Taking Risks with San Marcos CISD

By: John Lee

November 30, 2017

Texas State’s PRSSA chapter had the pleasure of hosting Andrew Fernandez, executive director of communications of San Marcos CISD, to speak about his experiences and insight when concerning the PR industry.

Fernandez attended Texas Lutheran University and received his degree in communications with a concentration in journalism. Starting in high school and throughout college, Fernandez worked as a lifeguard for the city of Kirby, an enclave of San Antonio. Through this position, the mayor of Kirby offered Fernandez his first job as a parks and recreations manager after he graduated.


After working at that position for one year, he then moved up as an administrator while simultaneously working for the San Antonio Spurs. He was then inspired by his brother to work in the education field and eventually ended up where he is today.

Fernandez emphasized being a “jack of all trades,” and having a diverse skill set. Looking back at the variety of jobs Fernandez has had, it clear to see the different roles that he has been a part of and how they have benefitted him in the long run. His career path is one that is diverse and constantly changing.

Fernandez also emphasized that PR is a job that requires you to be alert at all times. With the advances in social media and technology, you always need to be aware of what is going on. Communications is a fast-paced industry, so utilizing the tools that you are given will help you become knowledgeable. You are going to have to work late hours and be willing to work hard.

“I wasn’t afraid to work the late hours and I wasn’t afraid to put in the time,” Fernandez said. “PR is truly a 24-hour job.”

Taking risks is also important according to Fernandez. Doing things that you normally would not do allows you to learn and grow through your mistakes. If it wasn’t for risks, Fernandez would not have grown into the person or be in the position he is in.

“It’s a tireless job, but the one thing I always tell people who are getting into the PR business is that you have to fall in love with it,” Fernandez said. “At the end of the day, PR is about telling a message.”

To learn more about San Marcos CISD, follow them on Twitter

For more information on Fernandez, contact him at andrew.fernandez@smcisd.net

Bloom Your Branding for Your Business

By: Lexi Ashbury

October 12, 2017

Starting a business comes with it’s challenges, one of which includes understanding how to successfully brand it. This week, our PRSSA chapter had Kayli Head, owner of The Bloom Bar, to explain how to build your brand when starting your own business.

Kayli Head, owner of The Bloom Bar, speaks to Texas State’s PRSSA chapter.

Head’s passion for floral design blossomed when she took a high school course on the subject. This was the first spark that would eventually lead to the creation of The Bloom Bar. However, she did not study in floral design in college and decided to pursue public relations instead. She graduated from Stephen F. Austin University and moved to San Marcos, Texas in 2013 to work for the Mainstream Program. This job was what pushed her into the event planning industry and because the focal point to help her branch out and meet with local businesses.

Eventually, Head realized she wanted to start her own business and begin to brainstorm different ideas of what she could do. She still had a passion for floral design from high school and thus, The Bloom Bar began.With the support of her friends, she started out building her business on social media, while also learning about graphic design. Head invested 1,000 dollars in creating her website and giving out free flowers to local event planners. From there, her floral business began to grow. Since her doors opened, her shop has grown exponentially and taken on 300 clients. When her business began to grow, she recalled feeling intimidated. The demand for flowers kept increasing and she realized she had to find balance between her work so she would not get overwhelmed. Head told us balancing  a business and having fun while doing it is important.

Head credits public relations to being the basis of her business. She knew the importance of getting involved in her community and networking. She admits she gave out a lot of free flowers in the beginning, but this only catapulted her business and led her down a IMG_6756successful career path. Starting up your own business is not going to be a piece of cake. It will be challenging, but if you work hard at it, then your business will flourish.

“Pairing with like minded creatives has catapulted my business to the next level and it has taught me so much,” Head said. “Community over competition is a really good mantra to have when building your business or someone else’s.”

