I was honored to be named a 2018 PRNews’ Rising Star for the 30 & under awards at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., for my successes with Pace PR. Of course, it was tremendously flattering to be nominated by my company, and see the level of investment put forth on behalf of submitting my hard work with campaigns, but this was also a nerve wracking moment for me.

The large group of Rising Stars were each given the opportunity to address the luncheon crowd and share the most important skill young PR pros need to cultivate in 2019 while accepting our awards.

Constantly looking for reassurance, I asked around the office for the most important skill and how to best respond when I get up to the podium. The advice I settled on was to tell my room of peers that face-to-face communication was the needed tactic for young PR pros. I was confidant about my answer heading into the awards ceremony, but once the process of honoree introduction began, and the honorees before approached the podium, I quickly realized many had the same tactic as me… and same answer.

Rather than sticking with my original plan, and repeating the same advice as the dozens before me, I decided from my seat to take a chance and share some different advice on what I truly think is something all young PR pros need to cultivate–admitting your mistakes and addressing your weaknesses.

This is something I’ve had to grow into as a skill. I think whether it be entry-level or c-suite, self-accountability and the aptitude to take each experience as a learning opportunity can only propel a person further.

Once the nerves calmed down a bit, I was able to utilize the chance to recognize those there with me and those at the office who taught me everything putting me at the awards ceremony in the first place.

While a simple “thank you” can mean so much in PR, whether it be from colleagues, clients, or those who hired you, it sometimes means a great deal more when you are able to say it back.

Receiving this award proved to me how much I’ve learned and how much I’m always encouraged to learn more.

Hopes for recognition are often laughed off in the working world, especially when one is on the lower rung of the totem pole. I’ve often seen that notion flipped during my years at a boutique agency where roles mesh together and achievements across the board are applauded. And I was lucky enough to be recognized by those I work with every day as well as my peers in public relations.

-By Natalie Medved