PRSSA Summit Notes and Take-Aways

The PRSSA Summit took place on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 in the Alabama Power building in downtown Birmingham. The summit was attended by students from universities across the Southeast. The summit focused on social media. While it was a good experience to hear some tips from current PR professionals, the summit made me feel that Samford has a superior program to many of those offered at the state schools represented. I found that, as a student of Samford’s JMC department, I had a much better grasp on current PR trends, practices and skills. Below are some of the major take-aways that I took from the experience. 


The introductory speaker gave some general pointers on how to use social media effectively. He suggests that you “cultivate the network that makes you smarter.” That is follow, and repost sources that contribute to your knowledge and interests. Pigott also believes that “social media is successful when it is driving customers to other platforms.” This means that social media should primarily serve as a connecting point to drive traffic further into your company. 

Pigott’s final statement is that “social media is the disruptive technology of today” and it should be used accordingly. 


 Scott Weasley suggested some PR blogs to follow and repost in order to improve your online rapport. His suggestions are listed below.

Industry blogs for PR:


Brandon Wilson lead a break out session on how to write a resume. His advice is listed below.

Writing a resume:


1. Use your resume real estate wisely

2. Be active on paper

3. Focus on impact, not just experience (employers are hiring accomplishments and achievements NOT your prior company)


1. Use overly clever email addresses

2. Include references

3. Lie or overstate accomplishments


The Keynote speaker, Julie Hood, was very insightful and presented several thoughts that were inspirational to me. 

She spoke on the characteristics of an effective and successful communications professional. Some of the main characteristics are listed below. 

A top communicator is:

  • An integrator
  • A systems designer
  • A master of analytics
  • A publisher and developer
  • A student of behavioral studies

Many of these characteristics highlight the importance of analytics, data and numbers. Hood said “the demands for data and metrics have never been higher.”

Another interesting topic that Hood discussed is the importance of internal communications. As a company, PR is usually focused on external communication, but Hood stressed the importance of internal communication to present a unified front to the public. She said that “the importance of internal communication of company values is clear communication of Values. This helps to manage global workforces making interaction with customers and service uniform.”