Currently, Head’s business is run out of San Marcos, Texas while most of her clients are in Dallas and Houston. She says the local people of our town spread the word of her shop to friends and family members, which leads to clients in other cities. Her shop now has five employees who are an extension of the brand she has created. To students who are unsure of what they’re doing, she encourages them to take a step back and see what they really want to do. She explains people who want to start their business from scratch, should spend as little money as possible when starting out. Be financially frugal and overtime your business will start to grow.

Starting your own career from nothing seems daunting. Thanks to the guidance from Kayli Head, we were able to gain some perspective on how to successfully brand your own business. You can find out more about The Bloom Bar here and connect with Kayli on Facebook and Instagram.

5 AP Style Rules to Know

By: John Leepexels-photo-38167

As rising PR professionals, it is essential that we gain the skills necessary to better ourselves and further our learning in this ever-growing field. One of the tools we will need throughout our journey is understanding how to write in Associated Press style. AP style was created to produce clarity, convenience and consistency. It is common practice among journalist and PR professionals to use this style when writing press releases, news releases, case studies and any other PR related document. Although it is impossible to learn all the intricate rules in one day, here are a few to get you started.

  1. State Abbreviations- AP style does not follow the standard state abbreviations we are used to. When the name of a city and state are used together, the state name should be abbreviated with the exception of Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah. However, there are exceptions to this rule, depending on the city you are referencing. Some cities do not need a state to follow it. When writing just the state alone, it does not have to be abbreviated. It is best to reference the AP handbook for the state abbreviations and exceptions when following this rule, as it is recent and still new to many. For example, PRSSA is a national organization with many organizations in California, Washington and Texas. The national conference was held in Seattle and hopefully it can be held in Carson City, Nev. next year!
  2. Titles- Only capitalize formal titles names when you are writing the title before the name. When writing titles after the name, the formal titles are lowercase. For example, Mayor Daniel Guerrero spoke to Texas State’s PRSSA chapter. After he spoke, David, an account executive at Edelman, offered his insights.
  3. Numbers- When dealing with numbers in AP style, write out the numbers one through nine. Anything above nine, you write out the numerical value. Also, when you are dealing with percent, write out the word percent and do not use the symbol. For example, Texas State had an increase of seven percent on PRSSA memberships. This is an increase from last years 15 percent drop.
  4. Dates/Months- It is important to reduce redundancies when including dates in AP style. Instead of writing out full dates such as, Thursday, April 6, 2017, you can just say April 6. Also, avoid adding “th” to the end of the dates. With months, only abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Basically, just the months that contain more than five letters. 
  5. Like/Such As- Use like to compare things. Use such as when you are providing examples. For example, PRSSA members are like real PR professionals.

AP style is one that takes a long time to master. However, follow these basic guidelines will help you get a kickstart to tackling this huge obstacle. If you would like more information, click here to check out the most recent AP style handbook.

PRSSA Takes Dallas

By Shefali Syed

March 24th is a date that will always be remembered by a few members of the PRSSA chapter at Texas State University. Luckily, I was among those few.

I vividly remember the first PRSSA meeting I attended. I was by myself, sitting in a classroom full of students, who seemed to have known each other for years. While full of very useful information, that meeting stood out to me for one main reason. Our faculty adviser, Paul Villagran, lecturer at Texas State University, mentioned a trip to Dallas. He then discussed touring the Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium, and I was instantly hooked. Along with the AT&T Stadium, Professor Villagran announced we would be visiting the Globe Life Park, home to the Texas Rangers, as well as the American Airlines Center, home to the Dallas Mavericks.

Weeks went by, and then finally I received the email I had been anticipating from Professor Villagran stating that I had been accepted to attend the Dallas trip. From that moment on, I was counting down the days until Dallas.

