Picking a FlavoR

      40 Comments on Picking a FlavoR
Me and the PRSSA conference board (l. to r.): Isabela Jacobsen, Jessica Braveman, Kyle Walker, Cody Dano, Joycelyn Dempsey, Alyssa Michnevitz, Nathalie Salazar, Lora Gerulsky, and Amy Schildwaster. Missing from the photo are Sarah Lopez and Sasha Mirpuri

Me and the PRSSA conference board (l. to r.): Isabela Jacobsen, Jessica Braveman, Kyle Walker, Cody Dano, Joycelyn Dempsey, Alyssa Michnevitz, Nathalie Salazar, Lora Gerulsky, and Amy Schildwaster. Missing from the photo are Sarah Lopez and Sasha Mirpuri

Raymond Dempsey, Jr., VP of external affairs for BP America, said, “What we’re doing as a corporation is not just because we want you to think nice things about us,” referring to corporations’ desire to be socially responsible.  Hannah Beck, director of PR for the Fresh Air Fund, spoke about the importance of smart targeting to appeal very specific audiences, even if you’re nonprofit organization.  Justin Meyers, head of communications for Suffolk County, noted that “most people in government are there for the right reasons.”  And David Chauvin, vice president of Zimmerman/Edelson, encouraged public relations students to “keep your options open.”

These professionals’ wise words were heard at “What’s Your Flavor?,” the third annual conference hosted by Hofstra’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).  The day-long event, held on Saturday, April 26, was designed to give the 75 PR students in attendance a taste of various types of public relations careers, specifically agency, corporate, government, and nonprofit PR.

The program was enhanced by 90 minutes of lunchtime networking with the event speakers and other public relations practitioners.  Three PR pros–Patricia Gambale, Nina McCann and Sharyn O’Mara–represented the Public Relations Professionals of Long Island, the event’s other sponsor (Zimmerman/Edelson was the main sponsor).  The other participants were Stephen Karaolis, a public relations associate at Canon USA; Jennifer Cline-Sargent, a freelance PR practitioner; and David Norman, managing director and co-owner of Kitchen Public Relations.  Cline-Sargent and Norman are also adjunct assistant professors in Hofstra’s PR program.  And not incidentally, Chauvin, McCann, Meyers, and Karaolis are Hofstra grads.

Events of this kind are extremely worthwhile for students and pros alike, and there were far too many words of wisdom spoken at the conference to include here.  But, as always, Dave Chauvin skillfully summed up much of what the students needed to hear about the industry.  “There’s a lot of grey in our industry because the media is in flux,” he noted. “But despite all the changes, public relations fundamentals stay the same.”  He added, “Consume industry media!  Get to know the players and how they’re playing.”  Smart advice.  Great event.  Your thoughts?

40 thoughts on “Picking a FlavoR

  1. europeanodysseytravels

    I believe that it is very important for any company to be socially responsible due to the unlimited knowledge of which we have access to, in realizing what is good for the environment as well as what is not. In order to appeal to very specific target audiences, it is important to participate in smart targeting. For one thing, this is creating value. The better a company understands what their customers need, the better the solution will be for the company, and the easier it will be to deal with. Also if you have a target audience with a specific item that maybe not many other company’s have, your company can quite possibly get away with charging a premium price. However it is crucial to stay ethical when creating the price value. Another important attribute would be effectiveness.The more knowledge you have of the target customer, what he/she likes, what he/she needs, the better you can influence your targeted communication which will have a better impact to influence you vs. an average message. And lastly, efficiency. Efficiency is important for a customer in order to know how to reach a company easily and conveniently, and then to receive feedback. If a company reacts and responds quickly, the credibility of which the company receives heightens greatly. Lastly, staying connected with your target audience specifically through social media is essential in order to receive the honest truth about what is trending about your company. If a company is able to hire professionals to participate and stay involved with the social media for their company, it will become much easier to focus the company’s resources on serving the customer.

