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Thank Your Mentor Day * January 21, 2016

Mentoring-Works_186x150px_croppedAs a highlight of National Mentoring Month 2016, Thank Your Mentor Day™ will be celebrated January 21. On that day, many Americans will reach out to thank or honor those individuals who encouraged and guided them, and had a lasting, positive impact on their lives.

These are simple ways you can thank your mentor:

  1. Contact your mentor directly to express your appreciation;
  2. Express your gratitude on social media.
  3. Pass on what you received by becoming a mentor to a young person in your community;
  4. Make a financial contribution to a local mentoring program in your mentor’s honor; and,
  5. Write a tribute to your mentor for posting on the Who Mentored You? website.

You can download a Thank you card from the Campaign Marketing Materials page.

*Thank Your Mentor Day™ is an initiative of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

A connector: more than just an adviser

Professional adviser of UW-Eau Claire Public Relations Student Society of America chapter wins prestigious service award

 WEB_barbara-arnold_submitted-201x150Salesmen, mavens and connectors.

These are the three types of people in the world, according to Malcolm Gladwell’s book “The Tipping Point.”

Barbara Arnold, professional adviser to the UW-Eau Claire Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) said after reading Gladwell’s book she realized she belongs to the connector category.

Connectors serve as hubs in this world; connecting people across different places and different social, political, financial and professional rings, according to Gladwell’s book.

This may be why Arnold became one of 35 public relations professionals in the world to receive the Paul M. Lund Public Service Award at the PRSA 2015 International Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

This accolade awards successful public relations professionals who are not only accomplished leaders in their fields, but are leaders within their own communities.

“I guess I just have this gift where I can connect people, get them to try something they weren’t thinking of,” Arnold said. “I can listen to someone and hear about what they want to do with their life, hear their dreams, and say, ‘Well, this person is looking for this, (so they should) go talk to this person.’”

Arnold’s award is only bestowed on distinguished public relations professionals whose volunteering has made a significant impact on society. There have been four years in which no one was awarded because the qualifications are so high.

After a successful 30-year-long public relations career, Arnold moved back home to Eau Claire from Minneapolis and downsized her career to take care of her mother as she declined due to Alzheimer’s disease.

In her time back home, she helped found and serves as the UW-Eau Claire chapter advisor of PRSSA while also serving as the university Academic Publications and Curriculum Coordinator.

“If you talk about ‘The Power Of And,’ I would say I’m a connector and mentor,” Arnold said. “…For easily 100 students and professionals.”

Katie Dean Miller, public relations student and current campus PRSSA president, considers herself one of Arnold’s mentees, and said it is she who “has really made all the difference.”

“She’ll drop anything to help anyone who needs it,” Miller said. “She’s not a professor, but in our eyes, she’s more than that.”

Hanna Johnson, past chapter PRSSA president, said her connection with Arnold has been one of her most valuable during her time at Eau Claire.

“Ever since I met her, she’s not only been a mentor, but she’s been a friend and kind of like a mom to us,” Johnson, public relations and Spanish student, said. “I can’t imagine my college career without her.”

While taking care of her mom, Arnold spent her spare time mentoring and volunteering extensively within the Eau Claire community.

The child of a teacher and a bridge builder, Arnold said her motivation to help others and to be a mentor has been lifelong.

“I’d say volunteering is probably in my DNA, but it probably came from my parents,” Arnold said. “I grew up with parents who said ‘For those to whom much is given, much is expected.’”

Serving as more than an adviser, university employee or resident of Eau Claire, Arnold dedicates countless hours volunteering in the Phoenix Community Garden, UW-Eau Claire Community Fitness Program, and International Host Family Program and advocating Alzheimer’s awareness.

“She works all hours of the day to make other people’s lives easier,” Miller said. “She’s making our community a better place, and every other community she’s ever lived in.”

Although Arnold’s position at the university was eliminated due to recent budget cuts, she plans to remain the professional adviser of Eau Claire’s chapter of PRSSA as long as she is in the area. At the end of the day, she said what she really wants is to help her students achieve their goals.

“(I want) to help them find their dream job, their dream career, their dream internship,” Arnold said. “Because they can.”

