Here’s one way you can support PR students during the pandemic

When I was a PR student, I always valued conversations with PR professionals. Their insights and advice helped me navigate the beginnings of my communications career.

During my first internship at CarMax, I remember Trina Lee, APR telling me about her career switch from TV news to public relations as we drove back from a store grand opening in Fredericksburg. When I attended VCU PRSSA meetings, Taya Jarman, APR visited often as PRSA Richmond’s student relations chair and offered important guidance and luncheon networking tips. At my first Student Connections Week, Bob Spieldenner – then at Virginia Department of Emergency Management – let me shadow him for a day as his team met about hurricane preparedness.

These experiences helped me realize all the opportunities a career in public relations could bring. I’m so grateful for the time and wisdom these people (and many more) shared with me.

Virginia’s colleges and universities are home to some amazing PRSSA chapters. But as institutions adjust learning plans and implement social distancing precautions because of COVID-19, PRSSA chapters today are more limited in their ability to find speakers and opportunities to engage members.

That’s where you come in.

The Richmond Public Relations Foundation and PRSA Richmond are organizing a network of professionals willing to connect with PRSSA chapters via webcam. I hope you’ll consider signing up.

We need everyone to raise their hands to participate. Register here.

It’s important that the speaker’s bureau includes Black, Latinx and Indigenous speakers. It’s necessary that students of color see themselves reflected in the speaker’s bureau. If you are a BIPOC communications professional and have the time and capacity, I hope you’ll consider submitting your information.

It should take less than 10 minutes to fill out the questionnaire. We’ll send your answers and contact info to local PRSSA chapters. Student leaders will reach out to you directly to coordinate virtual events.

You never know how a story or anecdote you share could inspire a young professional’s career. If you have any questions, please reach out to me at [email protected].

And, here’s one more way you can help: Donate! I currently serve as the Foundation’s president. We’re giving out three $1,500 scholarships later this year to students at Virginia colleges and universities. Your tax-deductible donation supports our scholarship program.

(Fun fact: there are four former/current Hodges interns in the featured photo on this post)

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Cameron McPherson

Cameron builds strategic communication campaigns that increase awareness and build public support. His familiarity with Virginia’s local markets helps clients navigate and understand complex and emerging issues. He frequently assists new companies, restaurants and other organizations launch in the Richmond market through public relations tactics.

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