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  2. jmmcphail

    This event was absolutely wonderful. I learned a lot, was able to network with lots of PR pros, and made some great connections. I would love to see the event expanded to include more marketing, advertising, and other communications fields to cater to students who may be getting a degree in PR but want to use it in other areas.

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  3. Christina Li

    Good conference! I was very happy to have the opportunity to join the conference. This was also my first time to join an American networking. I felt that western people perform really better than eastern people. Western people wish to express their thoughts, which is very important for PR practitioners, I think. Just like David Chauvin said,”keep your options open.” I remembered that one professional said at the meeting that maybe you didn’t want to do something related to PR, however, you would find that almost all the things related to PR at last.” In my opinion, PR is not a specific skill for only PR practitioners. It is a general skill for all the people. In our daily life, people need PR almost anywhere and anytime. I was very appreciate to participate the meeting, which made me sure to go into the PR world.

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  4. taylorpaige

    I really enjoyed the PRSSA conference last weekend. It was a real eye opener on the PR world and what it has to offer. I really enjoyed all the speakers but David Chauvin was one of my favorites. He really knew how to keep it interesting, yet real with us by telling us what the real PR world has to offer. He expressed how important it is to keep you options open and I really liked how he said that because it just goes to show that the more open you are the more opportunity will come your way. The conference was a huge success and I hope to see it grow into something better over the next few years!

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  5. afitting

    Even when you’re not in the market for a new job, networking at this kind of event can prove to be instrumental in your existing job responsibilities. It’s a great opportunity to gain insights of how other PR professionals are achieving results and meeting work challenges.

    I had a great discussion with Mr. Dempsey regarding an effective approach to reach the oil and gas market concerning a product line I need to promote as part of my tasks at work. I shared with him a few of the difficulties I’ve identified relating to some communications tactics and he offered his opinion about a possible approach that would help me achieve the project’s objective. In short, he confirmed that one of the possibilities my communications department is considering as a solution to reach the oil and gas industry would be effective. His observation and perspective on the subject is invaluable. I couldn’t have had a more qualified and knowledgeable resource for my query had I not attended this conference.

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  6. David Salomon

    The event was definitely one worth attending. I learned alot about the roles that pr professionals play with major companies and organizations. The event was well organized and the professionals that were brought in shared a great deal of knowledge with those in attendance. I would definitely attend the event again next year.

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  7. Samantha

    The event was quite informative and a very useful tool. It’s good to hear from professionals currently working in the PR sector speak about the more quotidian aspects of the job. It gave a good overview of what types of career opportunities exist out there and the speakers were aptly chosen. I hope Hofstra continues to host events similar to this one.

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  8. russellrothenberg

    I went to that event and it was definitely worth it. I think the best quote of that event was when David Chauvin said “Keep your options open.” I wanted to pursue entertainment PR but after going to the event I realize that their are so many other interesting options I can choose from. Who knows maybe I’ll work at an organization that I won’t expect.

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  9. Kendall Berman

    I think these events are fantastic for professional development, professional experience, networking and individual growth. I wish I could have attended.

    At my current internship, every Friday the company buys the interns lunch and there is a guest speaker for an hour from various departments and other professional entities. It is a very intimate experience and interns are encouraged to participate and ask questions. I have learned a tremendous amount of knowledge from these events and made contacts with some powerful music industry professionals. It is such a great opportunity and I feel it’s one of the best parts about my internship.

    Everyone starts somewhere-most of the people I’ve spoken to have started as interns. Because of this a lot of professionals are more than willing to help, and actually enjoy attending these kinds of events. I think that they are so beneficial to building a career, branding yourself, meeting people, getting experience, and so much more. These kinds of events are invaluable opportunities for students and aspiring professionals.

