Last month at the 2010 Fall Leadership Conference hosted by Georgia Southern’s Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement I got the opportunity to learn many different aspects on how to become a good leader. As a public relations practitioner I believe that it is necessary to have leadership skills in order to help your client progress and make the right business decisions in the glaring eyes of the media.

The leadership conference was very beneficial and I learned a lot of new things about leadership but the most important part of the entire experience for me was getting to meet Fred Stokes. For some that may not know, Fred Stokes is a GSU alumni. He played football for GSU and then went on to win a superbowl championship with the Redskins. Fred Stokes was our keynote speaker at the FLC (Fall Leadership Conference) and his message was inspirting. We also got the opportunity to learn more about Mr. Stokes during one of the smaller sessions during the day.

Through this smaller session I learned that Mr. Stokes not only went around speaking at different high schools and colleges but he also has a childrens ranch in Vidalia Georgia. Fred Stokes and his staff mentor the young adolescents of Vidalia and help them reach their dreams and realize their goals. While listening to him speak I realized how interesting his work was and how I wanted to learn more.

After the program I walked up to Mr. Stokes and shook his hand, my organization and I took a few photos and I asked for his business card. As soon as I got home I sent a thank you message from our organization with the pictures that we took attached (I love technology) but furthermore, and most importantly, I sent him my own personal message. Basically, I sold myself through an email and told him how interested I was in working with his ranch and doing some interning as a PR practitioner. Mr. Stokes contacted me and says that he might have a position for me this summer!!

Through this experience I have learned that as a PR practitioner it is so important to take the initiative and put yourself out their. Public relations is all about selling the product and I believe that a good practitioner must first be good at selling themselves. So my advice to my fellow upcoming practitioners: Practice on selling yourself before you attempt to get a job selling somehting/someone else! 🙂


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