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You Make it #Real – Thank you PRSA MD Volunteers

PRSA Maryland is fueled by members who give time to create programs and connect members. From our Board to committees to one-time and short gigs, member volunteers put on

  • Monthly events (check out April 23 WBAL-TV event)
  • Coffee Withs
  • APR Prep
  • Mentoring
  • Student Outreach
  • 1-day Signature Conference (Coming July 18)
  • Best In Maryland Awards & Gala (entries due in August, party in December)
  • And more.

So a special Thank you to our 2019 Volunteers – Lisa Coster, Kenneth R. Smith, APR, Christine Pieri Barnhart, M.S., APR, Claudia Ciolfi, Courtney Benhoff, Jeffrey Davis, Emily McDermott, Dianna Fornaro, M.A., APR, Debra Schindler, Lauren Walbert, Phillip Alonzo Yerby, Cathy Nyce, Laurie Farrell, David Harrison, Steph Vander Veen, MS, Angie Hamlet, Jessie Krebs, Tia Malloy, Lindsay McFarland, Danielle Minor, Erika Murray, Danita Terry, Adam Yosim!

And let us not forget all our past volunteers who have helped shape the Chapter into what it is today! We’re better because of you!

NVW volunteering

PRSA Maryland Member Spotlight: Lauren Walbert

This month, we talked to Maryland Chapter member Lauren Walbert. Lauren is Vice President of Sandy Hillman Communications, and has been an active volunteer serving on the PRSA Maryland Board of Directors since 2017.

How long have you been a member of PRSA and why did you join? I joined in 2015 at the urging of co-worker Dave Curley, who was tasked on asking me by past president Claudie Ciolfi. I had been considering joining a professonal group since I moved to Baltimore eight years ago. I joined because PRSA offers growth opportunities, events, and a community to meet other practitioners.

I was not a PRSSA member because my college, La Salle University (Phila.) didn’t have a chapter.  So, I started a PR club as a student. The club helped other LaSalle clubs or groups promote their events. 

 

What do you enjoy most about being a board member and volunteering? Being involved with a group opens me up to new world of colleagues who are also working in the field, providing a broader sense of the community in Baltimore and Maryland.

What is your current position at Hillman? I am a vice president of the lifestyle division, representing our consuming-facing clients. A sampling of our client list includes Diamond Resorts (a timeshare company with properties all over the world) and United Way of Central Maryland.

What do you love most about the PR field? I enjoy a little bit of everything and that I can place great stories in coveted outlets. I get to play a consultant role on different issues, coordinate events, write, and travel a little.  I do it all because Sandy Hillman Communications is a smaller company.

How do you define success? Overall, success is to be happy. On a professional level, making clients happy means placing the big story or orchestrating the big opening and securing the right media. Happiness is about making sure you can do it all while making time for other things in life, too.

Who inspires you? Our owner Sandy Hillman is my professional inspiration.  She’s done so many incredible things and has taught me about being a professional in Baltimore and about life.

Personally, my twin four-year-old daughters are my inspiration. Children have a different perspective on the world and life. They often make me stop and think about what’s important and re-prioritize.

What’s one thing – either industry-related or not – you learned in the last month? I just listened to an interesting podcast called WorkLife with Adam Grant. The episode was about personality and explored what being an introvert or an extrovert could mean for your work life. As it turns out, there are many levels of being introverted and extroverted, and everyone draws energy from the people around them (even introverts!) And, there are ways to stretch beyond your innate personality traits. If you’re interested, listen here.

What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know? I’m really into yoga and I practice Ashtanga, a modern arm of classical yoga. It is supposed to be done at dawn, so I try to get to the gym every morning. But, since the class starts at 6:00 a.m., I don’t always make it.

What’s the last book you read? A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne which has a current event link to the author A.J. Finn, a.k.a. Dan Mallory. The book was lyrical, interesting and had great character development.  Currently, I am reading the murder mystery about the “Golden State Killer” entitled, I’ll be Gone in the Dark, by Michelle McNamara with an introduction by Gillian Flynn (who wrote Gone Girl).

Where did you grow up and where would you like to retire? I grew up in South Jersey outside Atlantic City. Where to retire?  I have no idea, but I think near the water.

If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Tacos!

Connect with Lauren via LinkedIn or by Email

 

Volunteering for your association has benefits

By Peggy Hoffman, FASAE, CAE

“I’ve got a full plate. I don’t know if I’ll be available for those meetings. I just can’t commit right now.”

