company that the public can rent things from for their events. Brides, caterers, hotels and many more people will rent items for their event that they can't get anywhere else. 

Lastly, Destination Oklahoma is a company that gives daily tours around Oklahoma to connect people to the attractions and stories around Oklahoma. They also began sell Oklahoma inspired gifts after Brian realized that people who visited Oklahoma wanted to be able to buy gifts that are unique to the state. 

We had a great time learning about Brian's company. Learning his tips and tricks in the event planning industry made for a great meeting!

Guest Speaker: Kristin Sauro


by Shelby Westbrook

Last week at our general meeting, we had Kristin Sauro come speak to us about Burson-Marsteller, a global PR and communications firm. Kristin works in the New York office as a Human Resources Associate. She mentioned part of her job is recruiting at schools just like ours, attending career fairs nationally and coordinating the communication between the company and applicants for jobs or internships.

Sauro started off the meeting with a large and intricate PowerPoint that highlights everything about Burson-Marsteller. She talked about the company’s history, the company culture, and the main focus of the company brands. Burson-Marsteller works on several nationally known brands such as Ford, Chipolte and Bank of America.

Another great part of working for Burson-Marsteller is that they are known for their crisis management. They have specific classes for their interns to learn about crisis communications as well as many other components of the industry.

Burson-Marsteller is unique in that they have three companies that work alongside them in their offices worldwide that specialize in different expertise. These companies are known for client business guidance, government and politics as well as grassroots. Along with agencies that work underneath Burson-Marsteller, they have “sister” agencies that are constantly working together with the BM team to tackle a client’s problem or proposal.

In order to intern with Burson-Marsteller, you must be going into your senior year, graduating or going into grad school, with a GPA of 3.2 or higher. You will also have to send in a transcript when you apply for a position with them or internship. From what I gathered, the internship program is for the most elite applicants, as the application process is difficult and they choose only a few applicants every summer, fall and spring. You must also have very strong interpersonal, communication and research skills.

It was so wonderful hearing about such an esteemed public relations company, and Kristin gave the insight to several pointers and tips in order to be successful at the company. Kristin was very informative and helpful, as she also gave personal one-on-one sessions to students for three hours before the meeting so they could answer questions in private. We were so thankful to have her come speak to us as a group, and we are very much looking forward to having the next speaker come the Tuesday after Thanksgiving!

November 2017 Chicago Agency Trip

 PRSSA members visited Cloud Gate before they headed home!

PRSSA members visited Cloud Gate before they headed home!

At the beginning of this month, a group of our members took a trip to Chicago, Illinois to visit a seven agencies and meet with alumni.

Our agency trips give members the opportunity to travel to big cities around the country and see what agency life would be like in the respective cities. Past trips have included Chicago, New York City and Dallas. 

For this trip, members visited Propllr, Ketchum, Edelman, Allison + Partners, Motion PR, the Chicago Cubs Communications Director and Walker Sands. The members also attended a dinner with OU alumni living in Chicago. They got the opportunity to talk to Sooners about their experiences in The Windy City. 

One of our members, Demery Pennington, wrote an amazing blog post about her experience on the trip, what she learned from some of the agencies and the fun sights she got to visit while on her free days in Chicago.

Check out Demery's blog post by clicking here.