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PR students return from NYC with big ideas … and advice from The Donald

Stay focused. Think big. Keep your momentum. Hire the best. Dont turn down opportunity. Create your own luck by working harder.

Sure, youve heard many of these phrases before, but its different when youve heard them straight from The Donald. Just ask Debra Matthews and Elizabeth Dobson.
Stay focused. Think big. Keep your momentum. Hire the best. Don't turn down opportunity. Create your own luck by working harder.

Sure, you've heard many of these phrases before, but it's different when you've heard them straight from The Donald. Just ask Debra Matthews and Elizabeth Dobson.

Matthews, who will graduate with a master's in corporate communication this December, and Dobson, a junior who transferred to APSU from Volunteer State Community College, heard America's most famous entrepreneur speak at the 2004 Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) National Conference in Manhattan.

Trump appeared before the group to discuss how PR pulled him out of his early-90s slump.

“He taught me that understanding self-interest is not a bad thing,” says Matthews. “He said, ‘If your enemy targets you, get them back. The next time that they target you, they won't target you so hard.' He also said that you should understand when you have lost your momentum, since momentum is what you need to make things happen for you.

“And finally, he said that if you don't have anything upstairs, you'd better ask your wife or someone else, because you can't succeed if you are dumb.”

However, Trump was only one of a host of PR superstars who spoke and mingled with PRSSA attendees. Speakers included Larry King, Ms. America Ericka Dunlap, Ron Roecker, vice president of of communications and brand awareness for The Recording Academy, IBM's Harvey Greisman, Wall Street Journal writer Ron Alsop, NYC & Co. Director of Corporate Communications Lisa Mortman, Scholastic Publishing Associate Director of Publicity Elizabeth Eulberg, Mark Newman of Hunter Public Relations, The Celebrity Source President Rita Tateel, Terrie Williams, Betsy Plank of Betsy Plank Public Relations and John W. Felton, retired president of The Institute of Public Relations.

The experts weighed in on everything from brand management and non-profit organizations to food-based PR and how to convince celebrities to endorse your cause.

One of the presentations that really grabbed Matthews' and Dobson's attention was
Brigham Young University's program on “How to Have Success with a Student-Run PR Firm.” The two women have been inspired to join the other six member of the PRSSA's executive team in establishing a student-run firm at APSU by Fall 2005—just in time for the group's second anniversary on campus.

The conference, “Success and the City: Framing the Future of Public Relations,” also offered chapter-to-chapter advice on fundraising, chapter development, recruitment and leadership.

“I have had a wonderful experience at APSU studying, working, interning, collaborating and helping to establish our PRSSA chapter as one that will bring its members to a place where we can perfect the profession for the future,” says Matthews.

APSU's PRSSA is seeking professional and faculty advisers to help establish a student-run firm on campus. The chapter meets at 4:15 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 11, in UC 310. The group's adviser is Dr. Frank Parcells, professor of communication.
—Rebecca Mackey