Tell us about yourself.
I am a junior public relations major from Bartlett, Ill., a suburb of west Chicago. I transferred to Illinois State University this fall after receiving my associate degree from Elgin Community College. I chose to major in public relations based off of a recommendation from a career counselor. I realized public relations was the right choice for me when I began to learn about how the profession is both challenging and self-rewarding.
What do you hope to accomplish through your ISU Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America membership?
I decided to join ISU PRSSA in hopes of gaining experience in the public relations industry and broadening my awareness of the field. Being exposed to opportunities related to leadership, networking, fundraising, event planning, and agency tours will help me better understand the industry.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself with a successful career, loving marriage, and healthy family. I would love to move somewhere warm and be able to travel often. Ultimately, I wish to be happy.
What is your dream job?
I have been asking myself the same question for quite some time. I can see myself working at a public relations agency in a big city, but I have also always dreamed about moving to Hawaii and working for a corporate resort.
If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be?
I would choose Mahatma Gandhi because he has not only been an inspiration to me but also to people across the world for generations. I believe that his trust in non-violent actions to promote peace and independence ultimately was the encouragement for the non-violent civil rights movement here in the United States. I know that I could learn a lot about how to view and appreciate people, life, and freedom from meeting him.
Who else has inspired you?
My parents are my biggest inspiration. I cannot choose just one of them because they both have supported and guided me to become the person I am today. I admire the the motivational work ethic of my father, who has always emphasized the importance of believing in yourself and trying your best at everything you do, and the warm, nurturing heart of my mother. They both will always be my inspiration to succeed.
Questions composed by Deja Whitt
As Jessica Perri wraps up her final year at Illinois State University, she is gaining more exposure in the entertainment public relations industry, of which she hopes to be a part in the future. A previous internship sparked Perri’s passion for entertainment public relations, so she decided to pursue another opportunity within the industry. Perri serves as account executive for The Castle Theatre through PRogressive Image, the student-run firm of the ISU Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a senior public relations major at ISU. I am from Des Plaines, Ill., where I have lived my entire life. I transferred to ISU last year and immediately knew public relations was the correct major for me. ISU PRSSA was a perfect match for me outside of the classroom because I connected with everyone in the organization. Last year, I was the socials chair, and now I am beyond excited to be account executive for The Castle Theatre within PRi! When I am not at school, you can find me out with friends, laughing, singing, dancing or spending quality time with my family, including my adorable niece, Olivia!
Why did you want this account?
I was extremely passionate about this account because it has been my dream to integrate public relations with entertainment in my career. I have previous experience working for a PBS show, so I definitely wanted to get involved with the music industry. I knew I would gain great experience working with The Castle Theatre, and I would put my whole heart into it.
What have you learned so far as account executive?
As account executive, I have learned it is extremely important to be organized. Because I oversee the work done for this client, I always need to be prepared. The Castle Theatre has taught me what it takes to run a show at the venue. I’m learning what it is like behind the scenes at ‘Castle,’ and it has been fun! I am also learning what it takes to promote a show.
How will you use this experience in your future?
I definitely would like to get involved in the music or television (or both!) industries. This position has also taught me important qualities of being a leader.
Questions composed by Lynzee Glaser
On Dec. 16, Jeb Bush announced he was exploring the possibility of running for president of the United States in 2016. Bush made his announcement on Facebook and included details on how he was starting a leadership political action committee to raise funds. The announcement caught significant attention from members of the media who analyzed his announcement.
Bush has a reputation issue; when the average American hears the name Bush, he or she probably thinks of President George W. Bush. With the housing market crash and the negative opinions on the War on Terror, President Bush left the White House in 2008 with a low approval rating hovering around 30 percent. To have a successful shot at the White House in 2016, Bush needs to rebrand himself and pull away from his brother’s image.
The public may know of Bush because of his family’s role in politics, but this large recognition does not translate into a large following. Compared to tweets and statuses of other possible Republican nominees for 2016, Bush’s Facebook announcement received very little traffic. The status announcing his potential run for Republican nominee in 2016 has approximately 6,000 likes. It is estimated that if Hillary Clinton decides to run for president in 2016 and announce her decision on Facebook, she would put Bush’s social media performance to shame. Bush has approximately 120,000 likes on Facebook, while other potential republican nominees for president in 2016, such as Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, have millions. Bush’s Twitter following also trails behind potential republican candidates Paul, Cruz, and Chris Christie.