First stop: AT&T Stadium – Dallas Cowboys

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the Dallas Cowboys’ Director of Media Relations, Joe Trahan. Trahan gave us an exclusive tour of the 80,000-seat capacity stadium, which included the press conference room, an exclusive area where the players run out onto the field, the Picture1player’s locker room, the press box – where we learned cheering for a touchdown could get you fired – and lastly, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader’s locker room. Trahan briefed Texas State PRSSA about his background and how he achieved his position. His story was my biggest takeaway from the tour, because of how inspiring he was. One of the most important pieces of advice that he gave us was to keep searching for ways to get recognized, even if it means volunteering. He began working free of charge and taking any opportunity he could until he eventually was noticed. Trahan considers this the reason he is in his position today. Hearing that from a professional in the communications field as a college student showed me that landing your dream job can be done by hard work and dedication. I definitely left AT&T Center feeling fully capable of achieving my goals by continuing to work hard and by striving to be the best.

Second stop: Globe Life Park – The Texas Rangers.

Following our visit with Trahan of the Dallas Cowboys, we continued across the street to visit with the Texas Rangers’ communication team at Globe Life Park. We first took a grand tour of the ballpark, including the press conference room, the dugout and the press box. Next, we Picture2were led to their offices, which are located right under the Coca-Cola scoreboard, and were able to hear from the manager of broadcast operations, Madison Pelletier, the director of social media, Kaylan Eastepp and the manager of marketing and advertising, Sarah Opgenorth. That being said, we were given a full rundown on everything the communications team handles . A few interesting points Opgenorth touched on included how she deciphers where and to whom advertisements go out and the thought process that goes into that selection. Additionally, Eastepp informed us about the social media aspect of the organization and how the Texas Rangers actually post on over 10 social media platforms. To wrap up our time at the Globe Life Park, Pelletier handed out a few magazines for us to look over and answered any final questions that we had.

Final stop: The American Airlines Center – Dallas Mavericks

The long drive to Dallas and the lack of sleep from the previous night was starting to catch up to me, but I was excited to hear from the Dallas Mavericks’ public relations team. We were greeted by Sarah Melton, Director of Basketball at the ‘Employee Only’ entrance. She walked us to the media dining room where we met basketball communications coordinator, Alan Rakowski, and director of basketball communications, Scott Tomlin. After each of them provided a little information about themselves and their personal experiences working for the Mavericks, they provided plentiful advice about their field. A few key points included:

  • FullSizeRenderCompanies may not have internship positions available, but recruiters are always open and welcoming to students and applicants looking for experience.
  • If you’re interested in sports PR, it is crucial to work in your university’s sports information office. Every person on the PR team had that background and agreed that the experience they gained there is a big reason why they are where they’re at today.
  • TIMING IS EVERYTHING. As public relations professionals, we need to be patient. Positions become available based upon the needs of the firm or company, so we must pay close attention in order to occupy the position.
  • Melton reiterated the commitment working in public relations entails, especially in sports PR. You have to be able to travel wherever the job may take you. There’s only 100 fellow sports PR professionals, so when the opportunity is presented, you have to go for it.

To conclude our visit to the American Airlines Center, we had the opportunity to tour the players’ locker room, which was by far my favorite part of the whole day. The Mavericks are in-season, so the players’ clothes and belongings were in their lockers, which I thought was pretty cool to see. I also got to compare shoe sizes with Dirk Nowitzki, because his shoes were conveniently just laying there! I’m still a little mind-blown by the experience.

After almost eight hours of running around the Dallas area, our trip sadly came to an end. It was bittersweet, but definitely an experience I will always hold dear to my heart. Without Texas State PRSSA, I don’t think an opportunity like this would have ever come my way.

Professionalism for the Young Adult

By Nicole Cavender

March 23, 2017

Our PRSSA chapter at Texas State was pleased to have Sam Heimbach come speak to us about keeping a professional appearance and the best ways to network for any social encounter. Heimbach is currently a Career Advisor in the Career Services department at Texas State University.

Heimbach is a Texas State alumnus and a former member of  the Texas State PRSSA chapter. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Public Relations and Business Administration. Heimbach began working in  Career Services  in March 2016.  She has  coordinated many school events to help students prepare for interviews, internships and future job opportunities.

