Former public relations professor returns to lead PRSSA meeting

CSUN’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) invited guest speaker, Dr. Lori Baker-Schena, to address a lecture on Tuesday.

“Finding your passion in your 20s,” said Baker-Schena. “Your 20s need to be crazy. Push out the fear and figure out what you really want to do with your life.”

Baker-Schena, the founder and chief executive officer of Baker-Schena Communications, who is also a former CSUN professor, shared her experiences, and gave CSUN students five tips to get ready for their public relations careers.

“Take advantage of your student status to explore career possibilities,” said Baker-Schena. “Participate in internships, shadow professionals and join professional networking groups.”

She advises students to prepare their resume and cover letter now, and create their own personal websites and order business cards. They should start with a professional Gmail account, take a serious look at their internet footprint and start finding someone to mentor them.

“Your first job does not mean you are committed to one career path,” said Baker-Schena.

The lecture was heard by 80 students in the West Valley Room at the University Student Union. Most of them were public relations majors. Some of the attendees were Dr. Baker-Schena’s former students. They brought gifts and flowers for their former professor.

“Be proud of your achievements,” said Baker-Schena. “Don’t beat yourself up for your failures. Let go of your fear and self-doubt. Strive for your happiness.”

Baker-Schena also encouraged students to do three things with their life. The first, was removing the word “but” from their vocabulary and using “and” instead.

“I want to be a dancer,” said Baker-Schena. “And I will be a dancer. The second one is stop finding excuses for yourself.”

The last thing she asked students to stop doing is comparing themselves to others.

“Keep doing these for a week,” said Baker-Schena. “You will find yourself much happier. Be yourself. Own your own journey.”

Baker-Schena finished off her lecture with an open Q&A, interacting with students and giving them advice.

“Lori says what every teacher should be telling you,” said Stacy Long, professor of Public Relations. “Which is find your passion, be brave, do something amazing in your 20s and don’t be afraid to fail.”

Last year, Baker-Schena Communications expanded their services on motivational speaking, medical writing and leadership consulting. There is one powerful theme in their services – unleashing your potential through the power of words.

“[The speech] was very inspirational and informational,” said Chardanay Crowder, public relations major. “She really brought up a lot of good points and made you want to go for your dreams. You always hear so much negative things about the workforce but she turned everything positive. It was very refreshing. I got a better understanding of PR, and it’s everywhere you want to be.”

Dr. Baker-Schena’s lecture concluded with non-stop applause.

“It’s wonderful to be back at Cal. State Northridge and see all these enthusiastic public relations students,” said Baker-Schena. “I want to tell them that [it] is important to follow their passion, and they can be anything they want to be. Just takes hard work.”