Student newspaper of Park University


Public relations students attend KC conference

Emilie Heston, Staff Reporter

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On February 17, the Greater Kansas City chapter of the Public Relations Society of America hosted a summit for college students studying PR. The event took place at the Downtown Kansas City Library.

The conference was to provide current and future PR students with more information about the PR world, inspire students to follow their career goals and gain networking experience with PR professionals around the Kansas City area. Park University had 10 students attend.

The conference opened with a motivational speech from Shannon Oleen. Oleen is a Kansas City native, former NFL cheerleader and National Speakers Association member. Her speech provided students with knowledge of important skills going into the work place and encouraged the building of everyone’s personal brand.

Oleen covered four important soft skills in her speech. They were: generation differences, personality differences, emotional intelligence and personal brand. These skills were identified as some of the most important attainable skills to be successful in the workplace. She especially highlighted the generation differences in most workplaces and the need  for everyone in the workforce to understand the differences in the many generations.

“Communicating you’re understanding of these differences will only add to your success,” Oleen said, “The more you can educate yourself on not only your generation, but others as well, the more educated conversation you will be able to have.”

The generation gap causes a lot of miscommunication in the workforce. Between Traditionalists and Baby Boomers not understanding Generation X or Millennials, and vice versa, friction and misunderstanding are major issues.

“The communication skills, motives and values among these different generations are so different and that is why we need to be aware,” said Oleen.

A panel of various PR professionals spoke as well. The panel included:

  • Emily Leeper, Earned Media Manager at MBB agency
  • JiaoJiao Shen, Public Relations and Social Media Strategic Leader at Hallmark Cards
  • Amanda Turk, Manager of Publicity for the Kansas City Royals
  • Carl Petz, Associate Vice President and Global Marketing Director for Black and Veatch

The panel discussed various topics on work skills and things they look for in potential employees. All panel members agreed it was most important for potential employees to demonstrate their willingness to find solutions for issues on their own.


“The ability to solve your own problems and taking initiative is very important,” said Leeper.

When asked what traits they look for the most, the panelists encouraged students to be their own person. Turk talked about how she looked for people with a sense of humor and the ability to laugh it off at the end of the day.

Passion for the work was also noted as being important.

“The field of work you choose should be something you are passionate about,” explained Shen, “With that passion comes great work and motivation to do more. At the end of the day, you want to be able to say ‘I love my job’ right?”

The conference included multiple other speakers including Lamar Hunt Jr. Hunt who spoke about the passion it takes to be successful in a career as well as the strengths a hard worker obtains. Loyalty, wisdom and smart decisions were all important parts of becoming successful.

Hunt left he group with the words: “Do what you love, love what you do.”

Arron Riffle, a senior journalism and public relations major  at Park, attended the event. Riffle said he enjoyed the event and gained a lot of valuable information for his future line of work.

“There aren’t many organizations that give students the opportunity to look inside the industry they dream about working in one day,” Riffle said about the event.

The conference ended with a great networking opportunity for students, a job fair. This allowed for a lot of doors to open for students and to gain some networking connections.

GKC-PRSA welcomed students back in the future for more conference events in hopes of continuing to help public relations students succeed in their future careers.

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Student newspaper of Park University
Public relations students attend KC conference