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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU Students Attend National Public Relations Conference

Four members of Old Dominion University's chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) learned about crisis communications, branding, data analytics, social media and event planning, among other topics, at the organization's national conference over fall break.

From Oct. 5-9, in Austin, Texas, the students and their faculty adviser attended breakout sessions, keynote addresses and discussions led by panel speakers. Each session offered information and advice to help students prepare for the next step in their careers.

Jonathan Mildenhall, co-founder and CEO of 21st Century Brand, former chief marketing officer of Airbnb and a former executive with Coca-Cola, offered his insights about the role of public relations in a modern advertising campaign. He showed some of his well-known Coca-Cola and Airbnb ads, stressing the role that public relations played in exposure for the campaigns, providing a purpose for the groundbreaking advertising work.

Old Dominion's PRSSA members also networked with other PR students and professionals from around the country.

"I can't believe I've just attended my last PRSSA National Conference. Trips like these teach me so many things. I've met people who have already greatly impacted me and my future," said 2017-18 ODU PRSSA President Hang Tran.

Liv Lewis, senior vice president of EGAMI Group, led the conference's final session. Like Mildenhall, Lewis discussed the importance of purpose in the workplace. She was one the leaders of "The Talk," a campaign by My Black is Beautiful that emphasized the tough conversation that African Americans have with their young children about racial biases. She highlighted that defining the purpose of a brand should be a priority. If a brand has no purpose it will be short-lived.

"National Conference is an experience that I'll never forget. The PR Diversity event was my favorite. It was refreshing to see successful professionals - young and old - who looked like me," said Samaria Bingham, ODU PRSSA vice president.

The other ODU students who attended the conference were Dashane' James and Rikki Esklelund.

For more information about ODU's PRSSA, email prssaodu@gmail.com.

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