PRSSA Alumni Feature: Micayla Payne

Public relations is a diverse profession where you have the opportunity to work in any industry you desire. The skills PR professionals are expected to have are endless - social media marketing, professional writing, media relations, rebranding - to name a few. The expectations are high but, if done right, public relations can help bridge the gap between different audiences and brands around the world, to establish and foster relationships. So, the OU PRSSA Chapter set out to interview former PRSSA members to learn about the different paths they took to arrive at their career today. We’ll explore diverse skills PR professionals possess, their responsibilities and the different industries our alumni are working in.

Everyone loves someone who is available.
— Micayla Payne, former PRSSA member

As a first-generation college graduate in her family, Micayla knew OU was her “end goal” before she set out on her college journey. Now, she is the marketing director of a 30,000 square foot music and event venue in downtown Oklahoma City called “The Criterion.” She interned at The Criterion for more than a year before she decided to pitch her services to the owner. In January, while still attending OU, she became the active social media manager and marketing coordinator for the venue.

Payne’s responsibilities include:

* Creating and cultivating various awareness campaigns on social media for upcoming shows and events

* Monitoring social media channels

* External communication (press releases, media kits and client pitches)

* Organizing show promotions and giveaways

* Audience research

* Radio and media buying

Some advice on dealing with the real world?

“Everyone loves someone who is available” because people are “more inclined to work with you if you respond quickly, are informative, and are a hard driven worker with options and answers,” Payne said. Along with availability, she says that learning to accept “no” as an answer, then taking that experience to form a new angle to pitch is so important.

“I don’t think I was prepared for how many times I would be told ‘no’… But that’s not always the case; “no” sometimes means finding a way that turns a ‘no’ into a ‘yes.’ Moral of the story: Don’t Give Up!!
— Micayla Payne

Author: Brianna Rhodes

PRSSA Hosts Saxum

PRSSA kicked off its first meeting this Tuesday, January 29th! We had the privilege of having OU Alum and Saxum account Executive, Madison Malget speak to our chapter.

Madison talks with Dean Kelley and professor robert pritchard.

Madison talks with Dean Kelley and professor robert pritchard.

Madison has just started her journey in the world of public relations and yet, she’s already accomplishing so much. She considers herself to be “one of the lucky ones,” but her work speaks for itself as she recently got promoted to account executive at the Saxum’s OKC office.

Through involvement in the Gaylord community, Madison was given the opportunity to find internships working at Ground Zero, LDWW Group and TSET through events like Top Jobs. She encourages students who are looking for internships to use LinkedIn as a tool to get to know people before and after a networking event. She said how important it was for employers to be able to “put a face to the name”. She was also involved with PRSSA and Lindsey + Asp.

Madison’s time at OU taught her many valuable lessons that she still follows today in her current position. She emphasizes the importance of networking and says that “you’re never too young to start.” She also tells students that it’s important to stand up straight and “exude confidence.”

Many people are unfamiliar with the specific tasks of what someone in account service for an agency like Saxum does. Madison explains that in simple terms, account service manages relationships with the media, stakeholders and vendors. Other tasks include supporting your team with day to day activities, being the face of the agency for the client and advocating between client and creative team.

Along with fulfilling duties for your positive, like account service, Madison has suggestions that can be applied to any job or position beyond the field of PR. She recommends that you do anything you can to “make your boss’s life easier” including being excited to learn, help and being good at time management.

Blog written by Sienna Severns, PRSSA Social Media Committee

Same City, New President: What New Leadership in Washington, D.C. means for its Communicators.

Guest post by Hannah Franklin,  Inclusion and Diversity committee member

Have you been on Twitter lately? Have you talked to your grandma on the phone, or maybe turned on the local news? If you have, then you know Donald Trump has a problem with the media, or “dishonest media.” Whether your answer to any conversation over politics begins with an “R,” a “D” or a “no comment,” as public relations young professionals, we must diligently watch how our role in the media and how media’s role in the U.S. is going through some changes. Will Trump’s administration set a new tone for politics and media or has the tone already been set? Most importantly for us, what is the best way for public relations young professionals to adapt to this new media environment?

