Aloha from PRSSA National President: An Interview with Brandi Boatner

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Posted At: September 29, 2008 12:35 PM
by Kristin McDonald

Brandi Boatner is currently serving as the PRSSA national president. I was able to talk with her about her election as PRSSA national president and her trip overseas to London this summer for the Global Alliance meeting. Boatner is in her second year of graduate school at Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu, Hawaii. Boatner became a member of PRSSA during her junior year at Loyola University in New Orleans, and she finished her senior year in Dortmund, Germany because of the Hurricane Katrina destruction in New Orleans. Boatner enjoys spending time with her friends at the beach, shoe shopping, reading, dancing, her family and traveling around the world. Luckily, her position as PRSSA national president has allowed her to travel and learn at the same time.

1. How did you become the president of PRSSA?

“The PRSSA National Assembly was held in San Diego, Calif., on March 13-16, 2008. The National Assembly is where all PRSSA Chapters send one delegate to participate in advanced leadership training, vote to elect a new National Committee and vote on any proposed bylaw changes. The National Assembly is held every spring. Having served as vice president of advocacy on the 2007-2008 PRSSA National Committee, I felt confident that I could serve the society as national president and continue to help PRSSA grow and develop. On Saturday, March 15, I gave a speech to my fellow members on the importance of global public relations, diversity in the profession and among the society, and being a student leader among your peers. Shortly after giving the speech, I was elected the 2008-2009 PRSSA national president. It was a wonderful day!”

2. How did you get invited to the Global Alliance meeting in London?

“Every year the Global Alliance on Public Relations and Communication Management hosts an International Conference at various locations worldwide. The 2007 Conference was held in May in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the 2006-2007 PRSSA president, Kevin Saghy, attended the conference. The 2008 Conference was held in London after my term began so I was able to attend. The theme was ‘The Public Benefit of Public Relations – Developing Society Through Effective Communication,’ and it featured more than 250 public relations professionals from 34 different countries. Bill Murray, PRSA president, serves on the Global Alliance board of directors, and he made it possible for me to attend the conference representing PRSSA. I also received a generous donation from thePlank Center for Leadership in Public Relations in order to help with the hotel costs because the dollar has very little value in England. With the expansion of our Society in Buenos Aires, Argentina (our first international Chapter), and the launch of the PRSIC Web site this past May, the Society is focusing on international public relations and maintaining global relationships. As we continue to live in a more global world, public relations practitioners represent organizations that transcend national boundaries and encounter the trends and issues that affect the industry.”

3. What did you learn at the event?

“The Global Alliance on Public Relations and Communication Management has a simple vision—one profession, one voice. According to Colin Farrington, chairman of the Global Alliance, the purpose of the Global Alliance is ‘bringing together public relations and communication management associations from around the world, aimed to help the global public relations industry share ideas and best practices, seek common interests and standards and understand the unique aspects of each culture in which practitioners operate.’ The Alliance enhances networking opportunities for professionals and serves as a vehicle for examining ethical standards, universal accreditation options and other initiatives to strengthen the profession around the world. The World Conference & Festival addressed three key elements: the promotion of diversity in public relations, the role of public relations and public diplomacy in economic and cultural regeneration, and how interactive communication can be effective for a variety of organizations, nonprofit or for-profit. I learned about collaboration with a mission to enhance the public relations industry worldwide.”

4. What are you bringing back from the event and utilizing as the PRSSA president?

“PRSSA is dedicated to diversity and inclusion among our membership. Our continual focus on global public relations and outreach increases the diversity of our Society. My attendance at this event solidified PRSSA’s commitment to international relations, globalization and diversity. The world festival provides a unique opportunity to increase and generate awareness of the Public Relations Student International Coalition (PRSIC) Web site and position the Society as a global leader in the profession providing resources and information about the practice for students both domestic and international. PRSIC holds the mission to educate, share knowledge and create awareness of the expanding scope of public relations among public relations students worldwide. Furthermore, PRSSA can also create an effective process for international schools to establish a PRSSA Chapter at their college or university.”

5. Is there anything you would want aspiring public relations professionals to know?

“As future public relations practitioners, we are especially conscious of the privileges and obligations of communication and the role public relations has in strengthening our cultures and societies. I would tell future public relations professionals to network as much as possible and attend ANY and EVERY networking opportunity on your campus, at your local PRSA Chapter or in your community. It is never too early to begin building relationships with other members of the industry or communication/business related industries. Also, as we live in the age of globalization, learn a language. The job market has some very stiff competition so to differentiate yourself from other candidates by learning to speak another language and giving yourself a competitive edge.”

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