The Best Practices for Public Affairs & Government Relations

Check out the recap of PRSA- Young Professional’s  first event of 2011

Speakers:
-Sara Costin, VP at Consensus Inc.
-Michelle Vega, VP at Edelman
-Eneida Talleda, VP at Hill & Knowlton
-Alfredo Lee, AE at VPE Public Relations

YP PRSA LA held our first meeting last week  at Hill & Knowlton. Our panelists have experience in government, non-profit and public affairs.

Government cuts has made for difficult times and interesting opportunities. Prior to the economy crashing and funding coming to a halt, the government had plenty of funding for public affairs projects and PR. Sara, who works on nation wide transportation and metro projects detailed how the former massive budgets for projects has been cut in half. Many clients still expect the same amount of work, if not double for half the pay.

Michelle explained that this is where the creative aspect of PR is key, to make projects just as effective as before. It also opens up new opportunities such as working on pension plans for government employees. Meghan made it clear that no matter the budget on a project, you must focus on the client’s bottom line. Her experience working in a government job then transitioning to a corporate position provided her with knowledge to connect with the community and engage the stakeholders.

Alfredo has a plethora of information about his experience with social media while working on campaigns in education, with government groups, even providing on call support for Prop 8. For each campaign, he discussed the need to have a strategy, ways to approach the public and engaging in dialogue.

After covering positives and negatives of working in public affairs and government relations in the last few years, the panelists shared some helpful information and advice. Michelle advised always staying on top of current affairs and what is going on locally, nationally and internationally- this will always help you position yourself with your audience. Sara believes that patience is key if you want to work in this field. Mostly importantly, love what you are doing- try different positions, new companies, and a variety of sectors until you find what best suites you because when you enjoy your work, you’ll always be more successful.

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