By Ariana Michelle Bocanegra
I walked into my first PRSA luncheon at The Bright Shawl on January 3. My appropriate business professional attire did little to appease my nerves. I was nervous, but also excited at the opportunity to interact with experienced public relations practitioners.
I didn’t know anyone at this luncheon but the friendly atmosphere quickly became evident as everyone introduced themselves to me when they checked in at the reception area. As people began filtering in, I walked around the room selling raffle tickets to benefit the Marilyn Potts Endowment Fund, which provides a scholarship to PR students at UTSA. I spoke with PR professionals from H-E-B, San Antonio Area Foundation, Trinity and many other places. I also met Terry and Angel from Alamo Area Council Boy Scouts of America. Angel, communications and marketing director at the Boy Scouts, wanted to buy a raffle ticket, but he didn’t have cash, so his co-worker Terry bought one for him. While I was tearing the tickets and putting away money, Angel and Terry told me about an internship position they were looking to fill for the spring semester. I told them about my participation in PRSSA, and that I was connected to a network of PR students who might be able to fill the position. Angel gave me his card so that I could announce it to the other PRSSA members.
After I finished selling raffle tickets, I went to find the seat I had saved before, and it turned out it was at the same table as Angel and Terry! We continued our discussion about their internship opportunity for the spring, and ended up scheduling a formal interview for the position. A week later, I was sitting in my office at the Alamo Area Council Boy Scouts of America, drinking coffee! I didn’t intend to land an internship at the PRSA luncheon, much less look for a position, but it was a great opportunity that I happened to stumble upon.
Both professionals and students benefit from the PRSA luncheons. It's a great way to learn from those around you and create lasting, meaningful professional relationships. I am going to continue to attend PRSA luncheons. I am committed to the Public Relations profession and the San Antonio community because of the networking opportunities provided by the local PRSA chapter!
Ariana Michelle Bocanegra is a student contributor to the Byline Blog and is a student at the University of Texas at San Antonio.