PRSSA Regional Conference Recap


PRSSA.Expect the Unexpected

Earlier this month, the PRSSA chapter at Drake held their 2015 PRSSA Regional Conference, Expect the Unexpected in downtown Des Moines. The theme was picked to help combat the stereotype about Iowa being full of cornfields and farmers by showcasing the numerous opportunities and corporations that exist in Iowa. The theme also tapped into the importance of thinking on your toes in the field of PR and how to prepare yourself, and your clients, for any situation they could be faced with.

Each of the speakers came from a variety of backgrounds, featuring professionals from Edelman/Starbucks, The Walt Disney, the National Journal, HBO, Uber, Wells Fargo, Megabus.com, John Deere and Allyson Conklin PR. The last event of the conference was a crisis simulation where attendees were broken up into groups and each given a different scenario they had to respond to.

Here are three of the things our PR team took away from a few of the event’s speakers:

  • Find your edge – There are thousands of PR professionals in the world today so in order to set yourself apart you need to find your “edge.” Allyson Conklin, founder of Allyson Conklin PR discussed how to hone in and leverage your edge to help you stand out in the crowd.
  • Take a chance – Change can be both exhilarating and completely terrifying. These are opportunities to learn and grow in many capacities that will make you a stronger person and professional. Tanner Stransky, senior editor at HBO, discussed how a young college student from Kansas City took a chance on an internship in New York City, and how it has shaped his life thus far.
  • Be ready for anything – You never know when something “unexpected” might happen. Whether it’s a crisis with a client, a change in leadership or simply having to reschedule a meeting – it pays to be prepared for any situation! Tiffany Giardino, Communications Manager for The Walt Disney Company discussed how she has handled situations like this and how it prepared her for the future.

The chapter spent the better part of a year working on this conference, from beginning the bid process last May to being selected in October and then holding the event. They worked closely with Drake students and faculty in the planning process, as well as with numerous members of Central Iowa PRSA. Overall, it was a wonderful event that Strategic America was proud to sponsor and had the privilege to attend!


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