By Dani Ganley

In the communications field, it can feel like there are a million paths to take. I feel like this idea rings true especially for students entering the public relations and communications field.

So, it was fitting that Sharon Barbano, Head of Public Relations for Saucony, was at the 2017 PRSSA National Conference in Boston to help us find our “#PRStrong.”

The strategies that Barbano shared are applicable to anyone trying to find their “PR strong.” Here are her seven strategies, along with some of my personal key takeaways, that Barbano shared during her talk:

  1. Purpose – 110% Fulfillment

First, find your purpose. Barbano said “Purpose is the foundation of finding your strong.” Ask yourself, “What’s been a common thread throughout my life? What do I care about? What gets me out of bed in the morning?” When you ask yourself these questions, it allows you to center in on what drives you. Even Philip Kotler, who coined the “4 Ps of marketing,” added “purpose” as a fifth “P.” Just as a company succeeds when it has the interest of employees and customers in mind and aligned with their business, a person will too.

  1. Possibility – Your 4-Minute Mile

Success and failure begin and end in what the mind believes is possible. At one time, it wasn’t believed that a 4-minute mile was even possible… Now, it’s almost routine for runners. If you don’t believe something is possible, it probably isn’t, but only because you’re thinking that way.

  1. Presence – How You Show Up

Own your moment and always have an air of gravitas. If your presence doesn’t make an impact, your absence won’t make a difference.

  1. Planning – Be First, Best or Different

Barbano recalled when she began her career at Saucony, they relied on a reactive communications strategy. So, she had to change the model and figure out how they were going to be first, best or different. This can be applied to our own careers, especially for New Pros and graduates entering the workforce—how are you first, best or different?

  1. The “B” of the Bang – Anticipate

Barbano shared how British sprinter Linford Christie said that he started his races not merely at the “bang” of the starting pistol, but at “the ‘B’ of the Bang.” So, when you’re pushing out content, you have to be able to push it out at the right time—it’s all about anticipation.

  1. Perseverance – Refuse to Quit

In whatever we do, it is crucial to persevere. This goes hand in hand with possibility—success and failure may begin and end with what we think is possible, but even if we keep an open mind, possibility is nothing without perseverance.

  1. Passionate Belief – Inspire

Being that we were in Boston, Bobbi Gibb’s story of passionate belief was the perfect one to share. As the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, when women were prohibited from running more than 1.5 miles, her unshakeable passionate belief was what catapulted her across the finish line and is a spirit to bear in mind in our own experiences. “As your beliefs go,” Barbano said, “So does your behavior.”

In the end, she reminded us, “You can be great or you can be exceptional,” it all comes down to what you do with the abilities you have.

I was able to attend this year’s PRSSA National Conference and learn from dozens of great professionals like Barbano, thanks to the support of PRSA Phoenix and am so grateful to have had the opportunity.

Dani Ganley

Dani Ganley is a senior at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, pursuing a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in public relations. She is also working towards a minor in tourism development and a certificate in sales and marketing essentials. She is slated to graduate in December 2017. Dani has worked as a public relations intern at Fingerpaint Marketing since January 2017 and has held several public relations and marketing internships with companies including Visit Mesa, red balloon inc. and the Shine Project.

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