During her presentation, Heimbach  informed us  of the many services that  Career Services offers such as: constructing mock interviews, job and internship searches, and resume and cover letter reviewing. Utilizing these resources  at  Texas State can  help  students further their knowledge  on how to prepare  for  the future. Career services’ main goal is to help any student who feels unsure about their future and is seeking help on how to improve their professional image as a current student.

Heimbach highlighted  that a networking opportunity can  arise at any moment throughout your life . Whether it’s in the classroom, in a student organization or any  social function. You never  know which connection can make a difference and provide you with an opportunity  for your future.

Networking gives you a chance to market yourself and create a mutually beneficial relationship with whomever you create a connection with.You can network with anyone. It could be a family friend, a classmate, a professor or someone  that you meet at a social or professional event. Heimbach  provided a couple of organizations where  you can sign up and get involved with others who want to network ,  such as the Network After Work and the Austin Young Chamber.

Heimbach emphasized that preparing for a networking event can be simple if you take the right steps.

  1. Do your research  to find out what  companies will be there, which ones you are interested in and what they are currently involved with. This will help you to have conversation topics that others will be interested in.
  2. Tell people the different extracurricular activities that you’re involved in. Most people can connect with you if you tell them something that they might have in common with you.
  3. Practice your elevator speech. This is just a quick introduction of who you are , what skills you can offer and what you’re interested in doing for the future.
  4. Bring your business cards for your connections to have your information.

It’s also difficult  deciding what to wear when going to a networking event. Deciding if your outfit is or isn’t business casual is one of the biggest dilemmas that students have. . Heimbach emphasized that it’s important to look professional, but also be comfortable. For women you should have a pair of cropped slacks or dark jeans. You can pair that with a nice top and/or a blazer. For men, wearing suit pants with a nice dress shoe always looks great. The key is to not over dress. Mix professional pieces with casual ones.

Another  tip that Heimbach gave was to carry around a “padfolio” with you to any interview or networking event. They’re  compact leather folders that can hold business cards, resumes and other important documents that you want to save.

There are also many social cues that  you don’t notice  that you are doing that our potential connection does notice. This happens when  you fidget , constantly push your hair behind your ear,  avoiding  eye contact, having your arms crossed  or  having a weak handshake. Be mindful of these cues so that you can have a great first impression.

Heimbach’s final tips were to always follow up with someone after meeting with them and to exchange business cards.  Make sure to  send a follow up email within 24 hours of meeting  a new connection saying what a  pleasure it was to meet them, and ask to set up a time to possibly get to know them better. Always find a way to stay connected with  your connections, because you may need some advice or help from them in the future.  It’s also a good idea to  arrange for  an informational interview with  your connection in order to  gain more perspective on how they developed their professional career and what tips they have for you to be successful in the future.

To connect further with Sam Heimbach you can email her at sheimbach@txstate.edu. For more information on  what resources Career Services offers,  check out their website here.

Social Media Do’s and Don’ts

By Nicole Cavender  | @nicavender122


In the world of public relations, social media has grown to become the most effective outlet for communication. If a company wants to promote a new item or service, they know the fastest way to relay information is through the use of social media. Employers have found that by scrolling through a prospect’s social media accounts, they can grasp an overall profile of said prospect. This rule of thumb does not only apply to the communications field, but employers do this in all fields and industries. Therefore, you must be strategic and cautious about your presence on social media despite the career you are pursuing. Finding a balance between your public and private life can be challenging, so we created a social media do’s and don’ts list for you.


  • Use correct punctuation, usage and grammar.
  • Mention the activities you are involved in on and off campus. 
  • Post photos of friends and/or colleagues that promote your social skills.
  • Promote businesses or products that you support.
  • Use hashtags that are relevant and trending.
  • Showcase projects that you created and/or assisted with. 
  • Post highlights of professional trips you ventured on.
  • Share academic information that relates to your industry.
  • Advertise an event in order to get the word out.
  • Promote awareness about a cause that you are passionate about.
  • Check for validity before retweeting or sharing on your accounts.
  • Tag appropriate accounts for increased engagement.


