The W2O Center for Social Commerce celebrated its fifth anniversary with a keynote presentation tonight in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium. Speakers included founder and CEO of W2O Group, Jim Weiss as well as W2O Group President Jennifer Gottlieb and Director of Corporate Communications at IBM Alberto Canal.
I found the panel moderated by Principal Gary Grates to be very informative. Weiss, Gottlieb and Canal offered unique perspectives on various topics. Needless to say, these professionals had a lot of expertise to share. Overall, Social Commerce Days offer a unique opportunity for Newhouse students.
However, as Weiss noted tonight, the center has the potential to expand beyond the public relations department and beyond Newhouse. I felt that this idea was an important takeaway from the presentation. As I thought about this idea more, I realized how much majors in Whitman and the iSchool could benefit from the Center for Social Commerce. Throughout the evening, I realized that when Weiss speaks, people listen. And he has some incredible things to say.
His lessons, though simple, were groundbreaking in my eyes. He offers a fresh perspective on so many topics. He commented on the ineffectiveness of voicemails. Often times, people are complimented for picking up the phone. But Weiss is right, leaving a voicemail doesn’t get the job done.
Another simple lesson of Weiss’s: do what you say you’re going to do. As he mentioned this piece of advice, I realized how simple yet overlooked this basic human action was. People rarely follow through, and I think Weiss proved that this practice does not work in the public relations world.
Weiss spoke about fear tonight. He said to embrace fear. When I think of embracing my fears, I think about riding a rollercoaster; I despise heights. However, I started to think about fear in terms of a professional context. I am not a numbers girl. So big data terrifies me. However, as a result of the analytics workshop presented on Wednesday night, I feel like I can better tackle this aspect of public relations. Data can be scary, but interpreting it in the correct way can be formative in a public relations strategy.
Tonight, I could not stop smiling. I realized how fortunate I am to attend Newhouse. Committed alumni like Weiss, Gottlieb and Grates allow this school to remain at the forefront of the communications industry. When I leave this school, I know that I will be prepared with the best tools. I will be able to say that not only did I learn from some incredible professors, but I also learned from the most talented professionals in the industry.
I recently became an ambassador for the Center for Social Commerce with W2O Group. In a few weeks, I will be attending SXSW. This summer, I will intern at the W2O Group New York office on the corporate and strategy team. I am so fortunate, and I have so many incredible people to thank. Social Commerce Days made me energized. These panels and workshops reminded me of why I enjoy public relations so much. I have a feeling that over the next few months I will not be able to stop pinching myself because all of this is no longer my dream but my reality. I must say, I have never been more excited about the future.