Bush’s challenge will be to generate more conversation about himself, but not conversation that links him to his brother. Bush will have to brand himself as different from his brother and show himself as a leader in the weeks to come by commenting on current events and political issues taking place in the country. If Bush can quickly build recognition by appearing on various news outlets, he may be able to build up his social media following. As the presidential race of 2016 nears, we will see various public relations strategies unfold among all the potential candidates, and we will see if Bush can overcome his challenges.
By Melaina Chromy
Glitz and glam filled the night as members of the Illinois State University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America enjoyed a “Great Gatsby” themed social Friday, Nov. 7. The 1920s-themed social included a roaring night of dancing and socializing, while members did not hold back when dressing for the occasion in feathers, sequins, and bowties.
Members entered the world of “Gatsby” with elements including streamers, sparkles, and music from the film. Members recognized the development committee for its hard work with decorations and party favors that were just as flashy and dazzling as the 1920s.
Attendees had a great time and enjoyed the themed social. According to Andrea Casali, sophomore and Humane Society of Central Illinois account executive, “It was fun to get all ‘gatsbied out’ and socialize with other members outside of weekly Chapter meetings. The development team did such a great job with the theme! Seeing everyone in feathers and sequins was the highlight of my weekend.”
This fall social was a fun way for members to network with each other and left many encouraged to attend future socials. The theme was a fun opportunity for members to dress up and get a little taste of the “Gatsby” lifestyle.
By Kelly Larson
Tell us about yourself.
I am a second semester junior and hold the position of relations manager for the Illinois State University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. I am pursuing a degree in public relations with a minor in Spanish. When I am not busy working toward my degree or managing various PRSSA duties, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, and taking part in 5k runs for charity, a new hobby of mine.
What are your responsibilities as relations manager?
As relations manager, I am responsible for delegating responsibilities to the newsletter and blog chairs. In addition, I am responsible for having a complete understanding of the committee. I edit all Chapter publications, as well as create the committee's editorial calendar. I am also in charge of starting conversations within committee meetings about current events for prospective newsletter articles and blog posts. I also work with the new position of alumni chair on the alumni newsletter. I believe that being involved in this part of the Chapter has improved my writing and editing skills, as well as opened my eyes to current events and public relations crises.
What lead you to choose public relations?
I have been involved in PRSSA for two years now and came to the decision to pursue public relations after taking my general education courses. I excelled in reading and English, which lead to my choice to major in public relations. It is my passion for writing and love for connecting with people that contribute to my overall interest in public relations. I feel that as long as I enjoy these things, I will never lose passion for this profession.
What internship positions have you held?
Throughout my academic career, I have held multiple internship positions, which have allowed me to practice public relations writing and social media outreach. These internships include working for the Illinois State University Hockey team, ISU Health Promotion and Wellness Center, Chicago Twenty Something marketing team, and Campus Recreation marketing department.
Tell us about your future semester abroad.
My experiences and passions have led me to decide to study abroad in Granada, Spain during the spring 2015 semester. During my time in Spain, I want to increase my fluency in Spanish, as well as embrace the distinct culture that Spain has to offer. I hope this program will open the door to an internship at the University of Granada and help pave the path to a job that incorporates international affairs or involves traveling.
Questions composed by Emily Raschke
The anticipation building up to Taylor Swift’s new album, “1989,” was recorded as an all-time high for the recently converted star. She was ready to unleash her new sound and work to the world. When the album dropped on Oct. 27, songs spread like wildfire with multiple tracks like “Style” and “Out of the Woods” hitting radio stations.
In the midst of all the buzz, Swift made a major decision to pull her music off Spotify, a music streaming source with more than 40 million users. Given this number of users, Swift’s drastic move caused an uproar within her fan base. She explained her thought process in the Wall Street Journal saying, “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is.”
This bold statement altered her brand and image to her fans. By referring to her work as art, she has put more value on her work, showing her fans how much she values what she does and how she is willing to make changes to follow her beliefs. This decision also helps Swift see how much of her art is selling and how it is impacting her fans. It will also allow Swift to better keep track of sales statistics in stores and online.