I’ve said that in response to an invitation to volunteer. Now, I don’t. Instead I ask will the volunteer opportunity help me meet my personal and business goals? Volunteering isn’t simply a time commitment, it’s a key. A key to unlocking a door to career development and advancement, health and wellness, and to meeting business goals.

Volunteering …

  • Helps you acquire new skills.
  • Hone current skills – skills-based volunteering (Experteering is the word MovingWorlds uses) offers an opportunity to build leadership skills as you apply your skills to new environment. Strong leaders can think quickly and adapt to new situations.
  • Builds your network – contacts and references.
  • Demonstrates an energy and interest is learning.

Those four benefits translate to job advancement. As The Wall Street Journal wrote: “According to the survey of 202 human-resource executives, skilled volunteer work — such as helping a nonprofit with its finances — makes job applicants look more appealing to hiring manager.”

 

“Talent, not capital, will be the key factor linking innovation, competitiveness and growth in the 21st century.” – World Economic Forum

 

Not currently employed or looking for something new? Consider these stats.

  • The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) study, Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment, research found that volunteers have a 27 percent higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers. “Service can increase a person’s professional contacts, skills and experience — all factors positively related to finding work.”
  • A LinkedIn survey reports that volunteer experience can give job candidates an edge with hiring managers: 41% consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid work experience of the professionals surveyed and 20% made a hiring decision based on a candidate’s volunteer work experience. Not sure where to put volunteering on your profile, check out Add Volunteer Work to Your LinkedIn Profile.

How about the physical and mental benefits? Volunteering lowers stress (and who doesn’t have stress these days) and, because it allows us to build relationships, boosts happiness. Read more on the evidence about these benefits at 15 Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering that will Inspire You and Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits.

It’s important, of course, to pick the right the opportunity for the pay-offs. Often, if your motivation is professional development or business goals, you can find the right opportunity in your professional or trade association. Chapters, Communities of Practice, committees and task forces in associations are great places to hone skills and gain leadership experience.

PRSA Maryland has many opportunities available from on-site, couple of hours jobs to short-term like setting up a series of Coffee Withs to committees. Click here to learn more.

So, do your homework. Get a clear picture of the opportunity from schedules to responsibilities to what done looks like, and have a frank conversation about your interests, skills and time to make sure the job fits. Where will you start?

Take PR leadership skills to next level

Leadership training. Building your network. Boosting professional skills. Having fun.

These are promises we will deliver on when you say “Yes!” to volunteering for PRSA Maryland. Just ask any of our current Board members and they will share with you outcomes like developing skills leading to promotion, new positions, new clients, new friends and fun.
 
We’re forming the 2019 Board and committees and so we’d love to hear from you. Positions currently open:

  • President – guide the board in serving members’ needs
  • Secretary – officer position to assist in leading the board
  • Membership Chair – welcome new members, meet other PR pros
  • Communications Chair – guide the chapter’s communications and marketing
  • Conference Chair – guide the planning and hosting of the Maryland PR Conference
  • Mentoring Chair – guide the chapter’s mentoring program
  • New Professional Chair – guide the planning and activities to meet new professional’s needs
  • Volunteer Coordinator – connect members to chapter volunteering & engagement
  • And seats on all committees including Best In Maryland, Mentoring, and APR

Plus, we’ve have openings for blog writers, social media posters, program hosts, Coffee With hosts, awards judges, PR writers and more.
 
Let us know you are interested by completing this quick survey or send us email right now at info@prsamd.org
 
If now isn’t the right time for you, we are always interested – just let us know what you’d like to do and when you are available – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PRSAMDGetInvolved.

Meet New Member Morgan Randall

As a communications coordinator with the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, Morgan Randall contributes to numerous tactics and strategies on behalf of her school. Some of her tasks include providing content for the Arts & Sciences magazine that is put out twice a year, managing a monthly e-bulletin that gets sent out to faculty and staff, making necessary edits to department websites, and completing billing for departments requesting photography services through Homewood Photography. She also supports the Director of Communications and team with various projects.

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Currently resides: Baltimore, MD

Education:

Randall earned an M.A. in Contemporary Communications from Notre Dame of Maryland University.

Why did you choose a career in Communications/PR?

I’ve always enjoyed writing and storytelling, so I decided to explore the Communications field since there are so many areas within it that are relevant to that passion.

How did you get into your current position?

During my last job search, I reconnected with a supervisor (from when I was a college intern) and she informed me of a job opening in her department that was exactly what I was looking for at the time.

