Student Run: National President Laura Daronatsy on Leading PRSSA

September 29, 2015

Laura Daronatsy
Laura Daronatsy

As a child, Laura Daronatsy wanted to be a ballerina princess. Eventually, she outgrew that and wanted to become a talk-show host. And now, the 2015–2016 PRSSA national president is a senior at Biola University in Southern California, majoring in public relations and minoring in biblical and theological studies.

At Biola, Daronatsy has been distinguished as a Public Relations Fellow and was recently named the department’s 2015 Outstanding Public Relations Student.

Prior to her term as PRSSA National President, Daronatsy served on the PRSSA National Committee as the publications editor-in-chief and as the managing editor of her university’s newspaper. She’s passionate about mentoring and inspiring young women, and hopes to someday create an online magazine for teen, Christian girls.

In her free time, Daronatsy enjoys adventuring, trying new flavors of salsa and watching “The Office.”

How did you first become interested in public relations?

I was sitting in my college freshman seminar class when I heard my future adviser speak about public relations. She told us that it was a combination of five things: journalism, communication, business, art and psychology. Since those five subjects were the only ones I had considered majoring in, I enrolled in an introductory class and fell in love soon after.

What advice do you have for others for success in PRSSA — how can PR students make the most of their college experience?

Prioritizing will do wonders for your schedule. Figure out what matters most to you — maybe academics, maybe playing a sport or making time for weekly lunches with friends — and order your life around that. Once you determine the core things you care about, the rest has room to fall in place.

Why is there such an interest in public relations and communications these days?

It’s popular because it looks like the “fun job.” Little do the outsiders know — the stress and talent that it takes to do public relations well doesn’t just magically appear.

What tools and technology are most important for you to succeed right now as a student and to carry over into the real world as a professional?

My Calendar app that syncs to my phone and laptop is pretty handy. I also really enjoy an app called CamCard, which lets me take photos of all the business cards I collect. I’m sure both of these technology staples will stick with me through graduation.

How are your professors integrating social media into the classroom experience?

Luckily, my main PR professor, Dr. Carolyn Kim, fully understands the valuable nature of social media. Through her classes, I’ve tweeted out important resources, shared infographics and achieved my Hootsuite Professional Certification.

What are some of your social media habits, and also your daily news sources?

I hate to play favorites, but my favorite social media platform is Instagram. I check it most often for daily devotionals, inspiration and to see what my friends are up to. My daily news sources include The Skimm, PRSA’s Issues & Trends, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

You are an active Twitter user. What are some tips and best practices?

Be professional, but unafraid to show your personality. For example, emojis are sometimes necessary. In my view, Twitter is meant to be fun and witty — but never snarky or sloppy.

What classes or experiences at Biola have prepared you best for the real world?

While my PR classes have been wonderful at preparing me for a job, I would have to say my Bible classes are the ones that have helped me best prepare for life. It’s been so beneficial to my faith and personal development to have the time and space to think about what I truly believe and why.

As far as experiences go, I feel like I’ve hit the college jackpot. I served as a resident adviser during my sophomore year, which turned out to be less about policing students and more about building lifelong friends. My teamwork mentality went from “I prefer to do it myself — thank you” to actually leaning on and depending on my co-workers.

What have you learned from your own internship experiences and what advice do you have for others on how to make the most out of similar work experiences?

I’ve learned that making mistakes is OK — as long as you are brave enough to own up to them and strategic enough to think through how to correct them. My advice to other interns is to be kind, show that you actually care about the position and send a handwritten thank-you note to each co-worker who helps you along the way.

Looking ahead, what do you want to accomplish — what are some of your career goals?

I hope to attend graduate school in a few years at American University, in Washington, D.C. I want to study media entrepreneurship and launch an online magazine for teen, Christian girls. Eventually, I’d like to become a professor and hope to be inducted into the Arthur W. Page Society.

What are you and your classmates and peers talking about right now? And are you worried about the job hunt and life after graduation?

The hot-topic conversations are the upcoming presidential election, how the PR profession is evolving and figuring out how to truly have a work-life balance.

I try not to worry about post-grad life and finding a job, but with only a semester left, it’s a topic that doesn’t stay out of my head for very long.

What makes a good leader? And why did you pursue a role in PRSSA leadership?

I pursued a PRSSA leadership role because I thought that if I really wanted to go into public relations I should start giving 110 percent of myself now. A good leader is someone humble enough to admit she isn’t the smartest person in the room, but wise enough to seek out those who can help her get there.

How do you strengthen the bond between PRSA and PRSSA and make sure that people want to continue their membership?

I think the key is to educate students on the benefits of PRSA. For example, we as a PRSSA National Committee are achieving this by spreading the word about the different PRSA professional sections through our blog, Progressions.

What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received?

“Take your work seriously, but never take yourself too seriously.”

Getting to Know… Laura Daronatsy

Any three dinner guests — past or present?
Abraham Lincoln, Hermione Granger and, of course, Taylor Swift

Favorite movie?
“The Parent Trap”

Favorite thing to do in your downtime?
Explore a new restaurant or area in Los Angeles

Amy Jacques

Amy Jacques is the managing editor of publications for PRSA. A native of Greenville, S.C., she holds a master’s degree in arts journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Georgia’s Grady College and a certificate in magazine and website publishing from New York University.


Chris butler says:

I loved that article, the entire piece is about my cousin.

Oct. 4, 2015

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