PeaRls of wisdom

      49 Comments on PeaRls of wisdom
MacDonald

Maril MacDonald

There were many wise words provided by PR veterans to more than 1,000 students at last week’s conference of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) in Washington, D.C. Perhaps the most significant session was titled, “A Conversation with Living Legends,” featuring Thomas Hoog, former president and CEO of Hill+Knowlton, and Maril MacDonald, CEO and founder of Gagen MacDonald. There was also a keynote by Pam Jenkins, president of Powell Tate. I wondered which words made a lasting impression, so I took notes and thought I’d share some of their terrific pearls of wisdom here:

Hoog: “In PR, we’re all about truth. Not hype, not spin, but truth. There’s no place for spin in our profession.”

MacDonald: “Loving to learn is the number one characteristic I look for when hiring. I look for people who are engaging. They are interested and interesting.

Jenkins

Pam Jenkins

Jenkins: “Five years from now this industry will look different than it does today. Embrace disruption–and cause it.”

Hoog: “Listen, incubate, initiate.”

MacDonald: “Take the job that scares you the most and jump in!”

Jenkins: “We’re living in the Age of Engagement. When it comes to every day things, we turn to each other rather than experts.”

Hoog: “I believe in the ‘three bone’ theory of recruitment. I look for people who have a funny bone, a backbone and a wish bone.”

Hoog

Thomas Hoog

MacDonald: “Everyone is clamoring for people who are good at storytelling and making things very visual.”

Jenkins: “Most companies want to tell their stories directly to their customers. We in PR agencies need people with new skills (including) video producers, designers, creators, people who know analytics, who understand the news media, plus we need MBA’s and PhD’s.”

Hoog: “Clear, concise and credible communication is essential for PR leadership.”

There was no shortage of good advice at the PRSSA conference. Which of these pearls of wisdom resonate for you? Which will you remember? And what will inspire you to do something different on behalf of your own public relations career? Your thoughts?

49 thoughts on “PeaRls of wisdom

  1. Whitney Shepherd (@WhitneyPRGirl)

    All of these words and wisdom are great and will probably end up on my dorm room wall for inspiration! However, as I start to search for internships for the summer the ones that stood out to me the most were from Maril MacDonald and Thomas Hoog. MacDonal said, “Take the job that scares you the most and jump in!” I found that as I look for internships that I find interesting but fear I do not have enough experience for. However, you won’t know unless you try. The other quote is from Hoog who said,“I believe in the ‘three bone’ theory of recruitment. I look for people who have a funny bone, a backbone and a wish bone.” I believe this one is also relevant because it talks about being diverse and even in a professional setting one needs to know how to laugh but also focus and have a strive for greatness.

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  2. Jennifer Im

    I personally love the quote, “Everyone is clamoring for people who are good at storytelling and making things very visual,” because when it comes to anything in communications, it’s all about grabbing their attention and conveying a message. The world today loves to be entertained, where boredom is the epitome of all evils, and we find entertainment in scandals, buzz, or, as the quote says, images. Really anything that produces an immersive experience. With PRs though, it’s our job to balance that kind of attention with credibility, which I feel makes it one of the toughest jobs, but also one of the most worthwhile.

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  3. nicole_lombardo

    Hoog: “I believe in the ‘three bone’ theory of recruitment. I look for people who have a funny bone, a backbone and a wish bone.”

    I like the idea of knowing people hire based on personality rather than how well a resume speaks to them. Some people may not have as many internships or as many years of experience but if they are the right fit for the company then they will be chosen over the other candidate. I currently have a good resume but I know that in an interview my people skills are what stand out more than anything else. Knowing that recruiters care about the bigger picture and not just one factor, is reassuring.

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  4. sophia1212

    MacDonald: “Take the job that scares you the most and jump in!”
    This quotation stands out to me, because it is saying to me “challenge yourself.” When you take that chance, you are allowing yourself to show the boss and the client what you are capable of, and that you are in fact the person they will want to turn to when another difficult issue arises. All of the speakers had terrific advice, and they are all very helpful and good to know for everyday use in general.

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  5. liadzayit

    All of the quotes that were said were awesome. The one that really caught my attention was what Hoog said “ in PR, we’re all about truth,. Not hype, not spin, but truth. There’s no place for spin our profession.” I really enjoyed this quote because this is one of the main reasons why I enjoy PR is because there is no way to lie in this profession. Everything is based off the truth because if you don’t base it off the truth you will lose clients.

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  6. Makayla Sapienza

    What Thomas Hoog said stuck with me “I believe in the ‘three bone’ theory of recruitment. I look for people who have a funny bone, a backbone and a wish bone.”. Though I will admit that all the quotes had me thinking for awhile. This quote gives some very good advice that I personally would like to remember to follow because sometimes I forget to have all three at once.

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  7. Danielle

    “Loving to learn is the number one characteristic I look for when hiring. I look for people who are engaging. They are interested and interesting.”

    I love to learn. Since I’ve started college, I realize that I benefit so much more from those classes that aren’t directed toward my major. I want to broaden my horizons so I am well-versed as a public relations major. Not only do I want to concentrate on my academics, but I love to take life lessons out of every day. I believe we learn something new every day if we’re willing to accept the lesson. I for one hope to be one of those people who are engaging by continuing to learn and stay interested.

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  8. kcormi2

    Each of these speakers seem to have a great deal of wisdom to share, but what resonated with me the most was McDonald saying, “Take the job that scares you most and jump in!” I think the most important thing a person can do when starting a career is to take risks and to challenge themselves. As graduation for me is approaching this coming May, I am most scared of not finding a job that I can truly learn and grow from so that I can improve for the future. Success, to me, comes from stepping out of your comfort zone and I believe this is what McDonald is trying to say.

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  9. Daniel Walsh

    “I believe in the ‘three bone’ theory of recruitment. I look for people who have a funny bone, a backbone and a wish bone.” This particular quote resonates with me because it holds to be true in all professions. In order to make people follow you, trust you and believe in you, you have to show a side of humor so people know that you are human. Having a backbone to balance that out is just as important because in the world today more then ever competition is fierce and you have to always be able to take criticism and progress everyday. A wish bone is also good to have because to me it symbolizes having a goal and going after it and always staying motivated. Being wishful includes having networks that may help you someday, happening to be in the right place at the right time and being positive even in situations that are very taxing.

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  10. Sarah Ramos

    Jenkins: “Five years from now this industry will look different than it does today. Embrace disruption–and cause it.”
    That was my favorite quote because it spoke to the changes that can happen. Being ready for change is important in any field.

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  11. Vanessa Felder

    MacDonald: “Take the job that scares you the most and jump in!”

    This quote resonates with me the most because a part of me is scared to enter into the field of PR. There are so many unknowns and that scares me to death. However, I guess it’s better to take a challenge and push yourself, than to take a job that is considered easy. All of the quotes offered great advice, but the one pearl of wisdom I will remember is MacDonald’s “loving to learn” quote. PR is constantly evolving, therefore, it is necessary to learn and keep up to date with all avenues of communication. This quote will also help me in my future career to be not only interesting, but interested in others.

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  12. Laura L.

    I really love the quote, “Listen, incubate, and initiate.” It is easy to remember and really gets down to the basics of PR. First, we must listen to our publics. Then we must strategically plan and think about how our actions can effect the public, the company, and our reputations. Then finally, we must initiate our plan. Like Arthur Page said, we must “prove it with action.”

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  13. Deana Meccariello

    “I believe in the ‘three bone’ theory of recruitment. I look for people who have a funny bone, a backbone and a wish bone.”

    This quote is so true. In the corporate world you need to be able to laugh a little. If you are stoic and serious 24/7 you’ll go crazy. You need to have a backbone. Being able to take criticizm is such an invaluable trait to have. If you are overly sensitive you’ll get eaten alive. As for the wish bone, all i have to say if you don’t have dreams and goals to attain, you may as well give up now. Whats the point of working towards nothing?

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  14. Natalia Dutt

    I think all of the quotes that were mentioned were awesome. I really liked what Hoog said: “In PR, we’re all about truth. Not hype, not spin, but truth. There’s no place for spin in our profession.” Though this is not a profession I want to go into I think it is something that can overlap with other communication fields.

