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A Review of PRAdvanced

If you had to miss PRAdvanced last Saturday, you truly missed out. It was an amazing day filled with honest advice and newurl perspectives all surrounding the theme of “Embrace the Possibilities”. This post is a quick wrap up of the event, a mix of what I learned from the conference and what the speakers said which really inspired me. However, you don’t even have to read this post to know what happened because almost every person that attended the conference was live tweeting, using #PRAdvanced.

The day began with a riveting talk from the keynote speaker, Rob Flaherty, CEO of Ketchum PR. With giant props, pictures from his own PRSSA days and videos showcasing examples of great marketing, Mr. Flaherty’s address was fun, but still incredibly informative. Here are a few of his great quotes that I had to live tweet:

– “Think of the new definition of news as something important enough to find me.”
– “We’re increasingly in the content creation business.”
– “Our business is about helping our client do the right thing.”
– “Perspective is one of the most important things in business and in life.”

Following Mr. Flaherty’s opening address, we broke into small groups for breakout sessions ranging from video skill featuring Steve Garfield, Author of Get Seen and Founder of Boston Media Makers, to Corporate Social Responsibility with Simon Bowers, Account Supervisor, Sustainable Business Practices, at Cone Communications. The breakout sessions are designed as a more intimate gathering with only about 20 people in the room so it gave listeners an opportunity to ask questions and really engage with the speaker.

We took a short lunch break after that where we had the pleasure of hearing Dean Elmore, the Dean of Students at Boston University, give a talk about networking, connecting to industry professionals and how it’s similar to flirting. Dean Elmore described, “We know good flirting when we see it” and when networking with the person that just might get you that dream job, you definitely want to be a good flirter.

Finally, we ended the day with the much anticipated career panel, let by moderator and BU professor, Dr. Edward Downes. The panel consisted of Susan Baba, a Male Grooming Communications manager for Procter and Gamble, Rachel Leamon, Client Executive, Technology Practice Burson-Marsteller, Lauren Reilly, professor at Simmons College and Laura Oggeri, Director of Communications for Senate President Therese Murray. Each woman gave a thoughtful response to the questions asked of her by Dr. Downes representing corporate, agency, non-profit and governmental public relations. Although their answers were not always similar they had a common theme: you never quite know where an opportunity will arise. The women all agreed that no two days are similar in their industry and that similar regret was that they did not follow up with contacts they should have prior to the job search. They didn’t quite expect to have the careers they have today, but urged students to keep an open mind and take advantage of what comes their way.

As the career panel finished up and we headed to the career fair, I felt very inspired by the amazing speakers I had heard throughout the day. Sometimes from a student’s perspective public relations can seem like an overwhelmingly large field with so many paths and directions to take that it’s hard to narrow down. I don’t think the theme could have been more appropriate to calm many students’ woes.

Although the conference is over, keep the conversation going using the hashtag #PRAdvanced.


Rob Flaherty: Industry Leader and Global Innovator

This year’s PR Advanced keynote speaker Rob Flaherty, the CEO of and Senior Partner of Ketchum PR, is leadingimgres the increasing effort to build the global reputation of the agency. He is concerned with Ketchum’s global presence, which has 102 offices and affiliates worldwide. Heavily involved in this global effort, he is responsible for the agency’s Global Research Network and serves on the Worldwide Executive Committee. Before he was appointed as CEO, he was a driving force in the agency and had a leadership role in starting the pro-bono work Ketchum does for the World Economic Forum’s Global Health Initiative.

Mr. Flaherty is also a leader in corporate positioning and issues management, which are his areas of expertise. In these areas, he conducts highly collaborative sessions with company executives that help form their “message architecture” and competitive depositioning strategy. He has also worked on a wide range of critical situations that include product liability, airline accidents, data security, and anti-trust litigation. He has managed very high-profile crises, as he led global media relations support for the 2006 G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, which was attended by 2,500 professional journalists. Flaherty also led crisis management teams for the Olympic Torch Relay in 2008, 2004, and 1996.

Between his innovation in global public relations and his wide range of experiences involving crisis management, Mr. Flaherty is a leader and an innovator in the public relations field. One of the most successful and influential in the field, he will certainly offer invaluable advice for aspiring public relations professionals. Hear his insights at the Boston University’s PR Advanced Conference this Saturday.

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