How do you stay on top of industry related news/trends?

Websites like Forbes and PR Newswire are useful in regards to staying informed, along with speaking/meeting with people who do similar work at Hopkins.

How has being a PRSA member benefited you?

PRSA has provided me with resources like Webinars and information about conferences (which are discounted) as well as ways to network with others in the field on a local level through the Maryland Chapter.

Who is your role model and why?

Besides my mother, who is outgoing and a great problem-solver, Damon Dominique and Jo Franco (it’s hard to name one without the other) are my biggest role models right now. On YouTube, they are simply known as Damon and Jo and they travel around the world, exploring different cultures and learning new languages along the way. Their videos show that you can truly be a world traveler on a budget, meet people abroad, and experience the charming nature of a city like a local. They’ve also taught me not to let material things or just being too comfortable in a situation hold me back from pursing my passions (they move a lot so they have to be minimalist to an extent).

A career in Communications/PR can be stressful at times. What do you do to relax?

Hot yoga is the best way to clear my mind and just focus on my body.

What are your passions/interests/hobbies?

Reading, writing, photography, and researching historical events through primary sources (like archives.gov), documentaries, etc.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

Sometimes I do writing exercises where I write from the perspective of a stranger (while on the metro, at the park, etc.) and just imagine what their internal monologue might be like or how they live their life based on what I see in that moment.

Best piece of advice received:

Not to let fear govern your decisions.

Connect with Morgan:

Email –morgan.g.randall@gmail.com

Meet New Member Nick Cavey

As Director of Communication, Nick Cavey is in charge of the MD Department of General Services (DGSE) social media pages, the DGSE website newsroom, and communications with the governor’s press office. Nick also handles media inquiries and Public Information Act requests and helps coordinate outside events and inter-office communication with other teams in the department.

Nick joined PRSA Maryland in January. Be sure to welcome him to our chapter at that next event or via LinkedIn!

Hometown: Hampstead, Maryland

Currently Reside: Hampstead, Maryland

Education: Nick earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from West Virginia Wesleyan.

Why did you choose a career in Communications/PR? How did you get into your current job?

[At Wesleyan] I was actually highly involved in the radio station and spent my senior year as general manger of the station. And I thought, hey, how cool would it be to work at a radio station? And then I realized it was extremely difficult to actually work in radio.

 

I got a job with the state and was over at the Maryland Insurance Administration as the assistant director of government relations. While I was working there I liked the communication aspect of it, going out and talking to people, the inter-office communication, planning events, and everything like that. After a while I decided to switch lanes and got into the director of communication position here.

How has being a PRSA member benefited you?

It’s been a busy year so far, so I haven’t been able to get to any events. But I have been able to go on the website and watch a couple of webinars, which are really helpful. One of the big things that we’ve been trying to do this year is increase our followers on Facebook and our LinkedIn account. There’s a bunch of different social media webinars out there and a lot of them have been very helpful.

How do you stay on top of industry-related news and trends?

Typically our audience and our major customers are other state agencies. We don’t typically deal with the public a lot. Usually when searching news articles every morning I’ll go through a couple of the major papers around here and I’ll look at a dozen other smaller papers from counties. I just go through the front pages first to see if there are any front page stories that involve DGSE or could potentially involved DGSE, and I keep an eye out for other things for other state agencies. If there’s something there I can always send it over to my counterpart at another agency, but they all do the same thing as well. So you get to know the other communication directors and we all try to help each other out.

A career in communications/PR can be stressful at times. What do you do to relax?

Especially working in a state agency, we’re always working. Just because it’s five o’clock doesn’t mean we set the phone down. If there’s something going on I can be called at 10:00 and have a conversation about whatever is happening. Yeah, that can be stressful at times. But I think the best way to relax, personally, is to go home and enjoy my family and have a nice dinner; cook dinner and sit and watch TV.

What are your passions/interests/hobbies?

I’m a very big movie buff, usually watching movies, TV shows, and everything like that. Currently—and I know I’m behind on the times—but I’m finally getting a chance to watch Game of Thrones. My friends have been telling me for years, “hey, you need to watch this!” And I finally gave in and gave it a shot and it’s been pretty good.

Best piece of advice received:

Try your hardest, because if you don’t try hard you might as well not try at all. I’m not going to get anywhere just going in and doing the bare minimum. Being like that, you’re not going to stand out. If you want to succeed, move up, you’ve got a short one here, so be willing to put the work in.

Connect with Nick on LinkedIn

Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors

Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors