Students at The University of Alabama representing Capstone Agency, Platform Magazine and the advertising and public relations master’s program had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with a dozen members of the Plank Board of Advisors at this year’s Professional Roundtable event on Saturday, Feb. 9.
This annual event, hosted by the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, is organized by advertising and public relations students and designed to offer a unique opportunity for students to take part in conversations related to current trends and issues in the field of public relations with some of the world’s leading communicators and PR practitioners.
Prior to the day of the event, student organizers polled attendees to determine the topic of conversation for three breakout sessions, which kicked off this year’s roundtable.
Each breakout session consisted of a student-led discussion centered on one of three topics: transparency versus protection; technological developments and implementations; and diversity and inclusion in public relations.
“We chose to include breakout sessions in this year’s roundtable because we feel they lead to truly in-depth discussions,” said Derek Hooper, an APR graduate student and event organizer. “These conversations go beyond small talk and allow students to dive deep and pick the brains of members of our robust, ever-expanding professional network.”
After wrapping up the breakout sessions, leaders from each group shared some of the key takeaways and insights from their respective discussions:
Next, roundtable attendees participated in a rapid-fire Q&A session focused on preparing for entry-level jobs in public relations. Students’ questions ranged from the necessity for narrowly-tailored cover letters and curating your LinkedIn profile to finding a place to work where you feel connected and expressing why you’re a good fit.
Each member of the Plank Board was able to share their wisdom and experience with the group, but the clear emphasis of the event was on the betterment of students, who made the event a success.
“All of the awards and artifacts related to the Plank Center and Betsy Plank used to be contained in one display case,” said Board of Advisors Chair Keith Burton. “But now, the Plank Center has such an enormous impact on the University, and it’s so encouraging to see the students here on a Saturday morning, honoring Betsy’s legacy and contributing so much to the profession.”
About the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations: The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations is the leading international resource for practitioners, educators and students who are passionate about advancing their careers and the public relations profession. Led by a national advisory board of leading educators and practitioners, the Center develops and recognizes outstanding diverse public relations leaders, role models and mentors to advance ethical public relations in an evolving, global society. Founded in 2005, the Center is named after Betsy Plank, the first lady of PR. Betsy’s legacy and vision continues on in the Center’s programs and initiatives to advance the profession and public relations education. For more information, please visit www.plankcenter.ua.edu.