By: Sami West, Currents Editor, The Spectator

Photo Credit: Barbara Arnold (middle) with students Katie Dean Miller and Brianna Truitt after accepting the Paul M. Lund Public Service Award Nov. 9 at the PRSA 2015 International Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

 See more at: http://www.spectatornews.com/currents/2015/11/12/a-connector-more-than-just-an-adviser/#sthash.Tj46OBIU.dpuf

2015 PRSA Public Service Award Recipient

BarbaraArnold_180x167pxNEW YORK, Oct. 7, 2015 – The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) announced today that it will present Barbara E. Arnold, MBA, APR, with the Paul M. Lund Public Service Award. The award will be presented at the PRSA 2015 International Conference during the Monday Networking Luncheon on Nov. 9 in Atlanta, GA.

“Barbara has excelled as a public relations professional for more than 30 years, and because of her exemplary service and dedication to giving back to the community, she is the perfect candidate for this prestigious award,” said Kathy Barbour, APR, 2015 PRSA National Chair. “Barbara has stated that she is most proud of her work as a mentor; a statement that I hope all in our Society can aspire to emulate. Our junior professionals are the future of our profession, and Barbara’s commitment to guiding them through their ascent is to be commended.”

The Paul M. Lund Public Service Award is named in honor of the late Paul M. Lund, vice president of Public Relations and Employee Communications of AT&T in the early 1970s. Lund was both an accomplished leader in public relations and in every community of which he was a part of. He consistently demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to public service. The award is given to a PRSA member whose participation as a volunteer in important public activities has increased the common good and reflected credit on the Society.

“Volunteering is in my DNA,” said Arnold. “I share this award with my PRSSA students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the PRSA Minnesota Chapter, and my mentors, protégés, leaders, colleagues, friends, and family who have supported me in my efforts to touch lives and build bridges in the communities wherever I call home.”

Arnold has given back to both the PRSA and her local community throughout her career. She currently serves as a mentor and volunteer Professional Adviser of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Chapter at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Her mentoring extends beyond students to Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) candidates in the PRSA Minnesota Chapter and candidates across the globe in PRSA’s online APR course.

Outside of her work with PRSA, Arnold played a key role in establishing the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, launched six days after September 11, 2001. This fund has awarded $115.9 million to 2,825 financially needy dependents of those killed or injured in the 9/11 attacks and rescue efforts.  Arnold volunteers many hours on behalf of education, sustainability, social justice, and arts and culture.

The 2015 PRSA International Conference will be held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, November 8 – 10. A full lineup of speakers and registration information can be found at the Conference website. Discounted hotel and travel rates are also available.

About the Public Relations Society of America
PRSA is the largest professional organization serving the U.S. public relations community. With a mission to “advance the profession and the professional,” PRSA provides news and information, thought leadership, continuing education and networking opportunities; sets standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct; and advocates for the business value of public relations and greater diversity among public relations professionals. Based in New York, PRSA comprises 110 local Chapters; 14 Professional Interest Sections that focus on specific industries and practice areas; and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which is active at more than 340 colleges and universities.

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Rosanne Mottola
phone: (212) 460 1464

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Positioning Yourself in a Challenging Job Market

Tara CeglaProtégés. This post’s for you. What joy to re-connect with two of my former students at the PRSA MN seminar on Thurs. July 28 called “Positioning Yourself in a Challenging Job Market.”

Say hello to Tara Cegla, PR Star and Intern at the Minnesota State Fair this summer. Tara is a former PRSSAer at UW-Eau Claire, and one of my favorite former students. So am I biased when I talk about her, YOU BET! Her Dream: to work at a top-flight agency such as Weber Shandwick or Padilla Speer Beardsley in Minneapolis. She is a HUGE TWINS fan, too! And judging by the terrific media kit she showed me–her latest project with the fair–she is likely to be scooped up immediately when her internship ends on Labor Day. 

I also happened to connect with another former fabulous student Amanda Wagner nee Huneke, who was in my Buyer Behavior class in the Fall 2005.  Amanda is a professional member of MN PRSA and was volunteering at the seminar. Amanda is an account executive at Weber Shandwick. Her clients: the U.S. Army and BAE Systems, a defense contractor. She is pursing an MBA at the University of St. Thomas. Watch out! She will go far!

