• Temple PRSSA

Last semester I had the opportunity to attend ICON, an international conference hosted by PRSA. While this conference usually takes place in a large city, such as Nashville or San Diego, I had the opportunity to attend it from the comfort of my apartment. I really enjoyed experiencing a conference from home, but I also would do a few things differently. Here is my advice.


1. Find a comfortable spot.


At an in-person conference, we get to stand up, stretch our legs, and move to a different location almost every hour. While we can still take a stretch break in our apartment, we are most likely going to stay in one spot for the duration of the conference. During ICON, I sat at my desk the entire time. While this was fine, I was so sore by the end of it. In hindsight, I would have picked a different spot to sit. Preferably more cushioned. If you have a living room that is relatively free of distractions, or a comfortable chair in your room, I would suggest moving there. It also might be refreshing to not sit at your desk, since we already do it almost every day.


2. Have water and snacks readily available.


Conferences are long. They usually last at least 5 hours in my experience. While some may have a built-in lunch break, you are probably going to get peckish during the conference. At ICON I was kicking myself for not having snacks and a drink in my room. Yes, I could have just walked to the kitchen, but then I risked missing some of the valuable information. Personally, I would suggest having a box of Cheez-Its and a Nalgene full of water ready to go.


3. Hide your phone during presentations.


We have all been here before. Our phones contain our connection to the outside world right now, so it's difficult not to check them frequently. One of the hardest things about attending ICON was resisting the urge to check my phone every time I got a notification. It got to the point where I would put my phone on “Do Not Disturb” during the sessions, and then check it during our designated breaks. While this may seem unnecessary, I promise that it helps you maintain your focus. Honestly, I would even recommend setting your phone away from you during the sessions. This way you can’t check it on a whim.


If you are interested in seeing how these tips hold up, please check out our virtual conference on March 13! You can find more information about this event under the “District Conference” tab here on our website, or you can follow @progressthroughtech on Instagram!


This blog post was written by Amelia Wilt, Conference Coordinator.

  • Temple PRSSA

Before you create your personal brand, you need to identify 3 important things.


1. Who YOU are.


In order to establish your personal brand, you must start off by understanding and identifying with who you are. Knowing who you are starts with identifying your life facts. Life facts are aspects of your life that cannot be disputed. For example, I am a daughter, granddaughter, sister, cousin, niece, friend, PR student at Temple University, and follower of God.


You then must be able to identify with the skills and talents in which you do well. This can be anything from being a great writer or a good listener.


Lastly, you need to be able to acknowledge your weaknesses. These are your shortcomings or the things in which you do badly.


Once you have thought about these aspects of who you are, write them down with a pen and paper or on Microsoft Word. You have now established your “I Am Statement.”


2. What YOU want.


Some of us may know exactly what we want after graduation, some of us may have an idea of what we want, and some of us are seniors and still have no idea what we want. That is okay.


Wherever you are on the spectrum of knowing what you want, we all can start off by identifying 3 short-term and 3 long-term goals. A short-term goal may be graduating on time or finding an internship. No matter what it is, short-term goals are stepping stones that will lead you to your long-term goals. Write these goals down, look at them daily, and remember that all good things take time. These goals are your “I Want Statement.”


3. Why YOU deserve it.


Now that you have established your “I Want Statement” you must be confident speaking out about why you deserve what you want. This is essentially your place to “brag boldly.”


This is not to say you are perfect because no one is. There is always room for improvement, so don’t forget to list areas you can improve upon as well.


Lastly, never forget you are full of greatness. As cliche as it sounds, the sky really is your limit. Never stop believing you deserve and can achieve whatever you want in this life by just being YOU.



This blog post was written by Paige Nicholas, Assistant Conference Coordinator.


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In celebrating Black History during the month of February, it is key to recognize the Black PR Pioneers who founded this industry. Many times, we tend to look over people of color and their accomplishments compared to their white counterparts, but we have to acknowledge the founders of the public relations industry.


Each week, we will take time out of our meeting to recognize three PR pioneers who were fundamental in the growth of public relations and communications. Below you can find a short summary of each person’s accomplishments in their lives. If you are interested in reading more, feel free to visit The Museum of Public Relations website.


Dr. Jesse. J. Lewis, Sr.


In 1952 as a student at Miles College, he began a small marketing firm. In his time working for this firm, he was able to spread his business to numerous campuses across the country.