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  15. Rebecca Costa

    One of the quotes that really spoke to me was Pam Jenkins’ quote on the changing career of PR: “Five years from now this industry will look different than it does today. Embrace disruption–and cause it.” One of the most attractive things about PR is how it is always changing and evolving. Continuous learning and constantly having to adapt and change is scary and exciting. Technologically, my generation has the skills to quickly adapt to change because that is what we have grown up with and that seems to be where the future of most professions is heading.

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  16. Meredith O'Connor

    I admire the quote by Hoog, “Theres no room to spin in PR.” Reputations as a liar or someone untrustworthy are so hard to recover from, not only that but the public and media will have the most respect for information that is true.

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  17. Erik Freitas

    “Five years from now this industry will look different than it does today. Embrace disruption–and cause it.” I love this quote because it is true of all industries, but especially of the media industry. We are always having to learn new softwares and technologies to stay competitive. Its important that we embrace ‘disruptive’ technologies. I once worked with a video editor who had been editing on tape for 40 years, and he went out and bought his own digital editing software and learned it just to keep up. People in media must always be reading up on technology and industry changes and flowing with them.

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  18. bibianabogues

    Gagen MacDonald’s statement, “They are interested and interesting,” stuck with me the most. I’ve been reading into interview skills online and that is exactly what they say to do. Being interested in learning is a great asset to a company because it creates the opportunity for growth. MacDonald’s second quote, “Take the job that scares you the most and jump in,” is something that inspired me for when I’m looking for a job in the PR world. I don’t want to take the easy route, I want to do something that challenges me and expands my horizons. Many of the quotes from above are inspirational, the conference seemed like great event to go to.

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    1. Danielle Notaro

      I agree Bibi! No one wants to hire someone who has no desire to learn, grow and expand their career. It is also very important to look for a job that will scare you because this means you will have the opportunity to be challenged and brought out of your comfort zone. In doing so, you will continue to learn and grow.

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  19. Doug Gillies

    Every speaker seemed to have a great point in many different ways. I was particularly drawn to what Maril MacDonald said, “Loving to learn is the number one characteristic I look for when hiring. I look for people who are engaging. They are interested and interesting.” This is a great concept because if there is no interest the person won’t work hard to exceed expectations. It strikes home for me, and I would think most other people my age as well, because it’s advice I will need to use in interviews. It can also serve as a measure of happiness. If I am not interested in what I am doing I probably am not happy with my career or current job.

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  20. michaela marano

    I too believe in the 3 bone theory. Its important to be able to be personable, and take things lightly when appropriate but its also important to to be strong and have that back bone and be able to command authority when needed. And lastly, its greatly important to have that wish bone, the ambition and drive to create a goal and achieve it. In PR you need to be bold, effective and a risk taker, unafraid of failure. “Embrace disruption and cause it” also stuck out to me. You must be willing to deal with change well, considering this field changes by the minute. Also, as a PR person, you must have to power to create change amongst your audience to effectively accomplish the mission you had intended. Its important to light the spark in the audience, to allow them to raise questions or come to a realization because the public are the ones with the power to make the change based on what they’re fed in the media.

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  21. Sarah Abuharaz

    “I believe in the ‘three bone’ theory of recruitment. I look for people who have a funny bone, a backbone and a wish bone.”

    The “three bone” theory was definitley the one that stood out to me. While an employer does want the one who is best qualified for the job, there are also other factors that should go into recruiting. Personality is huge especially in the field of PR. That’s another reason why I love PR, it’s not plain and boring. The field is constantly changing and so are the people who work in it.

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  22. Jessica Vallario

    As a double major I often doubt my choice of continuing with philosophy. I love it, but often times people don’t appreciate it as much as I do. I think Jenkins quote resonates most with me. He mentions that the PR field needs more than just PR majors. The field calls for thinkers and creators of all kinds. This makes me proud to have something different to bring to the table. I work hard in classes like “symbolic logic” and “philosophy of science” and I’m glad to now know my hard work won’t go to waste. Who knew PR was so all encompassing?!

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  23. Alexis Stringfellow

    When MacDonald says “everyone is clamoring for people who are good at storytelling and making things very visual”, it most definitely rings true to what this generation should know how to do. If people are trying to reach a wide audience, then it is necessary to have skills in reaching people on a deeper level and making your intent clear to the public. There are brilliant people out there who may not have good interpersonal skills, which puts them at a disadvantage in the job market. It is the ultimate search to find the whole package.