So you want to know how to position yourself in a challenging job market? Lisa Simon, director of HR, Weber Shandwick/Minneapolis, @wsmplsjobs, did a superb job of moderating the panel. Her prep-work with a conf call prior definitely showed. Hear that proteges? Preparation is the key, for starters. Please note that I’m not attributing each panelist with their specific advice due to the length of the event (one hour, nine pages of notes) and the shortness of my post.


  • Gillian Gabriel, recruiter, gilliang@aol.com
  • Arik Hanson, principal of ACH Communications, arik.hanson@gmail.com
  • Anna Long, communications director for the MN Department of Veterans Affairs, @annalewickilong and  along@mdva.state.mn.us
  • Paul Maccabee, president of Maccabee Group, paulmaccabee@maccabeepr

 Current Hiring Trends: 

  • The best time to be looking for a PR job is RIGHT NOW! Market is on the upswing.
  • Hiring more media producers rather than the traditional PR person. Hybrid of Content Specialist, Tech Savvy, and People Person…all in one package. Knows enough tech to be dangerous and are the story-tellers. The ability to market and communicate in the digital space. Word Press, example.
  • Talent war coming in the pipeline for those with seven to eight years experience.
  • Some companies cannot find the talent to fill their positions.
  • Looking for someone who can translate social media into a business and marketing concept.

Get Your Resume to the Top of the Pile:

  • Classic marketing. Know your brand. What is your unique selling proposition?
  • Research, research, research the company you are applying for. Names and correct spelling counts. Don’t call a Lou (Louise) a Mr.  
  • Authenticity. Know who you are and what you have to offer.  
  • Who you know, and who knows you, may be more important than what you know.  
  • Information interviews at coffees shops. Do research for the info interviews. It’s not enough to be charming and adorable.  
  • Panelists varied on value of cover letters. Bottom line: research the culture of the company and person you are applying to in order to create targeted, personalized cover letters and whether or not they are valued. Cutesy stuff, like cupcakes, etc. may or may not work. Know your audience.  
  • Multimedia resumes can work if they are really really good, and if not, a bomb. Recruiters still value the traditional resume. Creative types might consider the multimedia resumes.  

Dress for the Profession:

  • Research the dress culture of the company you are applying for and then dress up a notch.  
  • Too casual dress, tattoos, tank tops, boobies hanging out, baseball caps, too tight pants, too short skirts, etc. NOT impressive! NOT going to get you the job!  
  • What message are you sending with how you are dressed? What profession are you applying for? PR Pro or Pimp or Lady of the Night (I’ve embellished here!)

Favorite Interview Question:

  • Why are you doing what you are doing right now? What is your philosophy? Convey passion! 
  • Situational questions: What would you do in this situation? Can you think on your feet? What is your thought process?  
  • Provide an actual client project proposal, and see how candidate would respond, what kind of campaign. 
  • Is it obvious that the candidate has prepared and thought about sample questions and key messages. What is the person’s passion for that industry. 

 Phone Screens:

  • Audience member recommended standing up, have talking points handy, and dressing professionally, and smiling as if you were there in person.
  • Express enthusiasm through your voice, tone and attitude! Many times these interviews are being conducted by junior staffers that know nothing about PR. 
  • While phone screens can be horrible, help your interviewer along. Keep your energy high!
  • Phone interviews count in our business where the phone is used a lot.
  • Example: Nixon-Kennedy debates: Those who listened on the radio thought Nixon won. Those who watched on TV thought Kennedy won.

 To Thank or Not to Thank:

  • Ask the interviewer how they prefer to be followed up with. Everyone is different. 
  • Handwritten, short, sweet and to the point. 
  • Typewritten, three graphs, thoughtful, another opportunity to make an impression. 
  • Tweets, email, maybe depends on your audience. You can’t possibly thank someone enough in 140 characters. 
  • Handwritten thank you notes sit on my desk for couple of months unopened. 
  • Know that even if you don’t get hired for the job; you have created the start of a relationship. 
  • There is no science to this; everyone has a bias.

Congratulations for a superb seminar to our turbo-charged panelists and moderator, as well as MN PRSA President Brooke Worden, VP at Weber Shandwick; and meeting coordinators PRSA members Cydney Wuerffel, Fast Horse, and Krissy Schoenfelder, Spotlight Media.