Professional Groups Need to Engage Future Talent

PR students at this week's Publicity Club of Chicago crisis communications panel discussion.

Kudos to the Publicity Club of Chicago (PCC) and other organizations that find ways to include PR students at their meetings.

Students from DePaul University were invited to attend this week’s PCC luncheon featuring a panel that discussed the topic: “Help! How PR Can Save a Brand’s Reputation During A Crisis.”

DePaul instructor Jill Stewart, former PCC co-president, arranged for her PR/ad writing students to attend the PCC event in order to introduce them to a relevant professional organization and as part of a classroom assignment to cover and write about a live event.

Jill said her class benefited from the “real world” discussion. “Our students are our next generation,” she said.  “They benefit from seeing how practitioners network and gain new knowledge from these types of professional development opportunities.

Moderated by Charles Meyerson, adjunct journalism professor at Roosevelt University, and former WGN Radio news director, the panel of crisis experts were Cynthia Lawson, vice president of public relations and communications, DePaul University.  (Cindy won praise for her handling of the high-profile 1999 bonfire collapse at Texas A&M University); Alex Sabbag, communications and development consultant, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Chicago, and Jack Yeo, senior vice president, corporate branding, and director of issues and crisis management, MSL Chicago.

Most students can’t afford to fork out $35 to $50 for professional group events, yet the information discussed is very relevant to their classroom assignments and discussions. Providing deeply discounted tickets for students or arranging special non-dining seating are options offered by a few organizations.  One board member of the Business Marketing Association of Chicago offered to personally pay for two students to attend that group’s events.  Another generous donor provided a grant to his university to create a fund that allows PR students to attend relevant outside-the-classroom programs.  Keep them coming.  The future of the profession is made richer by these experiences.



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