  • Post inappropriate photos with illegal drugs or any illegal activity. (If you are under the age of 21, don’t post photos of alcohol.)
  • Post photos of you making obscene gestures.
  • Overuse hashtags – 5 maximum. 
  • Use profanity excessively or at all.
  • Talk poorly about your job. You could potentially lose your job.
  • Complain about your boss or coworkers.
  • Complain constantly. This portrays a pessimistic person, and diminishes your chances of getting hired. 
  • Post while working, unless it is required for the job.
  • Cyberbullying is unacceptable, so don’t attack anyone on social media.
  • Reveal dates of a vacation. For precautionary reasons, revealing when and where you will be at any time can put yourself at risk.
  • Post ANY information you don’t want a stranger to know. Once you post, that information is out there forever. Even after you delete a post, someone may have taken a screenshot. 

Social media should never be the platform for an employee and employer to settle concerns or differences. It can easily get out of hand and backfire. An example of this, is when Talia Ben-Ora wrote an open letter to her boss, Yelp CEO and Co-Founder Jeremy Stoppelman. Ben-Ora, an employee for Yelp’s Eat24, voiced her concerns for not getting paid enough on Twitter initially, but then decided to post a nearly 2,500 word letter on Medium. Days later, Ben-Ora was released from her job at Eat24. Stoppelman responded to the accusations via Twitter: “3/5 I’ve not been personally involved in Talia being let go and it was not because she posted a Medium letter directed at me.” Moral of the story: Don’t complain about your job on social media. It can backfire. Read more about this story here.

You may think it’s a myth that employers look at your social media accounts, but we assure you it is not. If you are unsure about the content you are about to post, just ask a friend and always use discretion. Whether you are about to apply to a job or not, be sure to go through each of your accounts to filter out the bad stuff by keeping your dream job in mind. Your social media accounts should tell your unique story, so don’t let something such as profanity or obscenity be the cause of your unemployment.

Homeaway from Home

By Taylor Carfield

February 24, 2017


Adam Annen, Public Relations Manager of HomeAway was able to speak at our meeting, offering words of advice and wisdom.  Annen is a graduate of the University of Texas and got his start in public relations through the Oscar Mayer Weiner Mobile in a yearlong public relations tour around the country.  Annen is in his seventh year working for HomeAway and with such experience had a plethora of campaigns to share with us. HomeAway is a vacation home rental service, standing strong in the wake of Airbnb. Through HomeAway Annen has been able to aid in creating campaigns such as converting the Eiffel Tower into a vacation home for the first time in history.

Annen forged his way through many different experiences from starting out as a civil engineering major to finding his way in a double major in film and public relations. “Diversify your experiences,” is a major piece of advice Annen offered on how to be successful in the public relations profession, which is exactly what he did during his collegiate career. Annen interned for the University of Texas as well as participated in an organization that provided pro-bono public relations work for local businesses in the Austin area.

Adam Annen with Texas State PRSSA

Getting experience doesn’t have to be hard, you can take your passions and run with them. Annen encouraged all of us to find your interests and gain experience. If you’re interested in fashion, find a fashion blog and submit a draft to be featured. You could end up being published in a blog or at worst you would have a blog draft that you could include in your portfolio. It’s a win –win situation.

In-house public relations can seem like it would be boring, but there are so many teams and clients that I get to work with so things always remain interesting, said Annen.  Annen has always found himself busy and intrigued in his experience with in-house public relations. HomeAway is always coming up with out of the box ideas for campaigns such as finishing a replica of the car from, “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” and driving it around the country.

We know we’ve definitely been inspired about in-house public relations.

You can follow Adam on Twitter at @adamannen.

Not enough pies to go around…

J. Check – February 8, 2017 

At the end of any semester, it seems like there are a lot of numbers swimming around in our heads – how many days are left, how well we need to do on the final to make a desired grade in a class, what near-freezing or scorching temperature we need to be prepared for when we step outside, etc.

