Leadership & PR: How my worlds collide

From an early age, I knew that I wanted to be a leader. And no, a leader isn't born— you have to actively pursue leadership.

I became the president of Indian Hollow Elementary School at the ripe age of ten and I never looked back. From that moment on, I held many leadership positions in student government, sports, classes and just in my daily life.

Leadership is important to me because I care about others and leading positive change. It's more than a title, it's being a good listener and facilitator that inspires others. I try to live my life through this.

In comes public relations. I knew I wanted to write, work with others, be creative and make an impact, but it took a few high school internship experiences before I found public relations. After I discovered the PR field, I began looking at colleges differently.

I started to evaluate schools on the basis of their programs and professional opportunities, and when using the search terms "JMU" and "PR," it didn't take long to stumble across the JMU chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America.

At this point, JMU PRSSA was establishing itself as a formidable chapter, winning its second Star Chapter distinction in a row. Being the planner and over-analyzer that I am, I reached out to Dr. Eric Fife, director of the School of Communication Studies, to ask him more about the program.

The next time I visited campus, I met with Dr. Fife to talk about what the SCOM department could offer me, and the conversation naturally led to PRSSA. Needless to say, I chose JMU. And with that, I also chose JMU PRSSA.

When I joined PRSSA during the first month of college, I knew that I was in the right place. Everyone in the organization was driven and passionate about their future in public relations.

I saw, then, that my leadership skills and passion for PR were on a collision course.

Now, I serve as the president for the JMU chapter of the PRSSA. As president, I get to help lead other future professionals into the rest of their lives by providing speakers, workshops and other networking opportunities that could launch their careers.

After being involved in the organization for three years, taking a leadership role and rising to president, I realize now that I'm right where I'm supposed to be. My life as a leader thus far has prepared me for this very moment.

I am a leader. I am a future public relations practitioner. Those aren't mutually-exclusive titles.

If there's anything I've learned about leadership, is that it comes in all shapes and sizes. Even though I'm a student, just starting out in the industry, I vow to be a leader for the rest of my life


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