And so it begins…

Session 1
Saturday October 26, 2013
9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Rise and shine wake up call at 6:45 a.m.! We headed downstairs for the Continental Breakfast to grab a muffin and enjoy some Starbucks coffee. Then it all began.

Our first session was the Welcome, Keynote Address, Awards, and Chapter Roll Call held in the Regency Ballroom on the Second Floor. Brian Price, the 2013-2014 National President, welcomed us to the City of Brotherly Love’s PRSSA National Conference. He introduced the National Committee and the Keynote Address, Mary Henige. Mary has worked in the communication department of General Motors for almost 27 years. She is now the director of Social Media, Digital Communications, and Reputation Management for the company.

Brian and Mary went in a different direction for this year’s keynote address. They took advantage of social media and picked questions to discuss that were tweeted at Mary before the conference.

The first question asked was “What is the world without digital media?” Mary answered quickly stating that media is always changing, but the fundamentals stay the same. You must still be a skillful writer and you must build good relationships. It is easier to build a relationship online, so bring your online relationships offline.

The second question discussed how General Motors deal with the change in social media. Mary told us they like to be on the leading edge by trying new social media channels. Although before they begin a new channel, they must always evaluate it first.

When asked what makes a successful PR career, Mary told us to build our network and personal brand; what seems to be a common theme at the Conference. If you seem interesting, people will follow you. So take a risk, keep listening, and relay your knowledge to the people around you.

And the question everyone was wondering, what does she see in a candidate? Mary replied promptly with one word: leadership. She wants to know what you do outside of your schoolwork and how well you can lead a group. Internships are key and should never be taken for granted. No matter how many copies or Starbucks trips you’re making, your time will come. Show your passion, always. And know your stuff.

Mary Henige proved to us that there once used to be a world without digital media, and the fundamentals came from there. Being on the leading edge will help you deal with changes in social media. Building your network and personal brand will give you success. And leadership positions will allow you to stand out in a pile of applications.

For more information or any questions you may have, tweet Mary @maryhenige

Also – follow me on twitter (@teadv) to follow along with my experience at the conference!