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  24. mconno25

    Hoog: “I believe in the ‘three bone’ theory of recruitment. I look for people who have a funny bone, a backbone and a wish bone.”

    I really think this above quote will stick with me and have much value in my future PR profession. Going into job interviews knowing what employers are looking for puts you ahead of them. Also I loved that he included a funny bone. I believe that should one of the main things you look for when hiring. Not just funny, but outgoing in general. An outgoing person can hold an engaging conversation and someone who can actually be your friend not just an acquaintance. The backbone applies more to the working, which is a necessity. However, the wish bone factor adds character to an individual. They have hopes and dreams for themselves, aspire to be something and strive for success. To me, that means they will work hard to get what they want rather than being lazy and that’s the kind of person I would want working for me. Other than this quote I enjoyed them all and think they all should be remembered.

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  25. nixablevins

    These two quotes by MacDonald stood out to me the most. MacDonald said, “Take the job that scares you the most and jump in!” and “Loving to learn is the number one characteristic I look for when hiring. I look for people who are engaging. They are interested and interesting.”

    These quotes stood out to me the most because I am getting closer to graduating. I am excited to know that I can go into a new job or interview with confidence. Instead of being intimidated by new opportunities I understand that it is important to believe that I can make things happen.

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  26. Ashley P.

    “Five years from now this industry will look different than it does today. Embrace disruption–and cause it.”

    Although I found all of the quotes interesting, I liked this one the most–particularly the last part. I love the idea we should not only accepting change, but also cause it. The world around us is constantly changing, and we’d be foolish to think that the PR industry would be any different. By learning to embrace these changes, we can become more comfortable with creating new ways to change the industry for the better.

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  27. Devin Jaffar

    “In PR, we’re all about truth. Not hype, not spin, but truth. There’s no place for spin in our profession.” This quote stood out to me because in my first graduate class, I learned not to spin. As I go through grad school and enter my career in the pr field, I will always remember these exact words. After reading these quotes, I feel confident about a career in pr.

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  28. Anjelica Johnson

    “Listen, Incubate, Initiate.”
    This probably stood out the most to me, although it was all definitely important. This specific quote is something that can be used in all aspects of life even outside of PR, which I definitely appreciate. We all need to be reminded to listen and take in other ideas from others in order to fully comprehend projects and situations, because these ideas might make whatever we were planning better.

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  29. meghanazralon

    I truly enjoyed all of these helpful quotes. The three bone theory is definitely one of my favorites because I believe all three of those attributes should be present in an employee. Reading all of these quotes gets me excited to head into the field and get to work.

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  30. Tyler Cutler

    All of these are really amazing pieces of advice, and I want to write them all down for myself to remember them, but my two favorite are from Jenkins and Hoog. I loved Jenkins’ comment about the industry changing in five years and how we need to embrace that because it is just so relevant to our generation. Every year, we see some knew ‘thing’ that changes the whole game for society, and so it makes sense that in as little as five years everything about PR could change. Especially when PR is all about the best and newest way to communicate with our consumers. With the mediums constantly changing it forces us to be adaptable people as well, and I think that’s a really important element for us as PR people to learn.

    The second comment I liked was the one by Hoog about looking for the three different bones. Mostly I just liked it because I thought it was clever, but I also think it’s true that those are things that important, not just in PR, but in any job that has the possibility of high profile cases. I just liked that comment a lot.

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  31. jheiden1

    I really enjoyed the three bone rule for hiring. I believe that every potential employee should possess those three main attributes. A funny bone is needed to keep the company in high spirits. A backbone is needed to ensure the company never gets walked all over or taken advantage of. A wish bone is needed to give the company room for growth in change. Each “bone” is of equal importance.

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  32. elizah9

    Hoog: “In PR, we’re all about truth. Not hype, not spin, but truth. There’s no place for spin in our profession.”

