On the night of November 19th I went to PRSA’s 2019 Annual Meeting Celebration with my internship supervisor, Erin Collins. It was held at Resurgence Brewing Company. The venue was absolutely gorgeous and, even better, dinner was provided. When I first got there, I was really nervous because Erin was about twenty minutes late, (so I was all alone) but I quickly saw some familiar faces! In that moment, I thanked myself for going on so many informational interviews because I saw about five people that I met through informational interviews! 

The first person I saw was Mike Barone from Str84wrd Communications. He was actually the first person I met with to do an informational interview. We talked for a bit until I saw Beth Donovan a few minutes later. I just met Beth last week for an informational interview and we made a wonderful connection. We talked for a while and then she took me around the room to introduce me to more people. I also saw Deb Silverman, advisor of Buffalo State’s PRSSA chapter. We connected and talked about our chapter struggles. Another person I saw and chatted with was Jennifer Gallardo from Rich Products. She was so nice and asked me how the job search was going. Another person I recognized was Grace Lazzara who works at UB. A few months ago I contacted her through LinkedIn using the LinkedIn Advice feature. It was really funny seeing her there because we actually had plans to get coffee but I canceled our meeting because I wasn’t sure if the LinkedIn advice feature was legit or not. I guess it is! We talked at the event and she said I could email her anytime. 

At the end of the event I ended up with four business cards! Mr. Barone and Mrs. Donovan really made a point to introduce me to several people. They were so incredibly nice to me. I’m so happy I met them. They are both such wonderful people. Erin introduced me to lots of people too but it was nice that I got to leave Erin’s side for a bit to mingle with new people. I got business cards from Ezra Rich from Uniland, Lori Allan from the Charter School for Applied Technologies and Matt Davison from the Martin Group. I was extremely nervous meeting Mr. Davison. Obviously he’s a big name in Buffalo. He was really nice and actually told me to send him my resume! 

The event felt very fancy, so naturally, I was intimidated. I would say there were about 50 people there. So it was a pretty small event. Everyone knew each other. I was nervous but Erin, Beth and Mike introduced me to half the room! They made me feel a lot more comfortable as the night went on. I actually think I did a great job networking. Mike, Erin and Beth all said really nice things about me as they were introducing me to people, so that helped a lot! Overall, I think the night was a huge success for me because while I mentioned I was graduating from Canisius in December and looking for jobs, I also talked to people about somewhat personal things aside from the obvious questions like, “So what do you do?” or “Where do you work?” I learned that professionals are people too. Since I am easily intimidated by people, it is not always easy to see professionals as “regular” people… but they are! Everyone I met was so genuine and encouraging. The whole night I kept saying to myself, “Just be yourself.” And I think it worked because people know when you are being genuine and when you are being phony. And people are usually attracted to (and want to help) genuine people.