However, during the week of Dec. 5-9, 2016 – right before finals – there was only one set of numbers which mattered for PRSSA: tickets. As part of the “Pie the Professor” fundraiser, which culminated at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s Holiday Party, all kinds of people – students, custodians, professors and even some of the competitors themselves – divvied their tickets up to determine which two (un)lucky professors would get a nice pie right in the kisser. The four potential victims were Jon Zmikly, Harry Bowers, Paul Villagran and Charles “Chuck” Kaufman.

Whichever professor received the most tickets and whichever received the least would be the ones to get pied. That element of the event made it play out quite interestingly, since you wanted to end up in the middle, and as the week wore on, it made for some interesting changes in the way things unfolded.

So many within the SJMC excitedly talked up the event in the preceding days. Once the event began, the hype was met and quickly ramped up. Let’s see how the action and numbers broke down, day by day…

Day 1: Out of the gates

Although nothing too eventful happened on the first day, little donations here and there added up and showed how this three-day race would take shape. When it came to getting tickets, Bowers and Villagram were sinking to the bottom early on, separated by only four votes at the end of the first day.

Meanwhile, Kaufman and Zmikly were quick to rise toward the top, but it was ultimately Kaufman getting a significantly greater amount of love and/or hate (you really can’t pinpoint exactly why people would vote for them – it could even be a combination of both!) after one day, leading Zmikly by 16 votes.

Day 1 Count (and by default Cumulative Count):

  • Zmikly – 32
  • Bowers – 18
  • Villagram – 14
  • Kaufman – 48

Statistically, the second day of the event was the one which garnered the least tickets, but it was also the day where things really started to heat up. While PRSSA didn’t divulge any specific ticket counts, we did leave tickets in their respective buckets for the duration of the contest, so anyone who looked could tell roughly who was near the top and bottom.

Seeing Zmikly was his closest competitor, Kaufman sought to deal a heavy blow and try to push himself to the safety of the middle. These days though, it wouldn’t have been enough for him to simply make a big donation. He put it out there for the world to see in a Facebook Live video:

Kaufman had a significantly quieter day in terms of getting tickets Wednesday, so his 30-ticket donation vaulted Zmikly to a 12-ticket lead at the top. With knowledge of that, Zmikly tried to counter by pleading with his Fundamentals of Digital and Online Media (FDOM) classes, via the class’ Snapchat story, to vote for others instead of him.

Simultaneously, the race at the bottom had a big shake-up as an anonymous faculty member’s 30-ticket donation to Bowers put him not too far off of Zmikly and Kaufman, leaving Villagran stranded quite helplessly at the bottom. The drama was far from over, with just one…day…left…

Day 2 Count (Cumulative/Total Count in parentheses):

  • Zmikly – 36 (68)
  • Bowers – 34 (52)
  • Villagran – 4 (18)
  • Kaufman – 8 (56)

Day 3: Narrow margins

The final day had arrived. Simple eyeballing told Villagran at the start of the day his face was now at serious risk of getting pied later on. He went from asking people to vote for others the first two days to pleading for votes the last day. In reality though, he knew all along he’d eyeball the tickets late in the campaign and adjust his strategy accordingly, and it paid off as he received a whopping 81 tickets – the highest single-day, single-competitor haul of the event – to pull him closer to the rest of the pack.

Some interesting things happened less than an hour before shutting down the contest though. Our Membership Director Kate Jones, before heading off to her 12:30 p.m. class, wanted to see where the votes stood, so she counted the tickets up. Here’s where the 11th-hour tally left things:


Villagran’s final-day surge had done just enough to put him ahead by a hair at that moment. Zmikly was still sitting rather nervously on the hot seat for the most tickets…but then this happened:

Just as Kaufman had dealt a critical blow to him the day before, Zmikly had returned the favor, putting Kaufman ahead again by a few votes. I was incredibly giddy at this point, literally jumping up and down, but all I could say to everyone else was the race was “very, very interesting” at that moment. A few more votes trickled in as the clock wound down…and proverbially struck midnight (1 p.m.). The final results were…

Day 3 Count (Cumulative/Total Count in parentheses):

  • Zmikly – 40 (108)
  • Bowers – 21 (73)
  • Villagram – 81 (99)
  • Kaufman – 57 (113)

Party: Who’s the third pie for!?

