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Eclipsing Borders, Breaking Barriers, Building Careers: Lessons from PR Leaders

Kathryn H. Beiser, Keith Burton and Bill Heyman are presenting “Eclipsing Borders, Breaking Barriers, Building Careers: Lessons From Leaders,” along with Gary McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA at the PRSA 2014 International Conference on Sunday, Oct. 12, from 4:45–6 p.m. The following is a guest post previewing their session.

Editor’s Note: Kathryn H. Beiser, Keith Burton and Bill Heyman are presenting “Eclipsing Borders, Breaking Barriers, Building Careers: Lessons From Leaders,” along with Gary McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA at the PRSA 2014 International Conference on Sunday, Oct. 12, from 4:45–6 p.m. The following is a guest post previewing their session.

2014 PRSA International PR Conference banner

Every graduating college student faces the same paradigm – finding their first job and starting their career. And it’s growing more challenging by the year, with studies showing only 21 percent of all PR graduates finding a job in our profession.  Every spring brings a fresh supply of articles, tips and trends to help these new professionals. But what happens five, 10 or even 20 years later when these same professionals are looking to advance their career, change jobs or even learn new skills?

Information abounds on what employers are looking for in a new graduate; the skills and requirements seem almost standard in many cases. But where is the information on how you enter the middle management structure, the C-suite or even a different part of the industry? How do you begin again, if you’re faced with a mid-career change?  That’s left to the individual to network and educate themselves either through academic programs or good mentors. However, add a changing environment in the public relations field and even the best of us may be left guessing.

Today’s professional faces a marketplace that is redefining public relations as companies assess how they’ll handle citizen journalism, social media, a global marketplace, and the needs of a more diverse world. Agencies are redefining their service offerings and staffing models to meet client needs and the challenge of new competitors in the field. Corporations are grappling with issues associated with the continuum of change, the divide brought by growing generational differences in their workforce, a new globality, and moves designed to create cost efficiencies and new business synergies at the expense of corporate cultures and the company’s reputation with key publics. An important way in which they’ll address these changes is through the men and women they’ll hire in public relations.

In our session at PRSA International Conference, Eclipsing Borders, Breaking Barriers, Building Careers: Lessons from PR Leaders, three industry senior professionals will talk about how they built their careers, extended their business into global  markets, and counseled management through change and crises to help provide insight into how you can achieve your own success. From talking about today’s expectations in corporate and agency environments to identifying what business leaders are looking for in public relations leaders – you’ll learn that so much of what we define as success is based upon leadership.

For those who feel they haven’t been given the opportunity to advance in their careers, you need to be able to assess the factors that are restricting growth. Is it your management style? Your skill set? Your values and beliefs?  What type of person is being advanced in your company, and how do you align with the company’s values and management style?

It may be the intangibles that fuel the success of some professionals. While the writing skills and public relations acumen are important, these are “the price of admission” for everyone. In addition, it’s not just hard work or individual performance that helps one to bridge to the next level in their carrier. It may be your understanding of transitioning at the right time and place from being an individual contributor to becoming someone who can enhance and improve the team dynamics.

Many times, the assessment of the company’s management style will explain your lack of progress or promotion. You may have found yourself in the same situation as a recent graduate, when they take a job for the sake of having a job and forget to interview the company while it’s interviewing them. At that point, the only door of opportunity that may open is the one that leads you to look for a different company. Let’s hope you’ve kept up your network.

In every career, we all are faced with the need to find a new position or opportunity. If you’ve kept up with the changes in the industry, continued to identify and work with mentors, and continued to educate yourself and develop leadership skills, these transitions will be much easier. Many have done it and are willing to share their knowledge.

Join us at PRSA International Conference on Sunday, October 12, at 4:45 p.m. as three industry leaders share their knowledge with you on how you can build your career.

  • Kathryn H. Beiser, Executive Vice President, Corporate  Communications, Hilton Worldwide;
  • Keith Burton, Principal, Grayson Emmett Partners; and
  • Bill Heyman, Founder, President & CEO, Heyman Associates

Betsy Plank's advice on networking with PRSA

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