It’s an end of an era for me, the 2015-2016 University of Winnipeg PACE student liaison for IABC Manitoba. It’s only fitting that I share a thing or two about why you should be a student liaison. Not only do you get the bragging rights throughout the whole school year, but there are perks that will help in your future career endeavours. I had the opportunity to work with a cool bunch of people, gain experience, and build a bigger professional network.
Here’s my list of reasons why you should be the next student liaison:
1. You make close connections with your classmates
Being a student liaison entails a lot of inviting people. This ultimately motivates you to speak to each and every person in your class. When I first started, I only spoke to people if I had a reason to. I was tasked with inviting my classmates to Professional Development events which I used this as an excuse to chat up my classmates. I was able to use my communication skills to get the word out, while also strengthening my networking chops for the next mixer.
2. You get to plan a student event
One opportunity I was given was to plan a networking event for my peers. Not only does it look good on your resume, but you also get the chance to get your name out in the communications industry. This was a responsibility that I was both scared of and ready to take on. In the end, I was able to plan the 2016 (Com)mingle event which drew more than 40 students and professionals combined. I was able to plan every little detail including the venue, invites, and even prizes. On the plus side, the IABC board was very supportive and were always willing to help.
3. You learn skills that are transferrable to your career field
I was able to use my skills in event planning but also had an opportunity to put that I’ve learned in school into use. Some including sponsorship writing, social/digital media marketing, graphic design, networking and budgeting. Some of the skills I’ve used as student liaison did come in useful at my school internship at the end of the year. It’s one thing to learn about these topics in a book, but actually applying it in a real life setting is more valuable and more memorable in the long run!
4. You get to network with top notch communicators in Manitoba!
Last but not least, being the class liaison and a member of IABC gave me the opportunity to get my name out there with future employers. You will be one of the first to know about future PD events which gives you more time to brush up on your networking skills. From these events I was able to make connections with professionals that worked at places such as CBC Manitoba, Canada Games, Parks Canada and so much more. Networking is an integral part of being a communicator and networking with the right people might land you a job! You’ll never know who’s hiring.
Don’t get me wrong, the role has big shoes to fill but you won’t regret a single minute of it. I had fun every step of the way, from beginning to end. This position had helped me come out of my shell and step out of my comfort zone and I have IABC Manitoba to thank for that.
Gisele Fernando is a graduate of the U of W PACE Public Relations, Marketing and Strategic Communications program (’16). She was a student liaison with IABC Manitoba for 2015-2016. One thing she can’t live without is Youtube and you can find her on Twitter @giselefernando