After an hour of cheerful and pleasant socializing (and some last-minute banter between the four participants in the contest) at the SJMC Holiday Party, the moment had come. Three days of pleading, social media campaigning and stuffing tickets into competitors’ jars had led up to that one fateful moment. After it was announced Kaufman and Bowers would be the two (un)lucky professors, Villagram and Zmikly gave each other a relieved high-five, so much had the passion and drama behind the event grown in just a few short days.

The pies and makeshift bibs were brought to the lobby of Old Main for the moment we had all been waiting for. The first person to be pied would be Charles, “Chuck” Kaufman, and after a brief bidding process, our PR Director Danielle Martinez won the right to do the honors.

Next was Harry Bowers, who donned his trash bag bib and stared destiny (and soon a pie) in the face. After another bidding process, the right to pie him went to our Membership Director Kate Jones, who gleefully smacked the pie in his face and rubbed it in for good measure.

Mysteriously, a third pie had been prepared…and it was intended for none other than our President Kristen Torrez. One final bidding process gave her dear friend (no word on if the pie-ing has affected their bond) Savannah Stockton the tremendous honor of satisfyingly slamming that third pie right in her face, bringing the event to a conclusion.

Additionally, some aftershocks saw Zmikly targeted for leftover pie-ing, and A.J. Arreguin as well as our Secretary Kris Bushong fell victim to such a fate.

While the event was, at the end of the day, a fundraiser for our chapter, by the end of it all, it had definitely been quite a ­fun­-raiser as well…and plans are already in place to make it just as exciting, bigger and better next year.


Here’s a full graphical and numerical breakdown of how the contest went day-to-day as well as cumulatively.



For additional reaction and coverage from the event, check out Texas State PRSSA’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. The SJMC Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages also provided additional coverage.

How PRSSA has helped me grow

By: Vanessa Mora

You’d be foolish to not join an organization related to your major while in college.

For me, that organization was (and is) PRSSA and, in retrospect, I could not be more thankful that I made the decision to join.

Two semesters can make all the difference.

 Relatively speaking, I have only been in PRSSA for a short amount of time; two semesters, going on three. However, since being a part of this incredible organization, I feel as though I’ve gained much more than two semesters worth of experiences.

Here’s to internships, New York and friends.

One of the major benefits of this organization is that our chapter meetings consist of a variety of guest speakers from the mass communications field. It was this benefit which made the opportunity to land my first internship with POM PR more tangible.

Being part of PRSSA also opened me up to other organizations. Bobcat Promotions to be specific – with whom PRSSA partnered in organizing visits to PR firms in New York! So, not only was I able to visit New York City, but I was also able to see six firms first hand. This was worlds better than just scrolling through the firms’ webpages.

PRSSA acquainted me with some amazing people. People that were just as driven as I was and on the same professional path. These acquaintances quickly became close friends, which was something especially meaningful to me being that I had transferred to Texas State as a junior. Had I never joined PRSSA I would not have met those I am in daily contact with nor would I have had the experiences which are shaping my future.

Since being in PRSSA, I am prepared as well as excited for my future.

How To Brand Yourself with Aubri Nowowiejski

By Kaley Consford 

An important aspect of public relations is having your own personal brand that helps you stand out as an individual. At this week’s Texas State PRSSA meeting, previous PRSSA President and founder of the Student Event Planners Association (SEPA), Aubri Nowowiejski, spoke to our chapter about how to personally brand yourself and why having your own personal brand is a great advantage in the job market.

