PRSSA Speaker Panel: Beyond the traditional realm of PR

As students, your professional future can seem somewhat, foggy.  Its easy to become lost because we are prepared for a broad range of careers, as we know the communication industry can be ambiguous and take you in many different directions.

Our professional development panel on March 30, 2011 assured our members that there are a lot of great jobs you can take on within this industry. From living in Detroit to advertising sales, this panel covered it all while assuring the attendees that Detroit is the place to make it happen.

Erica Rogers, VP of Professional Development, set up a dynamic panel of professionals who didn’t mind members asking questions about anything and everything concerning their careers, PR and Detroit.

Kaileen Connelly, a WSU grad and Senior Account Executive at Mullen began her career with a college internship that led to a corporate job.  After over a year in the workforce, she decided to get a M.S. in applied communication research from Boston University.

“Get some work experience before you go to grad school,” advised Kaileen, who was one of two people from her program at BU with a job offer upon graduation. “You want to go back to school with what really interests you, and what will really be useful in your career.”

Kathy Vargo and Dana Forrester, Founders of On the Rocks Detroit both had taken alternative paths before reaching their career success in PR.  “I came into PR out of necessity.  My band needed a publicist, and we needed people to come to our shows.  Other bands were wondering why we were successful,” said Dana Forrester, graduate of U of M and owner of Lucky Monkey Tattoo in Ann Arbor. “We created press releases and got our name out there.” Dana certainly shows us how a PR pro juggles, she also plays in two bands: 60 Second Crush and Crud.

“I chose Communications because I was horrible in math,” U of M graduate Kathy Vargo said. “The economy was down when I graduated too.  I had to get creative.  You can do PR for anyone, go into a local restaurant and offer to do their PR.” Kathy is also Director of the Detroit Music Awards Foundation.   “Always have a pen and notepad,” she advised as she took out her notebook, “ I always have a notepad because I can always learn something wherever I go!”

Rosh Sillars, Director of Social Marketing and Media at Synectics Media, WSU and U of D professor and photojournalist came into communications by channeling his ‘inner geek’.

Sillars began his career as an assistant in a big studio, in order to learn the inner workings of business, and now travels the world speaking about social media.  “You can go to a networking event, hand out a bunch of business cards, and not get anything out of the experience, “ said the College for Creative Studies graduate.  “Get to know two or three people really well, and that networking

Vice President of Member Services

event might actually help you.  It’s the same thing with social media.  It’s about building a relationship.”

Written by PRSSA Member | Lauren Dissmore

Connect with Lauren on Twitter


2 responses to “PRSSA Speaker Panel: Beyond the traditional realm of PR

  1. I had a great time at the event. I appreciate you quoting me in the post and the link to Synectics Media.

    I also very much enjoyed hearing what the other panelists had to say. Good group.


  2. Great Job Lauren! Deciding on a career path is sometimes overwhelming; however, as communication professionals, we’re armed with skills that a transferrable to a plethora of occupations and industries. Sometimes we have to make our own way, too!

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