Ciao ed io speri che stiate avendo un grande giorno!

I am just practicing my Italian. :) In just about a month, I will be heading to Milan, Italy to present at the annual Reputation Institute Conference.  This is by far one of my favorite conferences to go to, and I am really looking forward to networking and meeting fellow professionals in the field of reputation management. The paper I am presenting on is with Kristin and my two friends and crisis/risk communication colleagues, Kathleen Vidoloff and Gina Eosco.  This presentation is the full proof-of-concept model we created to determine what makes a “good” crisis message to appear on social media.  Each of us contributed to the project, and what was great was the fact that we had someone from PR, one from Systems Engineering, one from Health and Risk Comm, and the other from Weather and Risk Communications.  We all brought our perspectives to the table from our various fields, which translated into a very interesting and transdisciplinary research collaboration.

This will be my first time to Italy – so I am very excited about it.  Milan is a city filled with wonderful art and culture, fashion (of course!), cuisine, and history. There are just so many places to see and do – I will have to make sure to take advantage of some of the main attractions and sights, and of course sample the wonderful cuisine and coffee!  I am particularly looking forward to exploring the fashion in Milan – it will be exciting to see a place that is known for its beauty, cutting edge fashion, and global influence in style and elegance.

When I was in Cape Town, I had the chance to talk with the fashion director for Prada in Milan. Prada has a special place for me not only for being the first luxury brand I ever got, but also has a strong memory for me in my professional career.  I was working for Total Media (my second day on the job) and I was working on a client project where it was a boutique that was launching the Prada line for the first time in South Africa in Cape Town.  I remember I was asked by my boss at the time to contact Prada and she handed me this long number.  First, I thought that it was for the Prada office in South Africa, and she said “No – this is the main line to Prada in Milan, Italy.”  I remember distinctly how excited and thrilled I was to have the opportunity to do this – this was probably one of the  turning points for me in my internship.  To have the opportunity to talk with the leading fashion director for Prada was life changing and a memory I will always have as a fashion enthusiast, blogger, and PR professional. :)

One of the great things about being involved in research and practice in PR is the opportunity to travel and present at international conferences.  While you are able to formulate new relationships and networking opportunities, you have the chance to enhance your knowledge base in the field and bringing in various perspectives to your own research and practice.  In addition, it is also an opportunity to learn and see another culture.  I have encouraged both graduate students and undergraduate students to explore opportunities abroad both in research and internships. These are truly life changing opportunities. EdelmanKetchum, and Fleishman-Hillard have some great opportunities for students to participate in – definitely good to check out for internship opportunities.

I am truly looking forward to my time in Milan next month during the Reputation Institute Conference.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,

Karen