Student Insights from Careers 101

By Nneka Van Gronigen

The jump from college to career can be unnerving, but PPRA’s Careers 101 event caters to college students looking to learn how they can make the transition smoother. PPRA held this year’s Careers 101 event at Drexel University.


As a Drexel student and president of Drexel’s PRSSA chapter, I had the opportunity to see this event from its planning stage to its fruition, and was amazed at the efforts required to secure an appropriate space, as well as recruit a strong panel and moderator. During the event, we heard exceptional insights from professionals who graduated in the last couple of years, showing us that we aren’t too far off from professional life.

Students from several local universities were present, including LaSalle and Temple, as well as PPRA members, which was great for making new connections and maintaining old ones.

Professional headshots by Modern Luxe Photography were available, and it felt like middle school picture day all over again. Knowing the value of a professional picture, I upgraded my LinkedIn profile and obviously sent a copy to my mom.

Attendees also had the option to get their resumes critiqued by a PPRA member who gave fresh perspectives and edits from an employer standpoint.


The panelists shared insights on networking, interviewing and being the “newbies” in the workforce. Rachel Christie, a panelist, reminded us “It’s okay to ask questions. Don’t make assumptions.”
Some key takeaways from the panelists included:

  • Get a mentor and some internships. These connections will make you stand out to employers.
  • Be yourself in the interview. You’ll be happy knowing that you’re comfortable in your environment and that the role fits who you are.
  • Networking can be nerve racking, but do it! Bring a friend if that makes you more comfortable and research the attendees before you go.
  • Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a job. There are a lot of reasons it didn’t work out — and the reason may just be that someone else was a better fit for that specific job.
  • Handwrite personal thank you notes. In the digital world it shows that you valued the person enough to spend time writing and mailing a thank you note.
    The panel concluded with a raffle of some valuable networking and informational interview opportunities. I was excited to win a breakfast with Matt Cabrey, Executive Director of Select Greater Philadelphia. Other prizes included admission to PPRA events, shadowing opportunities and more. The panelists and attendees ended the night with networking and refreshments.
    Overall, Careers 101 provided attendees with great resources, including headshots, resume critiques, networking and excellent tips from a relatable panel.

Nneka Van Gronigen is a junior at Drexel University and president of Drexel’s PRSSA chapter.

#PPRAMemberMonday: Dr. Bill Cowen

#PPRAMEMBERMONDAY_Bill CowenTwitter: @drbillcowen, @metrospective


PPRA Member “since dial-up internet?!”


PPRA: Dr. Cowen, tell us about your background and your current job.

BC: As a proud, longtime friend of PPRA and a Past-President, I am a global PR consultant, university professor, and leadership coach who has successfully served top agencies, Fortune 100 corporations, nonprofits, entrepreneurial ventures, and academia. I am President and owner of Metrospective Communications LLC, a Philadelphia-headquartered PR and strategic communications agency. I am also co-founder and a two-term Past-President of PR Boutiques International, the world’s first network for boutique PR organizations. For many years, I have been a member of the Communication faculty at Villanova University, where I am director of the PR program. In addition, I actively support numerous charitable organizations in and around the city.


PPRA: What projects are you working on right now?

BC: Everything from individual brand consulting to full scale campaigns in a variety of industries internationally.


PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?

BC: In all my years in PR, I have never had the same day twice. I am always energized by the fact that we get to use both business and creative strategy together in every moment.


PPRA: What was your latest and greatest accomplishment?

BC: I am so pleased that I will be inducted into the PPRA Hall of Fame on May 24. I can’t wait to see everyone for the big industry celebration, which in so many ways speaks to the power of PPRA, and all of our work collectively in this exciting market.


PPRA: What one piece of advice would you give to your fellow PR pros?

BC: PR is a strategic necessity. Let’s all be proud of who we are and what we do. The world would not move forward without us.


PPRA: What book or movie could you read or watch again and again?

BC: I love the movie Pleasantville.


PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

BC: All of our wonderful pocket parks in Bella Vista.


PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

BC: Love them… but trying not to lately. They don’t mix well with the gym.

How the NFL Draft is Leaving Its Mark in Philadelphia


NFL Draft Day preparations on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. PPRA members heard the details of preparing for 200,000 football fans and extensive press coverage.

By Clarissa Ford

PPRA members recently heard Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau  (PHLCVB) Director of Communications Alethia Calbeck outline plans to position and publicize the city during the upcoming National Football League  Draft.

With nearly 200,000 fans expected, the NFL Draft is primed to be one of Philadelphia’s largest events of the year.

With a little more than three weeks until the draft on Thursday, April 27 through Saturday, April 29, the PHLCVB is working in partnership with Visit Philadelphia and the NFL to create a spectacular experience for fans. Ironically, Philadelphia is the birthplace of the draft, which began here in 1936 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

The 2017 version of the draft,  the league’s largest fan-focused event, will focus on fan experience featuring a free three-day festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with interactive exhibits, ziplining, autograph sessions and more. When draftees are picked, they will walk down the stairs as a symbolic tribute to Rocky.

