Takeaways from PRSA Puget Sound’s Jumpstart at Edelman

Curator Intern Blog Series

By Lauren Macalalad, PR Intern

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in PRSA Puget Sound’s annual Jumpstart, a one-day event that brings together current PR professionals and aspiring PR professionals. The day was filled with intriguing presentations by current and former PR practitioners, a panel of local media, roundtable sessions and numerous opportunities to advance personal and professional development, and I’m really glad I went. Attending Jumpstart reaffirmed why I wanted to pursue public relations, and reminded me of the inclusive community of communicators and that there are always new opportunities to meet others and expand your network. After listening to and speaking with several key speakers from Jumpstart, including Jane Dvorak, national president of PRSA; Tim Smith, president of PRSA Puget Sound; and Dan Lee, vice president of PR talent in Seattle, I spent some time reflecting on what I learned.

Below are my three takeaways from Jumpstart.

The PR industry is rapidly changing.

What we know now may or may not be relevant in the next five or so years, as emphasized by PRSA Puget Sound president Tim Smith. My college major may not directly translate into my future occupation but, with that said, now is definitely an exciting time to be joining the public relations industry. Just as the digital landscape is changing, the PR field is growing right alongside it. Increased use of social media by companies, as well as rapid growth of partnerships between brands and influencers are key indicators of the constantly-changing PR industry, and as these changes continue to develop, our job as PR practitioners is to master ways to navigate through them.

PR knowledge can be applied to many different fields and disciplines.

Jasmine Goodwin, one of the presenters at Jumpstart, focused on integrated marketing, a discipline that combines PR with sales, advertising, graphic design, social media and many other practices. Throughout Jumpstart, and from previously talking to other professionals, I realized that PR could be applied to many different fields, such as traditional paid marketing, copywriting, owned content strategy, digital marketing, etc. The skills and knowledge gained from PR work is extremely valuable in the sense that it lays the foundation for many other practices, making PR a very critical and advantageous type of work to have under your belt.

It is important to invest in yourself and your career.

Investing in personal and professional development is always a good idea. This means you should proactively seek out new opportunities to experience and new people to meet, especially those who are willing to help you be successful. At Jumpstart, I challenged myself to talk with as many people as I could, including students from other schools. Initiating conversation with someone is one thing, but keeping in touch and maintaining that connection is another. Introducing yourself and getting to know the other person is always the first step. Additionally, Jumpstart held a raffle and many prizes were coffee meetings with PR professionals and books related to PR, communication strategies and the media, and I was completely willing to put forth some cash for a chance to connect with and learn from professionals. In the end, I knew that I was investing in myself and it was a much better use of my money than a venti iced caramel macchiato. 

Overall, my time at Jumpstart was incredible, to say the least. I left with more excitement for my career ahead, new professional contacts, a head full of knowledge and a handful of business cards. Oh, and leaving with several prizes wasn’t too bad either.

This blog was written as a part of Curator’s Intern Blog Series. The author, Lauren Macalalad, is a senior at the University of Washington studying communication, Spanish and diversity. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.