SJGC PRSSA Students Connect with Professionals at the 2023 ICON Conference  

SJGC Staff
SJGC Staff

The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) announced the 2023 ICON Conference, which took place at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The conference, held October 13-17, attracted nearly 1,500 professionals and 500 students for an enlightening and memorable experience. 

This year, Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication sent four astounding Public Relations students, representing the FAMU chapter of PRSSA, to the conference to network with public relations professionals, educators, and other PRSSA student members from across the country.  Germanie Bozeman, Widnise Vilna, Joshua Morain, and Jarvis Coleman attended the conference. FAMU PRSSA chapter advisor, Dr. Huang Hsuan, who has shown great guidance to these emerging public relations professionals on their future career paths also accompanied the group  

Organized by PRSA Senior Vice President of Programs Jeneen Garcia and the PRSSA chapter at Memphis University, the Icon conference exceeded FAMU public relations students’ expectations.  

Senior attendee, Widnise Vilna, described the ICON conference as a fantastic opportunity for professional development.  

“I enjoyed being around other PRSSA members” says Vilna. “I got to connect, sit in on great conversations, and met public relations professionals in different industries of PR who spoke about the importance of PR.” .  

Vilna says young professionals are the future of a new age of communication” 

As professional sessions discussed diversity, equity and inclusion, crisis communication, the evolution of artificial intelligence, and even the transition from collegiate chapters to local city chapters, they were extremely informative and educational amongst young campus leaders.  The diverse participation of PRSSA and PRSA chapters around the United States allowed attendees to learn, grow, and take away key insights for the betterment of their own chapters. 

Students attended various panels hosted by guest speakers, such as the ESPN Director of Communications Amanda Brooks, Senior Vice President at FleishmanHillard Thomas Bennett, DEI advocate Tiara Tucker, and more. Each professional contributed their unique insights to the ever-evolving field of public relations.  

National board member of PRSA, Thomas Bennett, expressed his appreciation for the engagement with emerging student leaders. 

 “It was also great to listen and engage with several students to hear and learn from them about their excitement and interest in the PR profession. Additionally, it was great to connect with our PRSA Black Voices Affinity Group members, allies, and those who attended HBCUs and who are members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.” 

The 2023 Icon Conference left an influential mark on attendees, equipping them with not only knowledge but also a network of industry contacts. When the FAMU PRSSA executive board members returned to campus, they shared their perspectives and passion for public relations with their classmates. 

As the public relations landscape continues to evolve, events like ICON serve as stepping stones that guide students toward a future of innovation, collaboration, and success. 

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