A Night of Networking

On Tuesday, Oct. 18, communication students filled the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center for the 9th Annual Grunig Gala. Many public relations practitioners from esteemed companies were in attendance to offer aspiring professionals their best advice and information.

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The venue at the 9th Annual Grunig Gala at Riggs Alumni Center. Source: Jill Schreider

Roundtable Discussions

My most memorable conversation was with the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Kathy Smith. Our discussion was not my favorite because I have a passion for health communication or because I have always dreamed of working at Hopkins. I enjoyed speaking with her because she gave me the reassurance that it is OK to be uncertain of what my passion is right now. Ms. Smith explained her own experiences moving from job-to-job after college until she found a place and career that she belonged in.

My biggest takeaway was to try anything and everything. I learned to never be afraid to accept an internship that I think I may not enjoy or take a job that is out of my comfort zone.

Keynote Speaker

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Katie Paine presenting her lecture on social media. Source: Jill Schreider

Perhaps the most anticipated part of the evening was hearing from the keynote speaker, Katie Paine. She is known as the “Queen of Measurement.” Her lecture focused heavily on this concept of measurement and how she brought it to the PR world. Her ideas on social media are more relevant to me now, particularly how she stressed impact. It is not about the number of likes or shares, but if they made a difference. I need to start improving my presence on various platforms, while ensuring my posts are appropriate, interesting and positive. Trust is so crucial in the social media world, therefore I must watch what I post in order to remain professional.

Making Connections

Katie Paine was not the only person to discuss social media. Almost every public relations professional I spoke with explained the significance of social media in our field. My generation is labeled as the experts in social media, so we should assume it will play a role in whatever job we may enter.

I am eager to use all of the information I gained at the Grunig Gala to help further my career in public relations. If anything, it made me excited for the realm of opportunities within this field, and I can’t wait to see what my future holds.