    I would like to pursue a career in public relations; however, there are a few rumors about the occupation that I need to get clear. For instance, the concept of a PR person spinning a story has always been highlighted in TV shows and movies. Therefore, I have always been confused on whether or not they actually spin stories for living. The quote above by Thomas Hoog helps clear this notion up for me. His quote explains that PR people do not spin or hype stories, but they simply tell the truth. After reading this quote I finally feel like I have a better understanding of public relations. Overall, sometimes it takes a person who has worked in the career for years to help you understand it clearer.

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  33. agionesi

    “Take the job that scares you the most and jump in!”

    I found all of the quotes to be inspiring, but I really liked this one. I think it is important to do the things you are most afraid of sometimes. One of the bosses where I intern told me during my interview that if you want to be comfortable than be happy being mediocre; you never get anywhere great if you are too afraid to try things.

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  34. Brier Davis

    The first quote from Hoog really summed up what I believe about PR, the truth is always the best option and a good PR person is going to use the truth to their advantage.

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  35. laurelroseo

    Hoog’s peice of advice, “I believe in the ‘three bone’ theory of recruitment. I look for people who have a funny bone, a backbone and a wish bone.” resonates with me the most. This industry requires a personality with many different traits. At times we must choose when to laugh, to stand up for ourselves and our company with pride, and when to be hopeful. It say a lot about the industry and the people in it.

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  36. Gabrielle Furman

    All of these saying are true and it feel will always apply. Two of the saying stick out to me the most, which would be to never put a spin or twist and you always want to learn and seem engaged. In public relations there should always be trust between the client and the professional. If the professional follows what each of these quotes of advice they will have success in the PR industry.

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  37. Felicia Colavito

    Each words of advice really hit home with me, but one that really stood out was Hoog’s advice: “In PR, we’re all about truth. No hype, not spin, but truth. There’s no place for spin in our profession.” This is something PR students learn early on. I remember learning this in PR 100 because unfortunately, a common association with PR is that there is a “spin.” PR is all about truth, and without the truth there is no trust or credibility to be had. We have seen how the truth plays an important part in PR, especially crisis PR, time and time again. The Johnson & Johnson crisis is a great example of how the truth can only help you not hurt you.

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  38. Brenna Harran

    All of these quotes are great and really inspire me even more toward what I want to do in PR. Hoog’s quote, “I believe in the ‘three bone’ theory of recruitment. I look for people who have a funny bone, a backbone and a wish bone.”, stood out the most to me. That is a great analogy and is similar to advice I have received from my many internships. It is always important to be able to laugh and enjoy your job and the people you work with and make light of any situation. You must always be strong and be able to take criticism, handle problems when they arise, and keep cool. You also, must always aim for only better to come in the future.

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  39. Amy Schildwaster

    The best piece of PR advice I’ve ever gotten was at a PRSSA meeting when I first changed my major to PR. I was nervous about the major change and everyone seemed so confident in what they were doing, me not so much. After listening to a guest speaker, I went up to ask about what an employer looks for on a resume. She told me that internships and involvement is important but if you are passionate about what you do, people will notice what you are doing, especially when you do it well. I’ve used that advice every time I apply for internship or get involved with clubs.

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  40. nikkigyftopoulos

    All of these quotes of wisdom are great pieces of advice for PR students and professionals. The ones that really stood out to me were “I believe in the ‘three bone’ theory of recruitment. I look for people who have a funny bone, a backbone and a wish bone,” and “Take the job that scares you the most and jump in!” The three bone quote is not only clever, but it also shows that employers are looking for more than just a hard worker. They are looking for someone with personality, work ethic, and aspirations. This shows how important it is to be a well-rounded individual and show your true self in an interview. The second quote really resonated with me because it pushes people to be comfortable with uncomfortableness. To take the job that scares you the most is a difficult task. We all want to do what we excel at and what comes easiest to us. Sometimes, we need to face our greatest challenge and jump in full force in order to grow in our career.

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  41. maxeisenberg8

    Of all the quotes the one I liked best was Hoog’s comment about having 3 bones. To be a well-rounded worker, you need to have some sense of humor (no one wants to work with someone who’s serious 100% of the time), have a backbone and be reliable, and have a wishbone, meaning that the worker has ambition and goals to advance their career and value to the company/organization.

