A few weeks ago I traveled to Baltimore (by Amtrak! woo!) for the Eastern Communications Association Conference at the Hyatt representing Hofstra University, PRSSA, and PRestige Agency. I was registered as a speaker for the “Charting New Directions for PRSSA: Innovators, Explorations, and Adventures” along with other communications students. The panel itself turned into a casual dialogue about the frustration that all student-run organizations face: motivating other students. As the VP of Development, Recruitment, and Media for PRestige Agency, I have had my fair share of challenges this past year. After being asked what I thought were required qualities in a leader, I answered that not only does a leader need to be motivational, organized, and professional, they must serve as a mentor for younger students. Students in undergrad are looking for advice and they turn to their peers first. A strong leader is some one that others want to emulate, and it comes down to having a balance between the professional and personal.
Today was my last day of class at Hofstra University. I graduate on May 16th with Latin Honors Distinction, an Associate Honors Degree, a full resume, and much more wisdom than when I first walked onto campus four years ago. Time and time again, I have been challenged to stand true to my identity and beliefs, defending myself and demanding respect when necessary, and learning to extinguish conflict when it approaches. To my friends graduating, I would like to know if you can imagine your first day as a freshman, if you had any idea of what you were going achieve in the following years. I cannot. I am astounded, dumbfounded and proud of what I have accomplished.
This past week I had to find my successor for my Vice President position. Interested candidates emailed their resumes and cover letters and had an interview a few days after. I based my decision on the strengths of the two candidates and if the position would allow them to build upon their existing talents. Not only am I very excited and happy about the decision, but I cannot wait to see what next year’s E-board will do. During both interviews I discussed what I thought were necessary habits when dealing with people. By coincidence, my advice was influenced by How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (a purchase made after my friend Emily Meithner raved about it).
Because you should buy the book yourself, here is simply a tidbit.
Fundamental Techniques In Handling People
Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
It never helps to surround yourself with negativity. People will always respond much better when you praise their strengths, not criticize their faults. The time and energy spent complaining about a situation is time and energy wasted. Save yourself the heartache and stress, become more positive and use your time otherwise spent complaining constructively.
Give honest and sincere appreciation.
No one can ever tackle a project by themselves. In a collaborative effort, every person involved is valuable to the team. There have been times when I have been so frustrated about a campaign with PRestige, I wanted nothing more than to throw up my hands and give up. However, with the motivation I received from my team and their unending dedication, everything was accomplished. When you recognize and appreciate some one else’s work, they will continue to perform at a high level. At this time, I want to thank Alyssa Bertuzzi, Nick Schweers, Aqlesia Sahle, Marise Montrose and Hilary Franklin, members of next year’s E-board and committee for last fall’s “PRestige One Year Anniversary”, from the bottom of my heart. Without your ingenuity and dedication, nothing I wanted to accomplish this year would have happened. I am so proud to see how you have all taken on your positions with such enthusiasm. To feel that I have had some influence on you is one of the things I am most proud of in my career at Hofstra. I am more than confident to leave something I have worked on for three years in your hands.
Arouse in the other person an eager want.
You will hear more people saying “you can’t” than “you can”. Less people will want to see you succeed than those who don’t care one way or the other. The only person you can hold responsible for your achievement is yourself. When some one tells me something is impossible or too difficult, my stubbornness makes me want to prove them wrong. I like challenges because they test you, and if you meet that challenge, you will reap the benefits. The most driven people are the same way. They see a problem and they want to solve it. People who are smart, thoughtful and inquisitive will need to be mentally stimulated. So challenge other people constructively, more so that they can grow from it.
And that’s the end. At tomorrow’s last PRestige All Staff meeting of the year, my successor will be announced, and my duties for the agency will be over. After a few last papers and projects, my adult life starts and the world is an oyster.
Many people and their influence have affected me and in some way led me to this point today. I wasn’t valedictorian at my high school and I may not have a larger platform than this blog to do the following.
I’d like to thank:
Professor Ellen Frisina (for helping me make my schedule during Freshmen Orientation and convincing me to be a pr major), Professor Victoria Geyer (for your guidance, patience, and good advice), all of PRestige (especially the 5 members of the One Year Anniversary committee), all of PRSSA past and present (especially Rachel Zabinski, PRSSA President when I started and one of the first pr professionals I aspire to), all of the DJs at WRHU (and all the listeners), all the painters, photographers, and designers I have met in Calkins Hall (all eccentricities and quirks aside, you all inspire me), all members of Progressive Students Union (for challenging my principles and perceptions), all occupants of the “Mineola House” at one time or another, the 2009 Rubenstein Intern Dozen (where would we be without each other? under a desk), all the students who studied abroad in Venice January 2009 (especially my roommates Ashley Melo and Erin Willett) all educators and administrative staff at the Long Island Children’s Museum (the best job I will ever have), all the literature professors I have had, the occupants of “Corn Hole”, and every student I have had class with or had the pleasure of meeting these past four years, and all those who live the “Trife Life”.
Thank you for the adventures of the past few years. Let’s see where the next four take us.