Author: Kevin Law

“The Forest is dark, dearie, The Forest is dark; The moment you think that you’re lost in the woods, then you are. Do not lose your way, dearie, Do not lose your way; The monsters are lurking not far from the path should you stray.” – Emory R. Frie.

We all can admit that it is a year full of heebie-jeebies, but the most beautiful thing is we “kinda” figured out not to lose our ways and get where we are today. We want you to come to the PRSSA’s Enchanted Spring Gala to laugh, enjoy, and disclose the mystery!

Gala means festive celebration and an opportunity to build personal or professional relationships with your peers, advisors, and someone who can help you grow or grow with you. This type of occasion may be new to you, or you feel intimidated. That’s okay. It does not mean that you need to go all out of your comfort zone. As long as you feel comfortable and have a wonderful experience with it, that is all that matters. If you keep on reading, this blog post will provide you with enough information and hopefully give you a sense of ease and excitement.

We have a wonderful opportunity to interview Kristine Pham, the VP of Events, and Elyssa Ruiz, the VP of Professional Development. Elyssa has been to PRSSA’s Spring Gala before and a few more with PRSA and other organizations. While Kristine and her committee are the backbones of making the Gala happen. This is what they had to say about the Gala.

Kristine Pham | VP of Events 

What is going to happen at the Gala?

At the Gala, we will commemorate any graduating seniors and honor PRSSA members for getting through this year. This year’s gala is finally coming back in person, and it is just like an event where we could come together, build more relationships, celebrate all of our achievements together with food and drinks, a beautiful balloon arch with the photo booth, and hear from our PR professional as well.

What is the timeline of the Gala?

The Gala starts from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m at the Titan Student Union, Pavilion A. The doors will close at 7:30 p.m. The guests can get appetizers, food, and drinks and find somewhere to sit with friends. The venue is decorated as an enchanted forest.

How did you come out with the enchanted forest theme?

When it comes to planning events, the first thing is to think about the color palette. I like sage green as the theme, so what goes with that? White, gold, and beige. Then what would match with all that? Enchanted forest vibes! Boom that is kind of it.

What are you most excited about the Gala?

Having the opportunity to celebrate our achievements this year and the time to wind down from this hectic semester. I am also very excited to hear from Dean Bey-Ling Sha. She is an icon.

Who are the guest speakers?

The dean of the college of communication, Dr. Bey-Ling Sha. She is very well-known in the communication world. So I am excited to hear encouraging words from her and whatever she will share. We will have our faculty advisor, Ken Hagihara, share a few words as well.

What is the dress code?

Business Casual. You can also dress up, go formal, semi-formal, or wear a gown. But it is up to the guest essentially.

What is the benefit of attending the Gala? 

You will hear from our guest speakers and meet the new executive board members. I think it will be an incredible experience to meet them, build relationships with them, and hear what they might have planned for next year.

Elyssa Ruiz | VP of Professional Development

How is your experience attending the gala in general?

They’re a lot of fun, but you have to go a little out of your way to network with people since you will sit at a table. You get to see your peers dressed up for more upscale events. Also, it’s just fun to celebrate the accomplishments you’ve had throughout your semester or with your peers.

What are the tips for establishing professional relationships during the Gala?

Get your Linkedin profile ready with the QR code. This is a pretty good option for getting to network with people quickly. Or, if you have time to order business cards, or if you already have business cards, I would say just keep them on hand and hand them out as you network.

What is the etiquette for the Gala?

In all networking scenarios, you need to take note of your environment. If people are communicating and there seems to be a more personal conversation, it might not be a great opportunity to jump into that conversation. But usually, you can tell if people are more open, like a circle of people. Another thing is the dress code. Don’t feel like you need to buy something to join the gala. It’s more so just to hang out with your peers. In terms of other etiquettes, just make sure you’re aware of the surroundings. You don’t necessarily want to jump in and derail their conversation if people are talking. It’s better just to wait your turn. Step away to another conversation or move to a different place, and circle back later on if you want to introduce yourself to that person.

What would you do to prepare yourself for the Gala?

Elevator pitch. What will you say if you step into an elevator with someone and want to introduce yourself to this person, and you only have 10 seconds? At the Western District Conference, one of the panelists shared that you should include a purpose statement in your elevator pitch. You should boil down precisely what you want to get out of your career. For example, I would say, “Hi, my name is Elyssa Ruiz. I am a public relations professional, and I am looking for work in the creative field, either photography or graphic design since those are my passion.” Rehearsing is a great help too. I still rehearse what I will say when I’m about to meet someone. So if you have that down for yourself, I think that’ll make you more confident with introducing yourself to other people, especially new people.

How did the Gala experience help you in your professional and personal life?

From my experience, going to the gala, you can connect and talk about things that you might not usually speak with your peers due to the time constraint of the class. Also, it is a great way to break the ice with the people in your class that you have never spoken to because you already have that common thing since you are from the same class.

Favorite moments and memories from the Gala?

Connecting with many great friends at the Gala and taking photos together was an awesome opportunity.

Any last advice?

When you’re stepping into a gala, you’re probably just like a nerd to talk to other people as other people are to speak to you. If you are willing to take that confident first step of introducing yourself, it will make you all the better for it. Also, if you rehearse enough, I think you would be confident to introduce yourself to other people you have never spoken to. Just because any connection can be a good connection, that isn’t to say you always have to be connected to them down the line.