• networking

    Yes, Fellow Students, Networking Really Does Pay Off

    In Career on

    Katherine BlessisRewind to Fall of 2015: I am President of Stonehill College’s Public Relations Society.  The club officers and I are about to hold our second meeting of the semester.  In walks our guest speaker, Hollywood Public Relations Account Manager and Boston’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Co-Chair, Brooks Wallace.

    Brooks talks with club members about pitching reporters, agency life and PRSA Boston’s Emerging Leadership scholarship.

    After the PR Society meeting was over, I connected with Brooks on LinkedIn and sent her a thank you note for attending the meeting.  She encouraged me to apply for the PRSA Boston Emerging Leadership scholarship.

    A few days after I apply for the scholarship, I receive an email from Brooks saying she was impressed by my application.  I did not win, but am proud to say I was one of the top four applicants.  Brooks then asks if I am interested in applying for an internship with her company, Hollywood Public Relations.  Four months and one invaluable experience later, here I am.

    Pause at May of 2016: I just completed my spring semester internship at Hollywood Public Relations.  How was I able to land such an incredible opportunity?  You guessed it … Networking.

    Looking back on my senior year, I realize just how valuable networking can be.  By connecting with Brooks, I got my foot in the door with an industry I am passionate about, and writing samples from my PRSA scholarship application circulated through the PRSA Boston Board.

    Interning at Hollywood PR also opened up countless connections with PR specialists, journalists and other business professionals whom I otherwise never would have met.

    In addition, this spring semester I organized a “Networking Night” hosted by Stonehill’s Public Relations Society.  We were lucky enough to have Jacqueline Dunn, Hollywood Public Relations’ Assistant Account Executive (and a Stonehill alum!), attend the event on the agency’s behalf.  It was a great networking opportunity for students and employers alike.

    To my fellow students who are either skeptical about the whole networking thing, or who don’t know where to start, I hope this shows a little insight into the benefits of it.  My advice is to try to do at least one networking activity a day, whether it be connecting with someone on LinkedIn or sharing a blog post written by an industry professional.  Here are five more tips to help you stand out in the wide world of networking:

    1.  Participate in organizations like PRSA and PRSSA.  Everyone who is there wants to be there for the same reasons you do.  Members often share the same interests and goals as you.  Getting to know other members and learning from them will benefit you now and in years to come.

    2.  Join a club on campus and make it a goal to be on the club’s leadership board.  Attend meetings, engage in conversations and participate in club events.  The time commitment and hard work it takes to be involved is absolutely worth it.  It may not seem like it now, but the work will pay off.  It will, trust me.

    3.  Find an excuse for interaction.  If you have a guest speaker at a club meeting, are attending a job/internship fair or have an interview, find ways to spark up conversation.  Research the person you plan to meet and try to find common conversation topics.

    4.  Leverage yourself as the “event planning expert” or the “marketing guru” on campus.  Promote your knowledge and skills to other clubs or individuals who could use social media or marketing help.  You’ll be the “go-to” resource if someone needs advice or assistance.

    5.  Send thank you notes and follow up emails.  Don’t let your first impression be forgotten!  A hand-written note goes a long way and will make you stand out in employers’ eyes.

    6.  Bonus tip: Introduce others and help them network! Connect two people on LinkedIn you think should know each other.  Be sure to follow up with them to see if the connection was worthwhile.  You might be the reason someone lands his or her dream job!

    Fast-forward to the future: Upon graduating and completing my internship at Hollywood Public Relations, I am happy to say my network has grown tremendously.  I hope the network I’ve built over the past four years will help me reach my professional goals and advance my career.  Looking ahead, I know the size of my network will only get bigger.  I plan to join industry-related organizations such as PRSA, take part in learning opportunities such as conferences and workshops, and of course I plan to connect, connect and connect some more with professionals on LinkedIn.

    I owe much of what I’ve learned about networking to Brooks Wallace.  Because of her guidance and encouragement, I am beginning to understand what it takes to make it in the public relations field.

    To Darlene and the rest of the Hollywood team, thank you so much for everything you did to make my internship experience extremely rewarding and valuable.  Not only did I sharpen my writing skills and learn the ropes of PR, I was also lucky enough to work with a fantastic group of people.  I admire your work ethic and can tell you truly love what you do.  Thank you for being great mentors, teachers and colleagues.  I will miss Hollywood Public Relations so much!

