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Leading your peers is no easy task. I’ve learned this the hard way.  During the school year, I work for Allen Hall Public Relations as the firm director. It has been a very challenging year with many unanticipated hurdles. I am so grateful for the opportunity and for all I have learned.

This past weekend, we celebrated our 10-year anniversary by throwing a banquet for our alumni, current members and faculty members. It was a lovely event and a joy to see alumni and to celebrate a successful year with our current members. We also took time to honor several of our founding members who were in attendance including: Lisa Page, Erica Pereira Kuber and Kelli Matthews.

Emily Olson, Sarah Lilly and me. Love these girls!

Sarah Lilly, Emily Olson, Mason Hughes and me. Thank you Mason for all your hard work to make this event a success!

Sarah Lilly and me. We’ve been friends since freshman year and have gone through the whole PR program together. What a blessing to have a good friend in college.

Me, Kelli Matthews (our advisor) and Lynn Hector (assistant firm director). This is the team that makes things happen! Thank you to Kelli for all her guidance over the years. Thank you Lynn for your friendship and for all your hard work this year.

Me with Tracy Tierney, the assistant firm director from the 2006-2007 school year. She is the one who hired me and believed in me while I was only a freshman!

Thank you to everyone who came. During the event, I had the privilege to speak. Here is the speech I delivered:

Once again, good evening. First of all, I’d like to thank our sponsors who helped make this evening possible. Thank you to the Ulum Group, The School of Journalism and Communication and Cawood.

Andrew Carnegie once said, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision; the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

Here at the U of O, it’s no news flash that we’re obsessed with sports. Although I am someone who has little hand eye coordination, only runs when chased and couldn’t do a pull up if my life depended on it, I’ve never felt out of place in my four years here.

Like many PR students, I found a home at AHPR. It was in my experiences as student member of AHPR, where I learned the value of teamwork. Here there are a variety of individuals all from very different backgrounds. Each year, I continue to be blessed and impressed by my fellow students.

When it’s 9 o’clock at night and you’ve just had a setback, it’s a teammate who brings everyone together to press on toward the goal. It’s a commitment to excellence that will have us up way too late because one last revision could make it that much better. We may not be winning the PAC-10 championship, but we are certainly writing and executing wining campaigns.

Instead of a locker room, we have Duniway.

Instead of a field, we have Allen Hall.

Instead of bench-pressing 250 pounds, we can crank out a press release in an hour.

Instead of muscle milk, we drink coffee.

Instead of morning calisthenics, we wake up and tweet.

Instead of spending hours refining our free throw, we spend hours reading and researching new social media strategies.

Instead of getting tan over summer break, we stay pasty as we crank out work in a cubicle at our internship.

The faculty at the J-School is exceptional. AHPR provides the opportunity to put into practice the theories and principles we are taught in class.

We all have different backgrounds and areas of strength. Working in teams is the nature of our profession and AHPR provides a safe place for students to try this out. There will no doubt be frustrations, a clash of personalities, but when committed to a single goal, a team can achieve success for their client.

As a student in AHPR, I’m so thankful for the willingness of older students and faculty to invest in me.

I am honored to have been apart of AHPR for the last four years. AHPR members have a commitment to excellence and professionalism is humbling.

Thank you to the School of Journalism and Communication for supporting us. Thank you to Dean Gleason. Thank you to Pat Curtin for her wisdom and guidance over the years. We are thankful for your dedication is always asking us the hard questions.

I would specifically like to take this time to acknowledge Kelli Matthews, our ever-trusted advisor whom we know we can count on for anything at anytime. It is her leadership and willingness to DM us back at 10’oclock at night that makes this agency possible. Thank you Kelli for your investment into AHPR. We’d be lost without you. Ladies and gentlemen, Kelli Matthews.