By Amanda Knaebel

As a commuter student, it is easy to get lost in the transitions of classes, work, internships and professional development that it can be easy to forget an essential part of PR – human camaraderie.

While attending a PRSSA National Conference is hands-down one of the most beneficial experiences in my professional development, the most valuable takeaway from the conference was bonding with the individuals whom I work with each day to bring programming to our members of PRSSA.

Much like the characters serving detention in “The Breakfast Club,” our executive board is filled with a wide range of personalities and diverse backgrounds. Over the course of our long weekend, I had the chance to gain a deeper appreciation of what makes up each of these members. Empathy is a key element in public relations and in order to gain empathy we must gain understanding – starting with those we work with.

At Nationals, I learned about global communications and found out about the experiences several of our members had abroad. I received tips about crisis communications while discovering how some of our own members had to overcome crises of their own. We heard from General Motors on corporate communications and we cheered on two of our members before their interviews with GM later that day. I was able to learn practical tips and advice while finding the human elements that apply to each scenario.

Finding my very own breakfast club in Nationals has given me even more stamina toward my primary goal as this year’s president of PRSSA – to create a community for our members, our chapter, and our school.

I look forward to continuing my work with our board as we create programming that helps members learn valuable skills in a way that engages and offers the ability to form peer mentors, friendships, and family.

This article was published in the Salute newsletter. Salute is the biannual newsletter that recaps the Chapter’s activities throughout the semester. To read the latest issue of Salute, click here.