Branding her music as art and expressing the value of her work has helped Swift become a better businesswoman. However, this decision has also created some friction with fans who did not buy the album and are heavy users of music sources like Spotify. Swift is aware of the little payment Spotify provides to artists for their music to be posted on the site. By taking her music off of Spotify though, the group of fans that Spotify has created will no longer be in contact with her music, which can decrease her spread into this generation of listeners. With everything going digital, it was easy for Spotify users to listen to music, create playlists, and then share those playlists with other users, further promoting the artist’s work to new listeners. Without her music being available within this outlet, Swift could possibly lose a range of continuous listeners. These Spotify users may or may not be able to purchase her album, leading to further backfire on Swift as she may lose future concertgoers and product buyers.
By Chloe Kasper
Working at a retail store like Target may build a solid work ethic but most likely won’t make you an Internet sensation, right? For 16-year-old Alex Lee, otherwise known as #AlexFromTarget, that is exactly what happened. It all began when an anonymous Twitter user snapped a photo of Alex while he was swiping items at a Target store in Frisco, Texas.
After the photo was shared online with the caption, “YOOOOOOOO,” the photo quickly gained popularity due to the teenager’s good looks. A meme was created, the hashtag #AlexFromTarget was born, and the rest is history. The dreamy store clerk, who has been compared to Justin Bieber, jumped from 144 Twitter followers to nearly 600,000 in just a couple days.
Lee has since appeared on CNBC, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Good Morning America, as well as being featured in the New York Times and countless other news articles. His overwhelming fame is not the first of its kind, but many have questioned whether the whole story is real, or just a well-crafted marketing scheme by Target.
As a member of the Illinois State University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, Lee’s story is an effective reminder of how powerful a tool social media is and how quickly a harmless photo can become a news story. Whether a social media post is meant to be lighthearted or serious, anything shared online can be “retweeted,” “liked,” and sometimes misinterpreted. Take advantage of the positive benefits of social media, but keep in mind that everything posted online has the potential to backfire.
Recently, Lee has experienced the downside of social media fame. Bombarded with death threats, rumors, and vulgarities, the once unknown Target employee is receiving attention, both positive and negative, in cyberspace. The mask of the Internet allows users to be anonymous, thus hatred can be spread without consequence. Each individual has a choice to make about how he or she uses the Internet, and for a public relations professional, that choice can make or break a career. Remember to be cautious and critical of the content you post, as well as how you respond to others.
By Becca Williams
Cassie Zimmer is a junior double majoring in both of her passions, public relations and apparel merchandising. When she is not busy juggling her life as a young professional and aspiring fashionista, you can find her blogging or whipping up a tasty treat in the kitchen!
Tell us about yourself.
I am 20 years old and in love with Illinois State University and all that it has to offer. I feel like I have been attending since I was eight years old (both of my sisters attended), and ultimately it has felt like a second home to me. Outside of class, I love hanging out with my friends, writing for HerCampus ISU, and blogging for The Vidette. Aside from being a member of the ISU Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, I am involved with the Apparel Merchandising and Design Association on campus. I love being involved with ISU PRSSA and cannot wait to see what the rest of the year holds!
What are you passionate about?
I have always been very passionate about the fashion industry, but starting off in college I was not sure what I could major in to make fashion into a career. I wanted to immerse myself into the world of fashion, keeping almost every single style magazine that has crossed my path. I also learned about public relations from a friend. After explaining to her what I wanted to do, she also suggested apparel merchandising. I discovered a love for writing along the way, and it seems as though everything has fallen into place. It is amazing to know you are doing something you really enjoy and can get excited about your future. Aside from my chosen field, I am passionate about my family and friends. They have always been my backbone when I need one and never fail to make me happy.
How has ISU PRSSA benefited you, and what is your favorite part about being a member?
ISU PRSSA has given me a glimpse of what a future in public relations may look like. With all of the panels, conferences, and tours, there have been endless opportunities to network and learn more about the field that I am so passionate about. It has introduced me to so many amazing people and never ceases to be a good time.
What is your dream job?
My dream job is to work in fashion, beauty, lifestyle, or event public relations in a big city environment. I want to work with a team that is like family and can have fun while being professional. I want to work in a cohesive atmosphere that focuses on putting the best work forward while also making the best experience out of everything. Ultimately, I just want to be happy at the end of each day, and if my career can be a component of that happiness, I will be content.
What is something most people do not know about you?
I have an extreme love for baking. I am obsessed with “Cupcake Wars,” “Cake Boss,” or anything that shows elaborate cakes. I think it is amazing what people can do. With that, I have an extreme sweet tooth. I always make sure there is something sweet in the house.
Questions composed by Kimi Sanden
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.