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  10. Zachary Kizer

    I really enjoyed the entire event, it was an excellent way to get my feet wet in the world of networking. The first speaker was really informative, and helped me understand the agency side of PR a lot better. It was nice to get more real life examples of PR careers in that setting. The networking was beneficial to me because I learned of things that I had not even thought of before, PR in law firms for example. Overall I am glad that I was able to participate in the conference.

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  11. Katherine Hammer

    I thoroughly enjoyed this event. The first speaker, David Chauvin, set the mood for the day, by saying to “keep your options open.” I think that in this kind of business, you have to experiment, and it was inspiring to hear that every professional I spoke to was eager to tell me to experience everything. Each professional was excited to speak about what they do, and their experiences within the field which was very inspiring. It made me excited to see that these people were excited to start their days at their jobs, since you do not always see that nowadays. I had a great time at this event, and it was a great opportunity to network and get to know more about public relations. I am excited to go to the next conference next spring.

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  12. sfoley62014

    I attended this conference and it was a great experience. It really lived up to its name of Whats your flavor. There were various types of PR and the very unique personalities. It was a great variety of what the real world offers. Also I found it very inspiring the amount of Hofstra grads with jobs.

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  13. Geena Pandolfi

    I was able to attend the conference last weekend and I thought it was great. There were so many people who really gave a good insight on different public relations fields and what is interesting in each. I thought it was definitely worthwhile because got to learn about the different fields, as well as network with a few more PR professionals during the break. It was a well put on event and I would go to another one.

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  14. Marisa

    David Chauvin was extremely charismatic and easy to follow. He also had some great advice, not limited to his statements telling us to consume industry media and get experience in a variety of places. Hannah Beck’s presentation for the Fresh Air Fund
    brought me to tears and showed me how much of a difference you can make working for a non-profit. The variety of speakers and Chauvin’s detailed layout of the types of PR firms really expanded my knowledge of the PR world.

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  15. Amanda Torres

    Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the conference, but I heard nothing but wonderful things. It is very important to network; you have to not only understand the industry, but also the people inside of the industry. I’m happy for Hofstra’s chapter of PRSAA–these events are a great learning experience!

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  16. kimberlymuoio

    I was extremely upset that I was unable to attend this event due to being called into work. I think events such as these are extremely important for students studying Public Relations. We learn a lot from our professors who are extremely knowledgeable on the topic of PR but its always nice to hear from people that are in the profession everyday. Events such as these keep us all interested and passionate about our future in PR.

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  17. Devon Hambrecht

    I attended this event and had an extremely wonderful time learning so much about public relations and getting great advice from PR pros themselves. There is so much to learn about public relations and everybody has a different perspective on the inner workings and what fits best with different companies. There are definitely many grey areas in public relations which i have experience through my various internships. They all have been different with some agencies doing completely different PR methods in order to best serve their clients.

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  18. Kristin Neuman

    Saturday’s conference was a great experience. It was really nice to hear so many people speak positively about their jobs. It’s always reassuring to see people doing what they love, and I hope to do the same after graduation. It was helpful hearing these people talk about their jobs because it gave you insight about the things they go through and the type of things they’ve encountered throughout their career. I really enjoyed hearing David Chauvin speak, I felt he had a lot of advice to give to everyone attending. One of the things he stressed was keeping your options open, which is extremely important. Almost everyone has an idea of what they want to do after graduation, but we need to keep in mind that we can do things other than that, and we should take advantage of any opportunities that come our way. Until you actually do something, you’ll never know if it’s right for you.

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  19. Yejide Collman

    I had the pleasure of attending the conference and I think it was a great opportunity to learn about PR outside of the classroom. It was interesting to meet PR professionals in different types of industries. I had the pleasure of speaking with Nina McCann during the luncheon and I was able to gather a little bit about the working environment at a law firm for a PR professional and her day to day activities. I look forward to attending more conferences like this in the future to broaden my horizons as a up and coming professional.

