(Special thanks to PRSA Phoenix for granting me a scholarship to help make it possible to attend!)
Just me and 2,500 of my closest Twitter friends.
Over the course of the three days, we had the opportunity to hear from an astronaut (whose twin brother is also an astronaut and none other than the husband of Gabby Giffords!) recently back from a year in space; a refugee-turned-cultural icon who is helping save the world one bar of soap at a time; the NCAA president (for whom I had a few choice tweets, by the way); the former White House chief information officer; and “Mr. Unmarketing” himself, Scott Stratten.
And none of that even includes the breakout sessions, of which there were about 100.
For me, of course, the highlight was the conference’s signature luncheon, where our own Abbie S. Fink was honored with the Pat Jackson Award for Distinguished Service to PRSA. If you missed her “speech,” be sure to click on it here.
Another highlight? Believe it or not, it was the moment where Stratten, during his keynote, made me feel like garbage. During his set, he talked about how often it is our job to leverage news (or even “news jack” in many cases) to secure media and other opportunities for our clients. But, all too often (and I have been guilty of this), we use someone else’s tragedy (a celebrity’s death, a national crisis) as a “news peg.” After hearing him speak about this from his heart, I made a promise to myself to continue forging relationships with journalists so they trust my client and their expertise, but I will never consciously leverage someone else’s sadness in this way again. In fact, I call on all public relations folks to consider this memoriam.
Among the other highlights – all the juicy nuggets of information coming at attendees at laser speed.
Some food for thought:
And of course, in this initial recap, I would be remiss if I did not mention that the event was not without a lowlight. As so many great bloggers and public relations mavens have already written so eloquently on the topic, I encourage you to view their thoughts here and here. I also recommend you click here to read one guest’s sit-down with the man at the center of the controversy himself. I will just say what I always do – until we (aka females) no longer have to say “first women to…” do this or do that, and until things like this don’t happen – especially at an event that was at least 70% female – we will never truly be equal.