In 1975, Dr. Lewis was appointed as the first Black man to serve as a cabinet member for the Governor of Alabama, George Wallace. He also served as the president of Lawson State Community College from 1978-1987.


In 1995, Dr. Lewis established the Lewis Group, a public policy consulting firm.


Patricia Tobin


In her career, she found there were minimal opportunities for people of color in her field, so she began her own company. In 1983, she began Tobin and Associates.


Over the years, her client list included Spike Lee, Wells Fargo, Nestle USA, Rebook International, Ltd., Walt Disney Feature Animation, Sony, the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP and Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA).


“For 25 years in Los Angeles she was viewed by many as a queen of public relations, master of the fine art of networking, and guru of event planning, particularly among the city’s African Americans,” said the Los Angeles Times in Pat Tobin’s obituary. Her own firm acclaimed, “... Tobin’s unique brand of public relations focused on building long-lasting relationships in the community, corporate America and Hollywood.”


Joseph Varney Baker



Joseph Varney Baker was born in Abbeville, South Carolina and moved to Philadelphia as a teenager and graduated from Central High School. He studied journalism at Temple University and then was hired at the Philadelphia Tribune.


In 1934, he formed his own public relations firm, Joseph V. Baker Associates. This firm was the first Black-owned public relations firm in the country.


Among many other accomplishments, here are a few of Baker’s firsts:

  • He was the first Black journalist to write for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

  • He was the first African-American man in public relations to become known for acquiring significant accounts from large corporations throughout the country.

  • He became the first African-American president of the Philadelphia Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), where he was elected unanimously.

  • He was the first African-American man to gain accreditation from PRSA.


Maggie Lena Walker


Maggie Lena Walker is best known for being the first African-American woman in the United States to charter and become president of a local bank.


In 1912, she co-founded the Richmond Council of Colored Women and served as the president, raising money for worthy causes. She campaigned for equality of the sexes and the economic enfranchisement of women.


Walker also co-founded the Richmond National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and served as its vice president. She also served on the national NAACP board and the national Urban League board. In her life, she also served on the board of trustees for women’s groups, including the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) and Virginia Industrial School for Girls.


Barbara Harris


Harris joined the public relations firm, Joseph V. Baker Associates. In her time, she was mentored by Joseph Varney Baker. She became the first woman of color to handle public relations for major corporate accounts.


Following her mentor, she was elected president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Public Relations Society of America in 1973.



Moss Hyles Kendrix


Moss Hyles Kendrix began his own public relations firm, named The Moss Kendrix Organization located in Washington, D.C. Over the years, his firm included Coca-Cola, Carnation, the National Dental Association, the National Educational Association and Ford Motor Company.


He is best known for his work with Coca-Cola, which is headquartered in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. According to historians, Kendrix hounded the company’s executives for three years to hire him as a bridge to Black consumers. This employment made him the first African-American to acquire a major national account.


Frederick Douglass


Frederick Douglass was born a slave and became an internationally famous writer and speaker. He worked for the abolition of slavery up until the Civil War and the emancipation of slaves.


During the Civil War, he encouraged Black people to serve in the Union army as a means of eliminating slavery. He advised both President Abraham Lincoln and President Andrew Johnson on issues impacting African-Americans.


After the war, he fought Jim Crow segregation and also lectured on Reconstruction and women’s rights for the last 30 years of his life.


John Harold Johnson


Along with his publishing career and other successes, Johnson was involved in politics throughout his career. He served as a special ambassador for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, to Ivory Coast and to Kenya, and traveled with Vice President Richard Nixon to Africa, Russia and Poland in 1957 and 1959.


John H. Johnson received numerous awards and honors from various groups. Most noteworthy was in 1996, when on the 50th anniversary of Ebony magazine, he received the Presidential Medal of Honor, America’s highest civilian award, from President Bill Clinton.


Bayard Rustin


Bayard Rustin is best known for organizing the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, where more than 200,000 people gathered. This is where Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. gave his world-famous “I have a dream” speech.

Rustin became a mentor to Dr. King starting with the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955-1956. He persuaded King and other leaders to adopt non-violence, teaching them methods he learned in India from disciples of Gandhi. He worked as an aide to King from 1955-1960.


This blog post was written by Mackenzi Hockensmith, Temple PRSSA President.

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