Conference Reflection – Johanna Herrera

How do you decide where you want your PR focus to be? To be honest, it’s really quite hard. For me, PRSSA National Conference helped me to decide. After attending several sessions that I thought interested me, I was starting to feel discouraged. International PR is great for “cause-specific PR” and entertainment PR is perfect for those who enjoy the glitz and the glam. It all sounded nice, but nothing blew me away… Until I attended the PR in sports session.

As a sports marketing minor, I have always had a special passion for sports and had a vague understanding of what PR in sports entailed. The session, titled “In It to Win It: Sports PR”, answered all of my questions while simultaneously sparking new interests in me.

Ketsia Colimon (Director of PR, Washington Mystics) and Rebecca Timms (Publicist, Philadelphia 76ers) are the type of women who have the ability to move and inspire in a short period of time. They started the session by sharing their stories and how they got to where they are. They then proceeded to open the floor to questions.

Rebecca Timms gave a disclosure that blew my mind:

“We know  you guys read the headlines, but those are not the questions we are here to answer. This is professional development, so that is what we will talk about. Thank you.”

These women had a tough but approachable demeanor.

They were brutally honest and clear about letting us know what it takes to make it in sports PR. They offered advice, statistics, and even took business cards from anyone who wanted to hand them out.

“There is a better chance of you playing in the NBA than getting a PR position with a professional sports team, and that number is humbling.”

They explained the importance of knowing your place and knowing that you are there to do a job. They told stories about interns who cried after a team loss and how their reactions spoke a lot to their work ethic. They told the crowd that it’s good to love your team, but you need to understand that there is a job to be done.

The sports field is scary competitive, and they could not emphasize enough how important it was to work hard.

“You can teach people what they don’t know, but you can’t teach work ethic,” said Ketsia Colimon on how a work ethic can help in getting you the job of your dreams. She went on to elaborate that someone is always watching. She said that of her previous jobs, she had only actually applied for one. The other jobs were offered to her simply because someone noticed her work ethic.

The ladies also spoke about being in touch with yourself. Knowing who you are and what you want out of your career is crucial because the job is very demanding in both your personal and professional life.

The best advice Rebecca could give on the matter was: “Be aware of what you want and what sacrifices you are willing to make to get it.”

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