In a new age of technology and social media, certain skills that used to be optional are now recommended and in many cases required.
Networking skills, communication techniques, and business strategies are all constantly changing and evolving and sometimes it can be hard for a student or even an adult to keep up.
In order to help Florida A&M University’s public relations students feel better prepared, FAMU’s Public Relations Student Society of America invited Karee Brennan to speak in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Monday night.
A Hampton graduate, Brennan is the owner of her own sports public relations firm, Six Degrees Consulting.
Brennan has ten years worth of knowledge in the field of public relations. She has a background in print journalism and originally had the goal of writing for the New York Times’ travel section because of her love of traveling. Brennan gave a presentation in which she conveyed her experiences and knowledge of the world to curious students.
“I would say my greatest strength is being able to read people and communicate,” Brennan said. “I’ve had to rely on that.”
After going into business for her self in 2003, Brennan claimed to “never look back.”
She now works with mayoral candidates and sports personalities, including current Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Kenneth “Chucky” Atkins.
In the sports world, Brennan also has to deal with certain amounts of political and social backlash with a few overzealous athletes.
Although she wouldn’t divulge names, Brennan assured the audience that it was a challenge to keep a few of her clients in check.
Brennan also stressed the importance of learning about other cultures. Either through studying abroad, living in another country, or simply walking into an ethnic restaurant, learning to communicate outside of text messages and American speech is of paramount importance.
“See how people interact and relate so you can learn how to communicate,” Brennan said. “A lot of times the things that are not said, are the most important things.”
The students involved obviously enjoyed the insight and wisdom Brennan had to share. Jamell Watson, 23, a public relations graduate student from Winter Park said the experience and presentation was a positive one.
“Ms. Brennan taught me that it’s okay to take a risk,” Watson said. “The thing I took from that presentation was that it’s okay to step out there and not be afraid of failure.”
Brennan stressed the importance of not being afraid of the future or the differences between cultures.
According to Brennan, embracing differences and taking risks, even in this unstable economy, is the only way to have some measure of success.
Ava Jennings, a senior public relations student from Winter Park said she was able to gain a level of self-assurance from the presentation.
“I just learned to not second guess yourself,” Jennings said. “Be confident in yourself. Don’t be close minded and always follow your dreams.”
Brennan’s overall message was one of confidence. Running a sports public relations firm certainly isn’t easy, but her perseverance and determination gave Brennan huge rewards in the end.