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  42. Jenna Delio

    Honestly all of this advice resonates with me. Every bit of it from each PR professional is important. The one that holds the strongest spot in my mind is the advice from Jenkins because it shows how important it is to have a variety of different skills to implement into your PR campaigns or whatever else you are working on. That is why I chose a minor of Computer Applications and New Media Design because it gives me many of those skills that Jenkins mentioned. The fact that they need more MBAs and Ph.Ds is somewhat frightening, so that makes me consider returning to college to get a higher degree a few years after acquiring a PR job after graduation.

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  43. Courtney Zanosky

    I actually thoroughly enjoyed reading these pieces of advice because all of them seemed to hit home in some way or another. Hoog, MacDonald, and Jenkins all seemed to have wonderful and progressive things to say and I believe that it is important that we listen to them. My favorite piece of advice came from Jenkins when he said “Embrace disruption – and cause it.” Only people who are willing to do things differently and go against the norm with creative and innovative ideas will succeed in this field and I think it is important to remember not to be a follower in this field. I also really liked Hoog’s advice that said, “I believe in the ‘three bone’ theory of recruitment. I look for people who have a funny bone, a backbone and a wish bone.” This speaks to being a well-rounded and open-minded person and I believe this is a great way of phrasing it. All of these inspired me to keep an open mind and pursue the things I believe in.

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  44. Sarah Lopez

    Hoog, MacDonald, and Jenkins all gave some valuable advice at the PRSSA conference. The piece of advice that stuck out to me was whenMacDonald spoke about hiring someone that is willing to learn. I think this is something that people going into PR have to be prepared to do. Sometimes you may be signed on to a new client that you know nothing about. The beauty of this is that you learn more about the background of the client and the industry, which allows you to become a mini expert in that field. The advantage of PR is that you are exposed to multiple clients and you must know the client like the back of your hand in order to effectively do work for them. Jenkins’ comment about needing new skills also stood out to me. It reminded me about the conversation we had in class about how at an entry level job you should know how to edit video and take quality PR photos. There’s definitely advantages to having skills like video editing, radio editing, photography, and more. For one, it makes you more valuable to a company. Second, your skills have the ability to expand your portfolio.

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  45. Ashley Iadanza

    A lot of this made me feel more confident about going into the work field in the future. All of these pieces of advice are helping me realize that there is a chance, despite this roller-coaster of an economy, that I might be able to succeed after all.

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  46. Gia Palomo

    Wow, reading all these inspirational quotes from these PR greats makes me wish I had gone and heard them for myself. The quote that stood out to me the most was the one by Jenkins, “Five years from now this industry will look different than it does today. Embrace disruption-and cause it”. Time changes everything but more so the PR field because it’s so reliant on technology and social media. Who knows if the mediums we are using today will be the same as next year, but thats where the excitement comes in.

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  47. Lyndi Catania

    I learned something just from reading each of these quotes. Hoog, MacDonald and Jenkins shared some great advice. The two that stand out to me are, “Loving to learn is the number one characteristic I look for when hiring. I look for people who are engaging. They are interested and interesting.” In order to keep up with the changing tools, outlets and techniques, it’s important to want to keep learning when it comes to public relations. I also enjoy the quote that reads, “In PR, we’re all about truth. Not hype, not spin, but truth. There’s no place for spin in our profession.” It’s very frustrating when people associate spin with PR. Some people think it’s just about highlighting the great parts and hiding from any bad that may happen.

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  48. Areanna Rufrano

    I think that each one of these PR veterans had something very profound to say. There are two quotes that really resonated with me: “Five years from now this industry will look different than it does today. Embrace disruption–and cause it” by Pam Jenkins and “I believe in the ‘three bone’ theory of recruitment. I look for people who have a funny bone, a backbone and a wish bone” by Thomas Hoog. I find these quotes to be memorable words of wisdoms that I will apply to my professional life. The first quote highlights the industry’s changing times and how newcomers need to be able to adopt to it as well as be a game changer. The second quote cleverly outlines three simple traits that would make anyone a great candidate for recruitment. These quotes not only present great advice, but they also exhibit the imperative writing skills every public relations professional must possess. Each one of these statements are beautiful constructed in a way that can capture a reader’s or listener’s attention. It is the writing and content that makes these quotes so impactful.

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