Keynote Addess


At 9:15 I attended the introductory session known as the keynote address. There were approximately 1,100 students who attended this session. The main purpose of this keynote address was to introduce the PRSSA committee, college chapters and volunteers. There was also a very interesting keynote speaker named Mary Henige, who is the director of social media and the communications and reputation manager at General Motors.

For me, listening to Mary’s advice and experiences was very interesting and beneficial. Mary began her career at General Motors when they were facing bankruptcy. Due to her initiative and social media skills along with other influences from her company they managed to turn the company towards profit. Mary provided us with really great advice about things such as internships, social media channels and other aspects. She recommended that students try to obtain internships in both PR agency settings and for a corporate company in order to fully understand what it is like to work for multiple clients and what it is like to dedicate your work solely to one corporation. She also spoke about selecting the correct channels to connect with your target audiences. She stated that there is no point in being present on all social media if you do not maintain the site. She also had a very optimistic view on her bankruptcy experience saying “sometimes a crisis is a great opportunity for a new beginning.” I found Mary really inspirational.

Later some awards were given out to the colleges who have chapters in the PRSSA. The awards were then followed by a ‘roll call,’ which consisted creative (and not so creative) cheers from every PRSSA college chapter. This was very entertaining and some universities put a lot of effort into their cheers. I think it was a really nice way to kick off the conference and get a real understanding of the diverse crowd we were interacting with.