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2018 Career Panel Recap

By: Michael Mezich, USF PRSSA President

On January 23, PRSA Tampa Bay met at BRIO Tuscan Grille for a panel on career-building in PR and Communications. The panelists were Crystal Lauderdale, director of Content Strategy at Alvarez & Marsal; Katy Parsons, APR, senior account executive at ChappellRoberts; and Paula MacDonald, APR, owner at Image Suite PR/HEROIC Integrated Communications, along with moderator Kirk Hazlett.

Hazlett began by pointing out that there are a myriad of paths for our careers to follow and asked the panelists to share where their careers had taken them and what they had learned.

Lauderdale went from journalism to communications jobs at a variety of places, including start-ups, Florida Polytechnic University, and Alvarez & Marsal, where she currently works.

“I realized that my love of storytelling could be expanded beyond the field of journalism,” said Lauderdale. “By keeping an open mind about how I could work in jobs that involved my interests, I have been fortunate to have enjoyed working for a variety of employers.”

Parsons has spent her entire career at the same agency, ChappellRoberts. During that time, she has watched the agency grow and evolve into something completely different from the agency that which she first started. At ChappellRoberts, Parsons experiences a different work day every day, and works in a culture that accepts failure. This is important because, for Parsons, the biggest learning moments come from failure.

MacDonald is currently working as a sole practitioner, an opportunity that came available after being laid off. She has learned that working for your own business can come with benefits such as schedule flexibility, but skills like self-motivation and self-discipline are key. Most importantly, Paula has learned that as a sole practitioner, it is important to play to your strengths and be able to reach out to others who can help cover your weaknesses.

Another tip shared to build your career was the importance of having your APR.

“Since receiving my APR, I have never looked at projects the same way again,” said Parsons.

In addition, the importance of having a mentor and using social media were noted for being very beneficial for growing your career and networking.  

 “Even if you don’t like social media, use it,”  said Lauderdale. “I have received two jobs from using LinkedIn.”

Lauderdale advised others to treat personal social media accounts like business accounts. Use them regularly and think about your own brand that you’re creating.

Join us for our next event, Building Trust Inside-Out: How Internal Communications Can Build Morale, Productivity and Brand Advocacy, on February 13 at Brio Tuscan Grille.

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