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An Unexpected Collaboration

Drake PRSSA Chapter

When senior public relations major Kelly Tafoya learned that Drake had been chosen to host a regional conference of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) next spring, she and her classmates knew they couldn’t organize such a monumental event alone.

“It was exciting and kind of terrifying,” Tafoya recalls.

Luckily, there’s been no shortage of help. Forty-five students have rallied behind Drake’s PRSSA chapter to organize the conference, which will be held April 10–11, 2015. And that’s not all: These Drake students have already secured a knockout set of speakers from innovative companies, thanks in large part to the generosity of Drake alumni. Katy Lachky Michael, JO’03, from Crocs; Tiffany Shaheen, JO’07, from Walt Disney Company; and Tanner Stransky, JO’05, from HBO, are among those who have agreed to participate.

“Watching this build from the ground up has been amazing,” says Tafoya. “It started with just three of us, and I’m inspired by what Drake can do when we all pull together.”

The conference, themed “Expect the Unexpected,” will focus on the importance of adaptability in the PR industry. That’s a perfect fit for Drake’s PRSSA members, who want to show PR students from the Midwest that Des Moines has rapidly grown into one of the most celebrated havens for young professionals and families.

Their passion for the city motivated them to host the conference at the Renaissance Des Moines Savery Hotel downtown, rather than on campus. And it’s a passion for Des Moines, and for Drake, that brings loyal alumni back to share their wisdom with college students from across the Midwest.

“What I think is so cool is that the alumni we reached out to don’t know us,” says Taylor Rookaird, senior public relations major. “But because we have Drake in common, they are willing to give up a weekend of their life to come back to Des Moines and speak at the conference.”

Visit http://unexpecteddsm.com to learn more about the conference and register.