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  20. Kim Gray

    The PRSSA conference was truly an amazing experience. My takeaway from this conference was when David Chauvin mentioned to “keep your options open” and just not subject to a specific area just because that’s what you’re interested in. I felt that was really important because as PR professionals we have 2 be worldly and just continue to consume all kinds of information.

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  21. Olga Varnavskaya

    Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to attend PRSSA Conference this time, but just knowing what spokespersons participated there, makes me sure in was extremely useful and informative event for future PR professionals. I’ve seen David Chauvin’s presentations in a couple of other events, and I know he is always interesting and fun to listen to. I’ll do my best to attend such event in the future. Stories about professional experience from established PR practitioners inspire me a lot.

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  22. Brittany Witter

    Unfortunately I was working my internship and I missed that event. But it seems from the quotes that it was very informational and sounded like a great inspiring event. was sorry to have to miss this event. Great to see established professionals helping the up and coming students.

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  23. chrisswenson2014

    The PRSSA “What’s Your Flavor” Conference was a really great event. The entire thing was interesting, but my favorite parts were definitely feeling a renewed excitement about PR after hearing David Chauvin speak, and getting the opportunity to network during the lunch.

    Apart from those two things, it was really valuable to attend the session on PR for nonprofits, as I’m currently interning at a nonprofit. I loved going into the office today with a bunch of new ideas from over the weekend.

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  24. Brenna O'Shea

    I was fortunate enough to be at this event on Saturday. It was a long day full of useful information. The speakers were exceptionally helpful and gave us great advice that we can apply to our future in public relations. I would definitely recommend attending events like this. Connections are everything in PR and networking events are a great way to make connections! I will be at future events and I hope everyone else will be too. Especially the ones who missed out on this one.

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  25. Christine W.

    First, let me congratulate the PRSSA of Hofstra University for such a well-planned event. As a journalism major who current works in social media I find PR to be very exciting. I attended the event on Saturday and I learned that all great PR careers don’t have to start with a degree in public relations. One of the guest speakers, David Chauvin, did point out that the lines of public relations make for a grey area along with media. This is very true. As a journalism major I sometimes find myself on the line of both worlds. I do think events like this are very important to students. This program gave me a better perceptive on public relations, showed me different side of the industry and also open my mind to various career paths.

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  26. akof123

    I think everything said in the PR conference was extremely valid. I especially liked Chauvin’s point that you should try and gain as much experience as possible instead of become a specialist in your field. Also the lunch part was really good.

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  27. Kelly Farrington

    The best part of this event was getting to hear from PR professionals in such different fields. PR is so different when you’re in a small agency, compared to when you work for a huge company like BP, and again different from a non-profit. It’s interesting to hear the differences and similarities as well. I’m not really sure what field I want to go into when I graduate so it was good to hear about the way my skills could contribute to each field differently. Also the lunch had queso which was awesome.

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  28. yannaloren89

    I loved this event. I especially loved Dave Chauvin’s presentation. He had a great sense of humor and told his audience funny jokes about his background. But he made a great point to have experience under your belt and gain as many internship experience as possible. I think that is what molds a person into the best professional. I will be looking forward to my internship at my first PR firm. 🙂

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  29. Candace Brown

    I found David Chauvin’s presentation to be the most beneficial because it offered advice and information that I had never heard before. He emphasized just how varied the PR industry is; how many pockets of the market there are to be filled and how many mini-markets there are to navigate. It may sound uninformed or naive, but I was unaware of the different classifications of firms and how specialized they can get. I found Mr. Chauvin’s words of wisdom and helpful tips to be one of the best aspects of the conference.

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  30. Mike Iadevaia

    Although I was unable to attend, based on the quotes I can tell it was a great event. I hope to attend in the future and discover what my “flavor” in PR i.

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  31. Kerri

    I was sorry to have to miss this event. Sounded like a great day filled with valuable information. I’ll certainly be attending a future event. And a “hats off” to PRSSA Hofstra.

