Everyone has to start somewhere…

Hi all! Welcome to my first blog review of PR events in Ottawa. I am the current president of the University of Ottawa Public Relations Association (uOPRA) and am also studying the program itself. A healthy appetite for risk-taking, effortless networking, and expertise of new content are traits of the profession we as public relations students strive to embody. I seek to showcase the good, the bad and the ugly of the PR industry through reviews and articles. I hope to promote my city, my school and new definitions of Public Relations through uOPRA channels. We cannot move forward if we do not understand the career we love so much!

I joined uOPRA in 2011 when it was in its baby stages first deciding which direction it would go. This venture of working with equally ambitious students and combating the juggling act of a social and academic life taught us all (and still teaches us) about trial and error, the necessity of reliable people, and self-preservation. When I was VP social from 2011 to 2013, I learned quickly how easy it is to plan the event and how poor execution can be the downfall to great ideas. The success of something as special as uOPRA is dependent on the collective effort that each member puts in. As the 2012-2013 school year came to an end, many of uOPRA’s executive members had graduated and moved onto other opportunities. Having a program that lasts two and a half years at one institution (uOttawa) and two at another (Algonquin College) certainly makes time go by fast. As the tide changed, newly like-minded and PR-oriented executive members were recruited (Maya McDonald – Executive Media Relations, Nani Moleko – Executive Secretary, Amanda Kirkpatrick – Executive Social and Tammy Lim – Executive Finance) and I am excited for everything we have to offer.

If you’re curious, there’s a lot of experimentation going on with uOPRA. Keep reading our blogs to find out, we promise we’ll deliver the goods. It all started when we began branding and putting our name out there. I sent out an email at the beginning of the year to the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) about possible collaborations with their local chapter and to my delight I received a phone call from the Director of Education, Tracey Baker. Tracey does not work in the Ottawa chapter office; she is a director from the CPRS national office, which spoke volumes for me. She had mentioned possible volunteer opportunities for the upcoming CPRS national conference located in Ottawa this year and I jumped on the chance to help out and see where it would lead me.

So here begins my series of the conference review. I attended Conversations 2013 to get my feet wet and I discovered a little more. I was excited; so excited that I made a cheat sheet of all the speakers and topics that I wanted to listen in on. By the end of the conference, I had a better understanding of conferences and the need for great delivery. Keep reading for further reflections of Conversations 2013.

Sharon Cheung
President, uOPRA