While the NFL’s goal is to lure fans from both the area and afar, millions more will be exposed to Philadelphia images on telecasts from the draft. With nine NFL teams within a seven-hour drive of the city, Philadelphia is a prime location for the event. Fans are encouraged to get the Fan Mobile Pass to get exclusive access to one of the 3,000 seats on the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps.

It is expected that the draft will bring in $80 million in economic impact for the city. The event supports 26,000 jobs in construction, travel, hospitality and more. In addition to the draft, Philadelphia will enjoy a blockbuster sports weekend with the Penn Relays and two Phillies home games also taking place that weekend.

The PHLCVB is responsible for  fielding social media inquiries about the city from visitors, such as “Where is the best place to get a cheesesteak in the city?” Not only is it working towards creating positive tourist experiences, but also crafting positive messages about modern Philadelphia — a city much more vibrant than anyone could have imagined when the 1936 NFL Draft took place here!

Clarissa Ford, a PPRA Associate Member, is a Temple University junior studying Strategic Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Sport Management.

#PPRAMemberMonday: David Brown




PPRA member for 10+ years

PPRA: David, tell us about your background and your current job.

DB: I have helped guide the strategic direction for non-profit and other mission-focused organizations throughout my 40 year career.  I am currently the Assistant Professor of Instruction in the School of Media and Communication at Temple University. Previously, I served as the Executive Director of the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC) – a nonprofit focused on child literacy by opening and operating previously closed public elementary school libraries. I am also Founder of The Marketing Collaborative – a non-profit that provides strategic marketing services to other Philadelphia non-profits.

PPRA: Who are your clients and what projects are you working on right now?

DB: In my practice managing the Marketing Collaborative, we’re working with Philadelphia Academies, a nonprofit serving public high school students; Lancaster General Health System, helping with their outreach to the African American community around advance care planning; and Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) in their first-ever Minecraft Marathon to support advocacy efforts for children.

At Temple, we just commemorated my 40th year in public relations with a program called 40 Hours of Service. We selected four students to join me in donating 10 hours of service to four nonprofits in support of their respective missions. (Here’s a link to the story: Temple PR Professor Celebrates 40 Years in the Field)

PPRA: What is the favorite part about your job?

DB: Using our public relations skills to make a difference in the communities we share.

PPRA: What was your latest and greatest accomplishment at your job?

DB: Commemorating my 10th Anniversary of being selected for the PPRA Hall of Fame in 2007 was pretty cool…but being named a Champion of Change by President Obama and being invited to the White House in 2012 was pretty nifty too…and being awarded the top educator prize by both the PRSA and the National Black Public Relations Society (NBPRS) in the same year (2016) wasn’t too shabby.

PPRA: What one piece of advice would you give to your fellow PR pros?

DB: Be creative in your work and generous with your time.

PPRA: What book or movie could you read or watch again and again?

DB: It’s A Wonderful Life, any time of year…

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

DB: Any stretch of Kelly Drive.

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

DB: Mushrooms wit…

#PPRAMemberMonday: London Faust




Twitter: @londonfaust


PPRA Member since 2014


PPRA: London, tell us about your background and your current job.

LF: I’m a proud graduate of Temple University, which provided me a solid foundation on which to start building a career by allowing me to participate in organizations like PRowl Public Relations, encouraging me to take internships, and teaching me skills in addition to theory. I work as an Account Executive at Bellevue Communications Group, a public relations firm in Center City that specializes in crisis communication and government relations. In my spare time, I love to learn and am taking classes towards a Certificate in Digital Advertising. I also enjoy exploring Philadelphia on foot and by bike, experimenting with recipes (which usually ends poorly) and spending time with people who make me laugh.


PPRA: What projects are you working on right now?

LF: Some big things for me are:

The Reading Terminal Market Party for the Market – I helped to coordinate media coverage for the annual fundraising gala, which took place on February 25 .

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences – Mid-Atlantic Chapter, which hosts the annual Mid-Atlantic Emmys, has events and announcements coming up that I’m helping to facilitate.

I handle social media and advertising for a couple of clients – Waverly Heights Retirement Community and the Occupational Training Center of Burlington County – so that always keeps me busy.


PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?

LF: Since I work in an agency, it’s something different every day. I certainly never get bored. The company is also on the smaller side, so we’re always working together and I probably get more opportunities here than I would at a larger company.


PPRA: What was your latest and greatest accomplishment?

LF: In January, I pitched and placed a story in the Inquirer and Daily News that also got picked up by the Associated Press. You can read it here: Children’s Scholarship Fund earns kudos.


PPRA: What one piece of advice would you give to your fellow PR pros?

LF: Don’t take yourself too seriously.


PPRA: What book or movie could you read or watch again and again?

LF: The Breakfast Club.


PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

LF: Washington Square Park.


PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

LF: American cheese with mushrooms (I’m prepared for the torches and pitchforks after admitting that).