    Please share your networking stories and connect with me on LinkedIn at!

    – Katherine Blessis

    Editor’s Note: This post first appeared on Backstage, Hollywood Public Relations’s blog.

  • Millennials

    Fast 5: Q & A with Chaloner Associates President, Amy Segelin: 5 Things to Know About Recruiting Millennials

    In Career, Thought Leaders on

    By Brooks Wallace

    Working in the communications, PR and marketing recruiting world for more than 15 years puts Chaloner Associates President, Amy Segelin (@amysegelin), in a unique position to observe generational differences among talent groups. The generation on everyone’s mind these days is millennials – trying to find them, retain them and figure out what makes them tick. But what it boils down to, says Segelin, is how each group was raised and what technology each had at its disposal. Millennials are very level-headed, smart and tech-savvy. It’s no secret that millennials have grown up with more access to technology than any generation before them, and that tech savviness has shaped their tastes, priorities and intelligence.

    We caught up with Amy to ask her 5 things to know about recruiting millennials.

    1. First, company reputation is incredibly important to millennials. Again, this comes back to technology, because millennials can find ANYTHING online. One bad online review from a disgruntled employee can ruin the reputation a company has worked so hard to build. Employers have to be ready to answer tough questions.
    2. Culture culture culture. Take a look at millennial focused job markets — San Francisco, Austin, Portland, Brooklyn. They want food sharing, common gathering areas, a high level of in-person interaction, a coffee culture, rooftop gatherings, etc. There’s been a total shift in culture. They’re all about creating a community within the work culture.
    3. Millennials are a generation that understands you don’t have to burn the midnight oil to excel at your job. Time for extracurricular interests outside of work are important to them. They don’t believe they have to eat, breathe and sleep work. This is a nouveau work/life balance.
    4. It’s very important for millennials to feel a sense of giving back through their work. The mission of the organization is important to them; they prefer to feel they’re tied to a mission. This is something we talk about with millennial candidates all the time.
    5. They know their market value, so make sure you have a clear and honest conversation about compensation from the get-go. Don’t be surprised when they come back wanting more. Specific to PR, millennials who work in PR know how in-demand they are, especially the AAE, AE, AS level. We see them get counter-offers or entertain competing offers and take time to make their decision.

    Amy joined Chaloner in 2001 as the company’s first-ever project manager, and was quickly promoted to recruiter. In 2004, she relocated to New York and established the company’s second location. Today, as president and owner, she oversees both offices, builds business and works on national searches in all industries. Amy graduated from St. Lawrence University, and before joining Chaloner, she worked for global retailer, Talbots. Actively involved with several charities, she often speaks at communications and recruitment industry events. Amy lives in Brooklyn with her husband and young children. Amy also helped establish PRSA Boston’s Ted Chaloner Learning Fund, which helps early and mid-level career chapter members access best practices learning opportunities in social impact communications and public relations.


    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

  • Mark McClennan, APR

    FAST 5: Q&A with PRSA Chair Mark McClennan, APR

    Public relations must do more than simply ‘occupy’ a seat at the C-suite table says longtime chapter member and past-president Mark McClennan, APR.

    Mark (@McClennan), who is senior vice president, social media services for MSLGroup in Waltham, recently began his term as Chair of the PRSA national Board of Directors, having been elected by chapter delegates of the 22,000 member organization. Among his priorities are ensuring that PR professionals have the resources and professional development to remain trusted advisers to the C-suite so they can hold their spot at leadership’s table.

    His term year has arrived with a bang: a recent New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) advisory opinion that will expand the definition of ‘lobbyist’ and implications that public relations practitioners would incur new regulatory compliance as a result. He is quoted in a recent PRSA release on this issue HERE.

    We caught up with Mark for a FAST 5 to ask him to reflect on the importance of PR, his priorities for PRSA in 2016, and the increasingly important role Boston is playing in the PR universe, with a visit by PRSA CEO Joe Truncale later this month and hosting the PRSA Northeast District Conference (PRXNE16, @prsane #prxne) in June.

    #1 – Where is PR today?

