Turning 23: A Look in the Rearview Mirror

As PRofessional Solutions, LLC celebrates its 23rd birthday this month, we wanted to 23-birthdayshare a few memories from the highlight reel of our company’s history.

Most Unusual Assignments

With 23 years of assignments, there have been many wonderful clients and projects, but these two stand out as the most remarkable:

NOAA’s Raising of the USS Monitor, 2001-02

USS Monitor engine_recovery

Recovery of USS Monitor Engine; Photo Credit NOAA

The only occasion where the temp wasn’t working on dry land. This job included escorting reporters by ship off the coast of Cape Hatteras, NC to where Navy divers worked in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to recover the shipwrecked, historic USS Monitor. It had been resting on the ocean floor since 1862.


American Red Cross Relief Flight, 1999

In preparation for a flight bringing supplies to Macedonia during the Kosovo Conflict, our temp was doing media advance work since the President of the American Red Cross and a group of reporters would be on board to visit the area for 48 hours. Shortly before departure, the temp was invited to join the delegation since his background included military public affairs experience. This was the only assignment where one of our temps needed a passport for the job. Luckily, his was up to date and he was ready to travel at a moment’s notice!


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Communications Professional Societies Source for Continuing Education

March2017-PRSAinterviewYou’ve heard it from us before: participation in professional societies can be invaluable to public relations and other communications professionals.

Most communicators think the value is all in networking, particularly when they need to connect during a new job search.  But overlooking the continuing education benefits of programs that keep members and guests current on changing social media platforms and new measurement strategies means short-changing some of the most important contributions to your career that groups like the Public Relations Society of America, Washington Women in Public Relations and the International Association of Business Communicators provide.

For businesses like PRofessional Solutions professional societies keep us in contact with potential clients and employees, as well as up-to-date on what they want and need to be successful.  For us, sponsorships and involvement make for a win-win proposition.  They also provide opportunities like a recent PRSA-NCC YouTube interview  that allowed me to share my thoughts on changes in the profession while expanding our visibility.  Thank you, PRSA-NCC!

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Breakfast and Business – Personal Pleasures that Build Business Networks

AU coffee chat

People tell me they don’t like networking, but they forget that fun activities are networking, too. I find involvement at my alma mater, which I love, benefits PRofessional Solutions — and PRofessional Solutions benefits fellow alumni.

Tomorrow it will be my pleasure to co-host the latest Women’s Network and Eagle’s Nest Coffee Chat on campus. Alumnae, faculty, staff, and students of American University get together several times a semester for a casual networking and mentoring gathering over coffee and continental breakfast. It’s a 90 minute event designed to ignite entrepreneurialism, engage free thought, and inspire new camaraderie among AU’s alumnae.  For me it’s always a chance to mix with women who may become colleagues, PR temps, clients or just friends.

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Being a Connector

Kate PerrinLearn more about our CEO, Kate Perrin, and her thoughts on being “a connector” by watching this  “Communicator Spotlight” video, part of a series produced by Van Eperen in partnership with Capitol Communicator.

See if you already knew her answer to the “thing that almost no one knows about me” question.

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What Employers Are Looking For

The comic strip “Dustin”, created by Steve Kelley & Jeff Parker, consistently highlights insights about employment and the job search worth noting.  Today’s strip is no exception.Dustin-employer focus

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Five Expert Tips on How to be a Star Panelist

A panel is a great opportunity to share your expertise, highlight what you know and establish yourself as a leader in your field. But the audience has registered, paid and given up valuable time to attend and learn something relevant and useful, so be sure to deliver!

PRofessional Solutions President Kate Perrin is a frequent panelist on proSusy-Kate-Danagrams about PR hiring trends and career information. Here are her five expert tips on how to shine during your next panel presentation.

  1. Know your audience and their expectations. Before you agree to participate, ask the organizer what specifically the audience should take away and the general make-up of the audience. If you’re not an expert on the topic, turn down the invitation.
  2. It’s unforgivable when a panelist says, “I haven’t prepared anything formal. I thought it would be more valuable to just answer your questions.” This disrespects the audience and your hosts.
  3. Plan your story. Come up with clever introductions to your points and engaging personal examples that support your point of view. Go ahead and be a little provocative so you’ll catch people’s attention and make them think about what you’re saying.
  4. Don’t just wait your turn. Panels are more interesting when the panelists engage each other, not wait their turn. It’s stimulating when you introduce another viewpoint by saying “Let me add something to that idea” or “My experience has led me to a different conclusion”. It’s boring when all the panelists agree with each other.
  5. Involve the audience. Ask questions and for a show of hands or pose a problem to the audience to get them thinking.
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Tips from Our Panel Planning Pro

Many communications professionals must develop panel discussions for annual meetings, conferences, workshops or scientific assemblies. Sound simple? Like all events, the devil is in the details.

