Karen Freberg is currently a Doctoral student at the University of Tennessee. Karen has presented at several conferences including the Rio De Janeiro and Beijing Reputation Institute Conferences. Karen shares her knowledge and experience on her PR blog
Can you briefly describe your experience speaking at the Rio De Janeiro Reputation Institute Conference?
My experience presenting at the Reputation Institute Conference a few months ago in Rio de Janeiro was absolutely wonderful. The conference organizers really put together an amazing program. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet with fellow scholars and practitioners working and studying reputation management at the conference. I presented three papers during the roundtable session, and it was a great experience sharing what we did in our studies with other scholars and get their insights into what they think about the research and brainstorm ideas for future research projects. What I really enjoy the most about the Reputation Institute Conference is that it is a conference that really bridges the academic and professional worlds together in one setting, creating an integrated learning environment for everyone involved. Not only did I attend the conference, but I also got a chance to play tourist and see the sites around Rio de Janeiro ( http://www.karenfreberg.com/Rio.htm). We got a chance to see the Christ the Redeemer, hike up Sugar Loaf Mountain, walk along Copacabana Beach, and taste the local cuisine (the bbq is absolutely amazing!) Brazil is such a beautiful place to visit!
What is the most valuable lesson you learned from the Rio De Janeiro Reputation Institute Conference?
I would say that the most valuable lesson I learned during the Reputation Institute Conference in Rio was that it was important to not only learn about what is going on around the world in terms of research and implementation of reputation management, but it is also important to take the time to learn about the culture of the host country. From the country’s history to the major landmarks to the local cuisine, it was really a wonderful educational experience for me. When I found out that my research papers were accepted to the conference, I immediately started researching on Brazilian culture, cuisine, and public relations and reputation management practices. I also wanted to try to teach myself a little Portuguese as well. When I got to Rio and I was able to talk with fellow conference presenters and show that I took the time to research about Brazil, they were very happy about this.
Can you briefly describe your experience at the Reputation Institute Conference in Beijing?
My experience at the Reputation Institute Conference in Beijing was amazing! It was my first international conference and presentation, and I was very excited about going to China. My sister Kristin came along with me to the conference, and we spent the first couple of days in China playing tourist by seeing the Forbidden City, the Ming Tombs, the Great Wall, and visiting a tea house and jade museum. The conference brought together professionals and researchers around the world from various countries such as the USA, South Africa, Australia, The Netherlands, and many more. The conference was full of sessions about how corporations are practicing reputation management in China, and what are some of the opportunities, challenges, and issues that reputation management professionals have to consider when practicing in China. I presented a case study on Yahoo!, which focused how the corporation dealt with the journalist imprisonment crisis both in China and in the United States ( http://www.karenfreberg.com/ChinaTravels.htm).
What is the most valuable lesson you learned from the Reputation Institute Conference in Beijing?
There were so many things that I took away from my experience in Beijing! 🙂 This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to present in China. This experience showed me the many possibilities in practicing, researching, and presenting abroad about public relations. It was a good hands-on experience in learning how public relations is practiced in China, and it was a wonderful experience to learn more about the culture, business environment, history, and cuisine of the country at the same time. Just walking around Beijing and up the Great Wall, you could feel the history – it was breathtaking. My time in Beijing really opened my eyes both as a public relations professional, researcher, and person. For both my experiences in Brazil and in China, one lesson I learned throughout these two experiences is that to really get to know a country, you have to go and see it for yourself. You can read about how public relations is being practiced, what are some of the things to consider about when traveling abroad, and what to see – but you will only really know this until you spent time and experienced it yourself. You may learn something new along the way that you never thought of before – and going to Brazil and China really broaden my perspective of public relations in research and in practice.