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4 Questions I Asked at PRSANY’s Speed Mentoring II

Thursday, December 7, 2017  
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by Divya Sangam

Every PR Practitioner can benefit from the advice and perspective of industry mentors, especially those who have seen plenty of success over their careers. This alone made PRASNY’s Speed Mentoring Event on Thursday, November 30th one of the most useful PR industry events I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending!

With nearly three hours of airtime with NYC’s most influential PR practitioners and over 25 fellow mentees ‘speed dating’ style, what did I ask the mentors and mentees I met and what did I take away from the session?

  • How can I become a better PR Professional?
    My primary objective for attending the Speed Mentoring II event was to get a solid SWOT analysis on myself. As it turns out, a lot of the skills and experiences in my PR playbook was exactly what I needed to have, however, the mentors I spoke to highlighted some weaknesses, which include building more relationships in broadcast media, and a need to pursue a wider understanding of brand management. Most notably, one of the mentors highlighted a lack of confidence in myself as a weakness- something I could not spot in myself- so this feedback was very helpful!
  • Should I work at an Agency to hone my craft?
    As someone with 10+ years of PR experience exclusively on the client side, I’ve often wondered whether I should work at an agency to hone my craft. The Mentors I asked this question to offered two perspectives - one the one hand working at an agency means being in contact with fellow PR practitioners, learning and interacting with them and thriving in that creative space. However, being on the client side would allow me the opportunity to do a deep dive into the brand I represent, and being a more effective advocate for the brand. Both perspectives gave me plenty of fruit for thought.
  • How can I get management experience as a one-woman PR Manager at a startup?
    One of the most exciting things I’ve done in my career is joining a startup to kick off their Global Communications department from scratch. Being here for over 3 years has been an adventure, handling strategic and tactical communications single handedly. However, as a one-woman team, I wanted to know how I could showcase management experience to future potential employers? The most interesting perspective I got on this was that management does not mean managing a team under me- it can mean taking ownership of a cross-team project, managing up, or even working with interns.

  • How should I brand myself more effectively as a PR Professional?
    While waiting our turn to meet with the mentors, my fellow mentees and I were brainstorming ways to make ourselves more recognizable for our craft. Ideas that were floated included contributing as an expert in PR publications, volunteering our expertise as PR professionals, and acting as a PR Mentor or Volunteer for relevant chapter events, or even contributing actively on PRSA forums answering questions from fellow practitioners.   

By the close of the evening’s session, every Mentee I interacted with left with a renewed sense of purpose and a solid game plan for a variety of objectives, including starting a new career in PR, finding new clients, building up their PR expertise, and even finding job opportunities. We walked away with a powerful sense of camaraderie with our industry peers, and I for one look forward to interacting, learning and growing with my new-found colleagues.

PRSA-NY’s Mentorship program under the auspices of Chairman James Walker, offers PR professionals access to New York City’s most influential PR practitioners. PR Pros- keep an eye out for upcoming Mentorship events to hone your craft and forge meaningful relationships with our industry’s leading lights.

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