During four years on Washington Women in Public Relations Board of Melanie JordanDirectors, PRofessional Solutions’ Managing Director Melanie Jordan planned more than 50 professional development events–many of them panel presentations. Here are some of her best practices for creating successful panel discussions.

In advance…

  • Select panelists with a diversity of opinions on the topic, are eloquent and recognized as experts in the field. When identifying panelists, review videos of previous presentations to find dynamic guests.
  • Choose an experienced moderator with the strength to control the event and prevent a panelist from derailing the discussion. Provide the moderator with some questions to ask during the panel discussion and to have on hand in case Q & A is slow to start.
  • When issuing an invitation to a panelist, be very specific about his or her role in the discussion. Send a group email to panelists assigning separate topic areas for their participation, thus avoiding redundancy in remarks. Outline the program logistics, amount of time for each panelist’s opening points (no more than a few minutes) and allotted time for Q & A with the audience.

During the program…

  • Encourage social media interaction. Prepare a slide to be shown behind the dais or place a handout on audience chairs with social media hashtags and handles for your organization, the event, and the speakers and provide guest Wi-Fi information. In addition, print panelists’ Twitter handles on dais nameplates to encourage live tweeting during the event.
  • Don’t waste precious time with lengthy introductions of the moderator and speakers. Simply state their name, title and organization and include their bios and links to their LinkedIn profiles on program information and publicity.

Pitfalls to avoid…

  • Never choose more than four panelists; a higher number becomes unwieldy and doesn’t allow speakers enough time to adequately showcase their opinions.
  • To hold audience attention, don’t exceed 90 minutes. An hour is better, with 40 minutes for the panel discussion and 20 minutes for Q & A with the audience.
  • Prevent embarrassing optics. Ensure that the dais table has a skirt for female panelists in skirts. If you’re placing presenters on stools, warn female panelists in advance so they can wear slacks; a stool is difficult to maneuver in a skirt.


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PR Pros Will Mix and Mingle as WWPR Names Three New Emerging Leaders

The seventh annual awards Washington Women in Public Relations Emerging Leaders Awards (ELA) ceremony and cocktail reception is expected to bring together more than 140 communications professionals on Tuesday, June 21.  They will hear Case Foundation’s Senior Director of Communications Jade Floyd explore this year’s theme “Making A PR Pro” and learn which three of these the six finalists will be named 2016’s Emerging Leaders:

Firms interested in an ELA sponsorship should contact ela@wwpr.org .

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Worker Satisfaction Highest Since 2005

It’s nice to read good news, so an item in the June issue of Staffing Industry Review caught my eye.  According to the annual Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), more US workers are satisfied with their jobs than at any time since 2005!

Apparently, the percentage of satisfied employees has been trending up since 2013, and 88 % of responding employees in this survey reported that they were satisfied overall with their job, including 37% who reported being “very satisfied”.

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WWPR Reveals Finalists for 7th Annual Emerging Leaders Awards

Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) has announced six finalists to be honored at this year’s Emerging Leaders Awards on June 21, 2016. The Emerging Leaders Awards is a special accolade for young women between 23 and 30 years of age who are active within the communications field and have made a significant impact on the industry.


The 2016 WWPR Emerging Leaders Awards finalists include:

Brittanie ClementDelucchi Plus@brittclem

Cait DeBaunU.S. Travel Association@CaitDeBaun

KC SleddAtlantic Media Strategies@kcesledd

Melissa ZuckermanJPA Health Communications@MelissaShay817

Rachel RacoosinLEVICK@rachelracoosin

Sarah HubbartMichael Torrey Associates, LLC@mustbesarah

The seventh annual awards ceremony and cocktail reception will bring together more than 140 communications professionals. Keynote speaker, the Case Foundation’s Senior Director of Communications Jade Floyd, will explore this year’s theme “Making A PR Pro.”

From the six finalists, three Emerging Leaders Awards honorees will be named at the ceremony and reception. The event will take place at the Morning Consult offices, located at 729 15th Street NW. in Washington on Tuesday, June 21 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Tickets are $40 for members of WWPR and PRSA-NCC; $50 for non-members. To register go to https://wwpr.org/events/calendar/#!event/2016/6/21/emerging-leaders-awards

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