    PR is more important today than it has ever been. When I first joined the mantra was, “PR needs a seat at the table.” Today, for the most part we have a seat at the table. But having a seat at the table isn’t enough. We all know the dinner guest who just eats the food and is not invited back. Today the challenge is consistently reinforcing PR as a lead discipline and trusted counselor at the table. If we are not advancing sage counsel in every interaction, we are hurting ourselves, and we have enough detractors that we can’t afford to do that.

    #2 – Why PRSA?

    This is the question I get the most from non-members, and I love it. PRSA is the best and deepest resource for you to engage with to advance yourself as a professional and to help advance your career. We have 22,000 members in more than 110 chapters, and another 11,000 students and great intern candidates across 334 student chapters. This is the recruitment pipeline of our future. Within our membership we have 14 dedicated professional-interest sections that instantly connect you to professionals who are facing the same challenges you are.

    But when people ask me about the cost, I have a simple answer. The true cost of PRSA is two to four hours a month. If you are willing to invest that by getting involved and not just coming to meetings, the rewards will blow away any dues amount. And if you are not willing to invest that much time in your career, then others who are will pass you by.

    I credit PRSA with playing a huge role in advancing my career. Ann Getman taught me so much about PR research that she made a hard-charging AE seem really smart to his managers in the 1990s. Kirk Hazlett has been a mentor and friend for almost 20 years. But that is just the beginning. The more you get involved the better it gets. I have had the pleasure of being active on the local, district, section and national level. Every time I volunteer, I find the opportunities and awards more than I ever expected.

    #3 – What PRSA events are you looking forward to the most in 2016?

    The great thing about PRSA is there are so many outstanding events – and there is always one for your specific need. Locally, the PRSA Northeast District Conference (PRXNE16) in June is shaping up to be a dynamite event. We have Joe Truncale, CEO of PRSA (and a closet Red Sox fan), who visited us last week for our March Board Meeting and March Madness Mixer then attended our 3rd annual APR St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast the next day. He’s also going to be speaking at PRXNE16.

    The International Conference in Indianapolis in October is going to be outstanding. If you have never been, this is the year to go. Three days of information-packed professional development and more than 1,500 PR pros. Finally, I love the PRSA Counselors Academy Spring Conference in May. It is a multi-day session designed for senior agency executives and agency owners.

    #4 – What are some of your key priorities during your 2016 tenure as National Chair?

    My top priority is serving our members and working to increase the value that PRSA provides to them that is actionable in their daily career lives. That includes a number of initiatives, including growing the section communities (PRSA’s professional interest groups), working to improve the way we leverage technology to deliver programming and information, supporting the opportunities and development of new professionals, executing campaigns that have a positive impact on diversity and seeing where we can improve our governance model.

    Like any good PR pro, I realize that while I have my plans, outside circumstances may cause some re-calibration, as the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) did with its recent ruling. This could have a significant impact on many of our members and needs to be addressed.

    #5 – What is your PR pet peeve?

    Too often PR people are cutting themselves off at the knees when they are advising the C-suite by saying, “I went into PR because I hate math.”

    I think it’s more accurate that PR professionals want to make our society a better place. We arrive understanding that language and communications can advance a myriad of experiences that make our lives better, simply because we foster understanding, acceptance and consideration of innovative ideas and new perspectives. I can have a 20-minute debate with almost any PR person about the pros and cons of the Oxford comma or “over” vs. “more than.” But too many forget the language of business is numbers. If the C-suite hears you saying “I hate math,” it undermines your ability to act as a trusted, strategic adviser. This is a self-inflicted wound, and PR people need to stop saying it.

    About Mark McClennan

    Mark McClennan, APR, (@McClennan) is Chair of the PRSA National Board of Directors, the leading membership governance authority for the Association. Mark is senior vice president, social media services for MSLGROUP, based in Waltham, Mass. In his more than 18 years at MSLGROUP, Mark has led teams in a variety of industries, including consumer technology, financial services and gaming. He regularly advises clients on social media strategies and crisis management. His teams have been recognized with more than 45 awards for excellence in public relations, including five Silver Anvils. Mark has a B.A. in public relations and political science from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He is past chair of the Northeast District of PRSA and a former president of PRSA Boston.

