First Impressions


If you wrote a press release for your future self, what would it say? That’s the question we asked CIW YOU(th) at our first professional event of the year. YOU(th) program members were invited to ContextMedia where they worked one-on-one with professionals from across the city to practice making a good first impression, telling your personal story and networking.

Upon arrival, students were welcomed by Susan Newman, co-founder of School2Life and instructor of Columbia College Chicago’s popular Marketing Yourself course. Susan hosted a panel discussion with Mary Gannon, Executive VP, Media & Presentation Training at Edelman; Mayra Lagunas, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions at U of I; and Jessica Malkin, CEO of Chicago Ideas. Panelists discussed their own personal career paths, shared professional advice and delved into the practical examples of the importance of first impressions and professionalism.

Next, students partnered with an adult to develop their own press release. As brainstorming prompts, they were encouraged to talk through what message they’d like to convey with their press releases, what strengths they’d like to highlight, audience evaluation and what a press release would look like today, versus 5 years from today.

Finally, students and adults had an open networking session, where students were able to practice all the tips they had learned over the course of the event.

Are you interested in learning more about the Chicago Ideas YOU(th) program? Read more. If you’d like to participate in a future professional event, email us at

IMG_0415.JPG IMG_0458[1].JPG IMG_0430[1].JPG IMG_0435[1].JPG

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.