Photo taken at beginning of meeting with Kristen, our chapter president, introducing our guest speaker, Aubri Nowowiejski. 

Nowowiejski has been extremely successful in her career by efficiently executing her personal brand. Not only did she finish college in three years, but she was also able to climb the corporate ladder within five years. She is now an influencer who speaks nationwide on how to be a successful event planner.

Aubri Nowowiejski, Founder of SEPA and former Texas State PRSSA President speaking to our chapter. 

The presentation was prefaced with asking us to “challenge our thoughts and change our world.” Nowowiejski made it clear that changing your outlook on learning will greatly affect how your professional and individual growth. It is important to change your perspective. Instead of stating, “I already know this. This is not applicable to me.” We need to ask, “What could I learn from this?” and “How could this work for me?.”

Nowowiejski’s gave us her definition of what personal branding means. In her own words: personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands through self-packaging.

Your personal brand is how you walk, talk, what your wear and how you present yourself to the world. Nowowiejski made it clear that

“ We are all walking, talking, living, breathing billboards.”

Your personal branding is done through self-packaging your assets, and the best way to package yourself is to be well-rounded.

When explaining how to identify your unique brand, Nowowiejski emphasized that your brand is created by the perception of others. She challenged everyone to consider the following questions when establishing what your personal brand is:

  1. What do I want people to think about when they think about me?
  2. How would I like for people to describe me?
  3. What would I like for people to associate me with?

The questions above are meant to implement your thoughts into how you want people to perceive you, in order for it to be beneficial for your future career. After evaluating the answer to each question, Nowowiejski further challenged everyone to answer three more questions about themselves:

  1. What do people think about when they think about me?
  2. How would people describe me?
  3. What do people associate me with?

These questions are important to further our self-assessment. Nowowiejski explained that asking ourselves these questions allows us to determine where we want to be in the future and if we are in going in the right direction to get there.


Throughout the process of establishing your personal brand, there are many important points to keep in mind that will help you stay self-motivated. Nowowiejski reminded everyone that your brand would constantly evolve throughout your life, so it’s important to be comfortable with reinventing yourself to realign with your personal brand.

She also made it clear that there is no right or right wrong way to brand yourself. The most important thing to remember when creating your personal brand is to always be unapologetically authentic. A big part of being authentic is to be aware of your “influencers.” Do the people you associate yourself with inspire you to be better? Are they people you aspire to be someday? These are questions you need to ask yourself in order to further authenticate your personal brand and the person you would like to become.

Nowowiejski then summarized how to prioritize your personal branding and what steps you can take – right now – to improve it. She encouraged everyone to ask themselves “What are you doing currently to brand yourself?” and then to challenge that question by asking “What should you be doing to brand yourself?.”

Without even knowing it you have created a personal goals by simply asking yourself those couple of questions. Once you have identified your goals, you can figure out how to further evolve your brand. The following are tips she shared on how to get started on improving your brand:

  1. Stop using your school email address
  2. Invest in business cards
  3. Update email signature
  4. Link to a resource for additional info
  5. Research and share relevant content

Nowowiejski wrapped up her presentation by encouraging and inspiring everyone to become “the CEO of your own life.”

“Turn your elevator speech into your mission statement. By doing this you allow yourself to talk about your passion and about how you are going to achieve that passion.”

Left to right: Alana Zamora, Kristen Torrez, Kate Jones, Aubri Nowowiejski, Kris Bushong and Danielle Martinez.

Lastly, she preached on how important it is to invest in yourself, “If you don’t invest in you, no one else will.”

Thank you to Aubri Nowowiejski for taking the time to share your personal branding wisdom with the Texas State PRSSA Chapter, it was truly an honor.

To connect with Aubri find her on LinkedIn or visit her website.

We hope to see you at our TXST PRSSA Thanksgiving Potluck this Sunday. For more information visit our Facebook Event and to sign up for a dish visit our shared sign up sheet.