OHSPRA ‘Style’ Spring Conference Recap

Last week I attended my first Ohio School Public Relations Association’s spring conference. Although I wasn’t quick enough to get a hotel (rookie mistake) and had to drive (shoutout for only being one hour from Columbus) I had a great time networking with other school PR Pros…all in our School PR Era (the theme for the conference.) Although I’m not a Swiftie, I have to tip my hat to everyone who had a hand in planning the conference. I didn’t know so many Taylor Swift puns and references existed, but I’m…ready for it.


Like Robin Williams’ Danial Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire once considered himself funny, I once considered myself a pretty advanced user when it came to AI. Rebecca Bultsma (of Canada!) taught me that I was nowhere near. Aside from some pretty goofy generative AI tools (like suno.com, which will generate a song based on your prompt or udio.com, which generates a Broadway musical (!!) for you. What scared me was a Washington Post story about students using generative AI to deep fake their principal going on a racist rant. 

One good thing I’m taking out of this is pi.ai, which seems to be pretty good, although it’s news reports are pretty funny. Pi can take on the persona of someone you need to have a difficult conversation with. From a partner to a subordinate to a parent, you can tell Pi how to act and it will get you ready for the conversation. Along the same lines, I’m going to try to use it to run tabletop exercises to keep my media handling skills sharp. Pi has a really good voice feature too. 

Of note, Reuters reports that just under 80% of major media outlet’s websites are running AI crawler blockers on their websites. So, when you ask a connected AI for current events, its giving you some pretty obscure stuff…so take it with a grain of salt.

We did briefly play with Meta AI’s brand-new generative AI. The ability for it to reform the generative output as you type is wild to me.

Remembering our why

Carrie Sanchez of the North Point ESC is up next and wow, what a keynote. Carrie was very funny but also quite impactful. This was a much-appreciated lesson (or lessons) in leadership. I honestly cannot do it justice in summary. I’ll just share a few pieces I picked up.

  • People want to be heard, helped and to feel good. 
  • “Being an administrator stinks. Nobody ever says thank you, you have to deal with that parent and those students, try to keep staff morale up, and meet state requirements while trying to have a family and a life. Remember your why and let it anchor you so you stay Above the Line.” This has really stuck with me. I haven’t written about culture (preview of coming attractions), but I’m 100% sold on the R Factor. Using this mindset to Do The Work is a winning message in my book.
  • If you’re struggling as a soloist, join a choir.
  • Teach, don’t tell
  • Balance vs. Seasons – Carrie suggested that work/life balance doesn’t exist. She argues that there are seasons that are busier and some that are not. Felt. That. 
  • Stop making minutes…you can’t.
  • Unless it’s fatal, its no big deal.  So many times, we manufacture crises. Don’t get me wrong, they do happen. Know when it’s a crisis and when it isn’t.

Carrie knocked this one out of the park. Thank you, Carrie for reminding us of our why.

Intentional Storytelling

I didn’t take notes for this one. Hats of to Dr. Katie Peters (KP), Director of Communication at Washington Local Schools for a seriously engaging presentation on the power of intentional storytelling. I must thank Dr. Peters for inspiring me to put some art back into what I do.

There were other awesome speakers, but I’ve droned on long enough. Until next year, OHSPRA! Side note…we’re starting a West Central Ohio SPRA…WCOSPRA. Shout if you want to be involved!

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