I recently dove into a few articles that addressed the expected shift in media. One of those articles came from a website called “The Capitol Communicator.” The article zeroed in on how communications in the Washington, D.C. area will change over the course of the next few years. One of the more obvious changes predicted more Republican-minded communicators will be in demand as is typical when parties switch control. Other media shifts the article discussed included focused messaging and integrated digital campaigns, both of which were used heavily in this year’s election.

As a public relations young professional who's focused a lot on the social media realm of the industry, it's clear to see that political communication, and all communication, frankly, will be incorporating digital methods to reach greater audiences in a shorter amount of time. Digital presidential campaigns were first seen with Barack Obama's 2008 election and was heavily seen in the 2016 race.

My thoughts on this integration? The way social media is evolving and integrating itself into various forms of communication is changing rapidly, and it's never going to stop being interesting and conversation-starting. This works to the advantage of digital campaigns because it calls people to start or continue conversations about those campaigns, thus making numerous people aware of said campaign and politician. But how do D.C. communicators, digital and traditional alike, think about how to adapt to digital campaigns and one of its most frequent users being in the White House?

Al Jackson from EVP Public Affairs in Washington, D.C. offered great insight into how communicators will adapt during this time in the media industry:

There are some big lessons here for public affairs practitioners, not the least of which is the distrust of Washington embodied by the Trump movement. Indeed, voters demonstrated a distrust of government institutions that likely extends to private companies in the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. It’s something we’ve got to keep in mind as we develop programs for our clients. Additionally, the Trump team had a completely different approach to this campaign and this election than everyone else did. We can’t just stick with what has worked in the past — to be successful we’ve got to look at things differently.

I never gave that much thought to what happens to D.C. communication when a new president takes office, but it’s one of the most intriguing times in communications throughout the entire nation. Communicators around the United States and even globally are impacted with the national change in leadership, and this time of leadership has already proven to keep communicators on their toes.

Diversity and Inclusion

Guest Blog Post by Teresa Flores Guillen, OU PRSSA Inclusion Director. 

When I hear about diversity and inclusion, the terms are very often used interchangeably. The message is usually that beyond tolerance, we are trying to create a campus that values every individual the same and gives everyone the same opportunities to succeed. As part of what we called the Inclusion Committee within PRSSA, however, I think it’s important to understand what those words mean individually and why they are both so crucial to the development of the OU community.

A few years ago, I heard someone explain it in such a simple way, I was shocked I hadn't heard it from anyone else. It was a speaker at a networking event whose name I can’t seem to remember but whose words stayed with me until now.

You can look at it this way, diversity is about who gets invited to the table, while inclusion is about who feels welcomed at the table.

It’s a simple enough concept, and it’s that simplicity that made its truth resonate with me. So how do we know the difference and where do we draw the line?

When we talk about diversity in the industry, I think people understand we’re talking about richer ideas that come from collaborating with a group of people with all kinds of backgrounds and knowledge, because they all have a unique view of the world. Diversity occurs in spite of oppressive or exclusionary attitudes or behaviors within an institution because of individuals' desire and drive to move forward and succeed in any industry. 

On the other hand, inclusion is about letting people know that their voices are important, that they have something to say on every matter and they should because their perspective will always be uniquely theirs. Our industry, public relations, is better off when it opens doors to those who can make a positive change and bring innovative ideas to the table, regardless of who they are. This is where it gets tricky. It's never a question of diversity for the sake of diversity, but we must understand how our neutrality can be perceived when the norm has for so long been that minority groups have less of a voice, if they have one at all. The growing effort within the industry to create more inclusive spaces communicates to both its professionals and its publics that public relations is ready to take on the expanding global market, acknowledging those who have a voice, both from within the an organization and from its stakeholders' perspective.

Why are diversity and inclusion important in a public educational institution like the University of Oklahoma? Because this is where many of us really get to see the world and learn about others' experiences. This is the first place that will welcome us as professionals, and give us new ideas and the tools to use them. It’s not about diversity for the sake of diversity, but rather about looking for innovation and understanding, both of which require varied perspectives. Both diversity and inclusion foster an expansion and exploration of ideas that emerge when the individuals in a group have different backgrounds, knowledge and expertise.