    About FAST 5

    This is an interview feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

  • Breaking: PRSA Files Affidavit Opposing JCOPE Reclassifying PR as Lobbying

    New York, NY (March 8, 2016) — PRSA, along with the PR Council and the Arthur W. Page Societyfiled separate third-party affidavits with the New York State court to stay the enforcement of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) Advisory Opinion No. 16-01 that seeks to classify some public relations activities as lobbying. Four public relations agencies have filed a lawsuit regarding the same advisory. We are not a part of the lawsuit but our affidavits have been filed at the same time.

    Because this issue is so important to the communication industry, our three trade associations have joined forces to help explain to the court the broad-reaching impact and perhaps unintended consequences that may affect all of our members. Our three groups have unique perspectives to provide to the court to explain our concerns about compliance and infringement on information exchange with the press.

    PRSA Boston Press Contact: Joshua Milne,, (617) 501-1620 for Mark McClennan, APR. Mark is the elected Chair of the 22,000 PRSA membership, is from PRSA Boston and a past president of this chapter. More on social: @prsaboston #JCOPE

    To learn more about this subject, you can read PRSA’s full statement regarding the affidavit and earlier statement on the impact of this advisory opinion. 

    Additionally, here are some recent articles related to the issue:

  • Joe Klimavich

    New Year, Two New Leadership Posts for Our Social Media Chair Joe Klimavich, APR

    Harrington HealthCare System has appointed Joseph J. Klimavich, APR to a new position as VP of Public Relations and Marketing. Joe has started in this role while assuming leadership for PRSA Boston’s social media communications, including expansion of our use of native content, research and online community engagement. Harrington HeathCare’s President and CEO Edward H. Moore called him “a seasoned communication professional with experience in healthcare, development, managed care, banking, education and independent consulting.” In addition to oversight of PR and marketing, Joe will also direct development for Harrington HealthCare System.

    As you will read, Joe’s credentials are considerable, and he will be a sturdy anchor of PRSA Boston’s robust and growing member community across the MetroWest to Worcester region. In past roles he has elevated the role of social channels within the communication mix of the organization he has represented. Joe has already begun to hear from PRSA members and newcomers who want to contribute their knowledge and ideas in this area for the Chapter’s advantage. The timing of adding Joe’s leadership is excellent as we look to host a regional conference (PRXNE16) next June. You can bet that social media, to include our Chapter Facebook Page and Faculty Forum Group, will be increasingly active.

    Joe holds a master’s degree in professional communications from Clark University’s College of Continuing and Professional Education (COPACE), where he has also served as an adjunct faculty member. He is accredited (APR) and most recently moved from his post as VP of Communication for Hometown Bank, in Oxford, MA.

    Joe is a member of the Worcester State University Alumni Association Advisory Board and its student engagement committee, and a recipient of that organization’s Distinguished Alumni Award for outstanding achievement in the field of education, recognizing his work as an adjunct professor in the university’s Communication Department.

    A resident and past Selectman of Brookfield, Joe is a past director of the Central Mass South Chamber of Commerce, a past vice president of marketing for the Mohegan Council, Boy Scouts of America and a centennial year recipient of the council’s Citizens of Distinction Award. Please give Joe and our Chapter a 2016 shout out: @joeklim and @prsaboston!

  • Ready, Set, Go! 2015 APR Calendar is Up!

    In APR, Career, News Feed on

    Did you have a New Year’s resolution to dedicate time toward your professional enrichment? Well put away the scale and storage bins… this is the resolution you can keep!

    We have announced our Spring 2015 Accreditation schedule, and PRSA National offers an optional year-round Online APR Study Course and three times a year (spring, summer and fall) adds value to that experience via connected web-based Cohort Learning Groups (fees apply to include a group discount). You can learn more via this APR Study Webcast.

    We are trying to acquire some of the required texts for a new Chapter APR Study Library through our member professors.  In the meantime, you will find ample information to get started on the Accreditation section of this website.

    So persuade a friend or colleague and accept the APR Challenge! And maybe Oliver will join one of your study sessions!

    Post Author

    Loring BarnesLoring Barnes, APR is our fierce cheerleader for the APR program, this year with Dan Dent, APR. She’s co-chair for the 2016 Northeast District Conference, president-elect of PRSA Boston, and Oliver is one of her two executive assistants at Clarity.