Run Forrest Run! The benefits of running for PRSSA executive board

Run, Forrest, Run!
By Brittney Wichtendahl

Executive board elections will be held at the last chapter meeting of the semester on Wednesday, April 27, and I encourage any member even slightly interested in running for a position to do it! Running against others, giving a speech in front of the chapter, and depending on sometimes strangers to vote for you probably seems terrifying. I was too afraid to run for an open position after my third semester in PRSSA, convinced that no one would vote for a sophomore with little PR experience. When I finally bit the bullet and ran for PR Director the next semester, I was surprised at how scared I’d been over what ended up being a very smooth process.

First, identify your top three most wanted positions. If you just joined this year and don’t have much leadership experience, it might not be realistic to throw your hat in the ring to be chapter president right away. Highlight your strengths—maybe you already keep a personal blog or have managed your workplace’s social media; you’d be a natural at the webmaster position. I encourage running for a position that might help fill some gaps on your resume. I needed more clips for my portfolio, so opted to move into the open newsletter editor position this semester. Make sure your second and third options are positions that you really want to hold. If math isn’t your strongest skill, don’t say you want finance director as your third option because you are not guaranteed to be elected to your first choice position.

Next, you’ll need to figure out what to say in your speech. Don’t sweat this step. This is a very informal run down of why you’re best qualified for the position, delivered in front of the chapter for a maximum of two minutes. We don’t really want to hear your recite your resume—just introduce yourself, share why you want the position, and why you’d be great at it. Some people bring some notes for themselves, others wing it. There’s no right way to do it, but don’t let speaking in front of the room deter you from running at all. You are interested in public relations, after all!

Lastly, everyone will vote and then be kept in suspense until the end of the year banquet on Wednesday, May 4. If you win—congratulations! If you don’t—congratulations! You put yourself out there, and just by giving your speech and introducing yourself to everyone, you greatly increased your chances for next time. Do not feel embarrassed or mad if you didn’t get your number one position, or any at all. The chapter has experienced a lot of growth in the past year, and it’s just statistics that more people will probably run. Being on the executive board is nothing to be taken lightly. It is hard work, and you will attend weekly meetings when there aren’t chapter ones. At times last semester, I likened my position as vice president to another job. The executive board is a team, and sometimes there will be differing opinions and conflict that you’ll need to work through so everything is the best it can be for chapter members. It’s very rewarding, and leadership positions in student organizations look fantastic on your resume.

Good luck to our future executive board—those of us leaving are excited to see where you will take our chapter!

The board will be seeing some changes this year to exec positions. The new positions and a very general definition for the 2011-2012 year are:

Runs Exec Meetings
Oversee meetings and exec board.
Present chapter with new opportunties and networks.

Vice President
Heads one philanthropy project per semester
Alumni relations
takes responsibilities if the president cannot perform

Conference Director
Plans regional conference (PR DAY)
leads and organizaes committees for PR Conference

PR Director
Program PRSSA Socials and banquets
Marketing and recruitment for PRSSA
Edit website and social media (Facebook, Twitter)

CFO/Fundraiser Director
maintain PRSSA budget
UISG request forms

Communications Director
find speakers for ch. meetings
organize conference trips/company tours

email the PRSSA listserv
take notes at PRSSA meetings
Take pictures for PRSSA Chapter

Newsletter Editor
Assign and edit PRSSA newsletter
Assign and edit PRSSA blog

Firm Co-Directors (2 positions)
Oversee insPiRe committees and exec and other activites

Everyone needs to email President Paul Spooner their top THREE choices by Tuesday, April 26

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