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  • Writer's pictureMarco Ramirez, St. Louis University

PRSA ICON and 2020 Growth

One character whom I loved while growing up was Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) from Scandal who articulated and defended many influential leaders in Washington D.C. and around the country. I chose to study Public Relations in college because of her and I want her knowledge and experience. I would never be bored in the industry because I would be learning and growing in my career. I see PR professionals as the knights of communication. 2020 has been a difficult year with COVID-19 because the pandemic has impacted my last semester of debate and speech, canceled tournaments and events, and I did not have a ceremony for my undergraduate graduation. When I went to Southern Illinois University, I had to fully transition online and many programs and organizations transitioned as well.

I became involved with my university because I wanted to learn more about my profession in Public Relations. I became a part of the National Millenial and Generation Z organization. Not only am I getting the opportunity to network and connect with professionals, but I get to make friends with individuals around the country!

I had the amazing opportunity to attend the virtual 2020 International PRSA ICON Conference in October and I give a big thanks to Bill Imada, Chief Connectivity Officer of IW Group for giving me the scholarship to attend. I knew I wanted to get insider information on Strategic Communication and a highlight from the conference was when I sat in on the Market Communication of The 2020 Census Communications Campaign: An Integrated, Research-Based Approach with Maria Olmedo-Malagon. She is a game-changer and I loved that the government would utilize all forms of PR with small agencies and more. It made me think about how in the future it would be awesome to work with another agency on the account. Other presentations that I attended and loved were: Using Data to Improve Media and Communications Campaigns Results led by Lisa Kiefer; Still Sizzling: How Brands Don’t Simply Survive but Thrive Through Difficult Times led by Shanita Akintonde; The Upside of Downturn: Unlocking the Hidden Benefits of Crisis led by Michael McDougall, APR, Fellow PRSA; Crisis Communications Power Hour: From America’s Crisis Guru led by Jim Lukaszewski, ABC, Fellow IABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, BEPS Emeritus; Next-Gen PR-Using AI for Communications led by Brandi Boatner. I believe to be the next leader in the industry, one has to learn from game-changers. I work for a PR firm called Excel Business Concepts and I am thankful for my CEO and leader, Crystal Allen-Dallas for investing in me and letting me learn from the best of the best. The company paid for my PRSA membership and has allowed me to get involved with my community and meet with influential leaders in St. Louis.

I want to be the next Olivia Pope, but my idea of success comes from education and experience. 2021 is a year for growth and professional development, I’ve been elected to serve on the PRSA Board of Directors in St. Louis and I am super excited to get involved! Thank you to Bill Imada for investing in me and for the opportunity to get connected with professionals and students around the country.


Marco Ramirez is a part of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) St. Louis Chapter. He currently serves as the Public Engagement Coordinator at Excel Business Concepts, an award-winning, public relations, and marketing firm.

Marco is working on his Masters of Communication at Saint Louis University and his concentration is in strategic communications and health communication. Marco is originally from Bentonville, Arkansas, and earned a bachelor’s degree in communication and public relations from the University of Central Arkansas in 2020. He received recognition as the 2020 Glenn D. Smith Outstanding Student in Communication, Presidential CLAW Award, Forbes under 30 Scholar, and Top PR Case and Client Pick in Cases and Campaigns.


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