PR Advanced, a subsection of Boston University’s Public Relations Student Society of America (BU PRSSA), will host the 15th Annual District Conference titled “Navigating an Uncharted Future” to teach students how to communicate and apply information from different and emerging media channels.
The event will take place on Feb. 12 over Zoom from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to inform and educate students on how to navigate the public relations field.
Students will have the opportunity to network and interact with other students and professionals in the communications field. The event will feature two keynote speakers, Kate Cronin, chief brand officer at Moderna, and Shanon Cook, writer, formerly for CNN and Spotify.
Sonali Koul, a masters student in College of Communication and the director of external affairs at the BU PR Lab, said the organization chose to feature a speaker from Moderna because of the pharmaceutical’s growing recognition during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You could just imagine how they used the whole period of the pandemic to kind of build on their reputation,” Koul said. “That’s a story that we really wanted to see and that’s the kind of communication that I believe we all can learn from.”
She added that the other brand they wanted to target was Spotify, which has a stable and good reputation.
Irene Alexakos, a senior in the COM and conference coordinator at BU PRSSA, emphasized the idea of “transferable skills,” especially in unprecedented times, for the theme of this year’s conference.
“The fact that we don’t always know what we’re doing, whether it be in a professional sense or a personal sense,” Alexakos said. “It’s always nice to get guidance from role models, thought leaders, professionals, to equip yourself with a toolkit to be able to handle life as it comes.”
Along with the keynote speakers, the conference will host other panels with different speakers to discuss diversity, equity and inclusion, company culture and the journey of recent graduates in the communications field.
“I’m excited to hear from some of the speakers who don’t strictly have communications backgrounds,” Alexakos said. “Our goal with making the programming this year was to try and find people with kind of unconventional career paths.”
Madeline Chase, a COM senior and the president of BU PRSSA, said students can gain lots of experience networking with professionals and other students during the conference. The event can also help set up future job and internship prospects.
“It’s also really great because we invited all PRSSA chapters across the world and it’s also really easy to connect with students all across the US,” Chase said.
Koul said the event’s main goal was to help students learn how to incorporate and utilize every strategy provided through all channels of the media into communicating with audiences.
“These two keynotes were really important for us in terms of this ever changing landscape and understanding how one is supposed to navigate the future of this industry,” said Sonali. “And with the other ones, I feel like we tried to cater to every relevant conversation that’s happening, especially with the pandemic.”
Correction: A previous version of this article contained a quote from Sonali Koul that has since been taken out for clarity.