It is quite mystifying to think what life would be like if I hadn’t signed on that dotted line back in May of 2005.
I could have easily skipped my university’s first PRSSA meeting to do a number of things — intramurals with friends, hit the books to better understand the differences between minocyclines and tetracyclines or maybe update my profile on this new site called thefacebook.com.
Luckily for me, I went to that meeting and established my membership, which is now approaching seven years as a PRSA/PRSSA member.
PRSSA provided me with ample opportunities to establish my confidence as a leader within my Chapter and later, on a larger scale, as a National Committee member. It also provided me the opportunity to meet my eventual employer at the PRSSA National Conference in Philadelphia.
Once a graduate, I didn’t hesitate signing on that dotted line once more to establish my membership — this time as a PRSA member — and opportunities have continued to emerge. As a young professional in my PRSA Chapter, my membership has meant a few things to me.
PRSA served as my welcoming committee to my new life in a new city and continues to be my primary means of face-to-face networking. My membership also means opportunities to develop my reputation and thought-leadership within the Charlotte marketing/public relations community. Finally, PRSA enables me to carry on my personal brand and passion for working with college students and other young public relations professionals as a mentor.
This year, I am looking forward to leveraging my position on the Charlotte PRSA Board of Directors to connect with college students in the classroom, on the editorials pages of PRSSA FORUM and at the upcoming PRSSA National Assembly, which will be held in Charlotte this March.
Also, as a committee leader for our Chapter’s Young Professionals group, I will continually have access to new professionals looking to make their mark in the industry at monthly luncheons and social events. In some cases, these relationships have become mutually beneficial to my agency, as I help manage Taylor’s internship program in Charlotte.
Lastly, as I’m gearing up to earn my APR in the next few years, I’ve penciled in two free training webinars: Write for Readability on March 29 and How to Develop the Mindset of a Strategist on May 10.
To me, PRSA membership benefits extend far beyond what is advertised. It’s simply a matter of discovering what this Society can offer to make you better at what you do.
Ryan McShane is an account executive at Taylor, and works from the agency’s Charlotte office. He currently serves on the PRSA Charlotte Chapter’s Board of Directors and was named Young Professional of the Year by the Chapter in 2010. While a student at Arkansas Tech University, he was appointed to the PRSSA National Committee as FORUM Editor-in-Chief (2007-08). His blog, ryanmcshane.com, is dedicated to public relations students and young professionals.