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  32. Francesco Vivacqua

    I was fortunate enough to attend this event. Meeting these professionals was a great way to learn about PR, but also learn about my field of study, journalism. I think its great for Hofstra to host these type of events, where students can meet professionals, because a student can ask questions and network with people in the business. This also allows for students to have professional conversations with the professionals, which could lead to internship opportunities and maybe even a job. I enjoyed the event and was impressed by the professionals and their knowledge of PR.

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  33. LaChele Prophet

    I really enjoyed the event. It was great to hear from Hofstra graduates who successfully have landed jobs in the industry and hear about what it took for them to get there. I loved hearing about the story from the girl who works for Zimmerman/Edelson and how during her interview one of the reasons she was hired was for loving the color yellow, if asked during an interview I would probably come up with something like that as well. I wished I could have heard from some people who work in fashion/entertainment, but maybe next time. It was a very informative event and I learned a lot more about the public relations field because like David Chauvin said, I need to keep my options open because the industry has so many different aspects. I spoke to Stephen Karaolis from Canon, USA a bit and it was great to hear about some of the different places he has been and experiences he has had since getting a job.

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  34. Sydney Myers

    I enjoyed attending the event on Saturday. In general, I love hearing people talk about their professions when they are passionate about them and this was no exception. Everyone’s path was different, and everyone had a different story, and I enjoyed hearing about them. I admire the advice they gave to the students, and was fond about the fact that there were Hofstra grads attending. It was a lovely event, enjoyable and informative.

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  35. Kayla Marzo

    I really enjoyed this event. It brought a lot of insight to a very complex public relations world. The speakers were phenomenal, they really knew what they were talking about and prepared us with the best advice for our futures. David Chauvin made it known that it’s okay to dip your hands in each kind of industry. Providing the conference with agency, corporate and nonprofit professionals was a great idea to broaden our horizons.

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  36. Catherine Benny

    The event provided insight as to how PR works in different areas of the world from a PR agency to energy corporations and many other employment sectors. It was interesting to note that many of the speakers at the event did not originally start out in the PR discipline. I really enjoyed David Chauvin’s lecture in which he said that he liked to “get his hands dirty” and be involved in every aspect of his company and his team’s projects, working with a myriad of clients. Justin Meyers made a similar argument in his lecture where he described government PR as a kind of balancing act where you have to get information the correct information to people and also learn about issues on the job. I think learning on the job and having different work experiences are important because no matter how much you study or how well you did in school, you’re never fully prepared for what the real world can throw at you

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  37. Avalon Bohunicky

    The PRSSA Conference provided great inside about the fundamentals of public relations from professionals in the field. All of the speakers gave great advice for the students on how to work in the industry. I believe that the event was very well-planned and organized. The professionals came from an array of organizations, which offered students a variety of insight as to how the industry works. The professionals spoke many words of wisdom that were great pieces of advice for anyone wanting to go into public relations. I enjoyed the event very much because it gave me a better understanding of what the industry entails.

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  38. Laura Schioppi

    The event was very informative. It was great to hear how everyone started from the bottom and worked their way up to where they are now. It was also inspirational to hear about recent Hofstra graduates who have successfully landed a great job just by networking. The event was amazing because we received great advice that will help us in order to work hard and achieve our dreams in the PR world. Excellent event!!!!

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  39. Dan Savarino

    While the day was long, the event was worthwhile. David Chauvin said it best, “keep your options open.” I feel that was the message from most of the speakers during the event. Many did not start out expecting to become PR professionals. Even Raymond Dempsey of BP was originally an engineering major. Countless times these speakers praised the opportunity that us students had to network that day. I felt Chauvin gave some great advice from the start. “Get to know the players and how they’re playing.” This needs to be done in the industry. Not only should you know your competition, but learn from them as well. I think that can be said to students looking for potential jobs. Know the companies out there, and what they stand for. That is one of the best ways to make an impression during a job interview.

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