Speech: Ryan McShane, 2012 Young Professional Honoree


TARYN PARKER: Long before I had ever even spoken to Ryan McShane, I knew exactly who he was. I remember on more than one occasion being encouraged by my fellow PR students to read his blog, Footprints, and to follow him on Twitter. He always had such great insight on how students and recent grads could break into the industry and more importantly, how to succeed once we got there.

During my senior year, my PRSSA chapter won the bid to become the editors of Forum, the national PRSSA newspaper. Imagine my excitement when I was asked to edit Ryan’s Footprints article one afternoon. This is also the perfect segue to reach out to Ryan about his position at Taylor and any advice he had for applying to their internship program.

He responded right away, I remember, and kept in touch over the next two months, helping to set up my interviews and making sure I had all the information I needed. He was the first smiling face that I met when I moved to Charlotte for the internship and made sure that my transition from student to intern was seamless.

It was clear to me that he had a lot on his plate, as he is a very valued member of the firm, yet he always made time to meet with me, often providing me with the advice that I swear to this day, helped me to land my full-time position with Taylor in Chicago

I’m not the only Ryan McShane fan out there, and he has brought several interns in from other PRSSA chapters, mentoring and guiding them through their first months at Taylor. A few of them have even become full-time employees.

But Ryan’s impact extends much further than the walls of Taylor. Thanks to Ryan’s encouragement, I’m involved with the PRSA and young professionals network organizations here in Chicago. You would not believe how many times the response I get at networking events when I say that I work for Taylor, are along the lines of, is that the firm where Ryan McShane works? Oh, my gosh, I met him at national conference once. Believe it or not, one young student recently asked if I had ever actually gotten to talk to Ryan McShane at work before.

His popularity does not come as a huge surprise though, as I know Ryan often stays late at night to finish reviewing resumes of students that have reached out to him for help. It is hard to find such a dedicated mentor, let alone one whose reach expands out so far to so many different students and young professionals.

For those of you who have had the privilege of getting to know Ryan, I’m sure you would all agree, he’s the definition of selfless. With all that he has going on in his career and his personal life, he has made a commitment to mentorship and continues to be an important role model and leader in the public relations field.

Many of my fellow coworkers were unaware that Ryan had been nominated and won this award at first and that’s a direct result of his modesty and humble approach to the incredible work he does both inside and outside of the office. I am just one of the many young PR professionals who have been greatly impacted by Ryan McShane, and I’m sure I will not be the last. Tonight, I would personally like to thank Ryan for the mentorship he has provided me with over the past year and a half and congratulate him on this very well-deserved honor.


RYAN MCSHANE: Wow, that meant a lot Thank you, Taryn. I’m very proud to call Taryn Parker my colleague, and it’s been a privilege to be able to mentor her and others. I think you really appreciate and recognize that the people that you mentor, their growth, and I’ve definitely seen that through Taryn in the past year and a half, she’s been with our firm.

For me, personally, I would not be up here tonight if it wasn’t for the mentors in my life. So, I wanted to spend my time up here thanking those, and honestly, that begins with my college career, when I was a student and PRSSA member. Students like Kevin, I wouldn’t have run for the National Committee if it wasn’t for people like him, and I really owe it to a lot of my PRSSA colleagues. They just instilled in me the confidence to be able to go out and do it, whatever that was.

Being a PRSSA National Committee member, it opened a lot of doors for me. It allowed me to network with all of the major agencies out there, and I think I found a perfect fit at Taylor. I’ve been at Taylor Charlotte now for 4 and 1/2 years, and there’s a reason I’ve stayed there, and it’s the people.

In addition to Taryn, I’ve got two of my colleagues here tonight, Mark Riggs, who’s the Senior Vice President, Justin Nicoletti, who’s a vice president with my company. Since day one, I kid you not, they’ve kept me under their wing. They’ve provided me opportunities to grow. They challenge me every single day, and they’ve invested in me. Guys, thank you so much for that.

I’ve got my beautiful fiancĂ©, Allison, here tonight. Thank you, Allison. You’ve taught me, if anything, to be just as passionate about my home life as I am my professional life, and just as important, to always clean the lint trap out of the dryer before switching out that load. Guilty.

And then my final thank yous have to go out to the Plank Center for this opportunity to be here tonight. I’ve had a wonderful time. The other award recipients for setting the bar in the industry, you guys have done a tremendous job, and I do look up to you and aspire to be one of you one day.

And finally, to the late Betsy Plank, who I did have the opportunity to meet and interview back in 2007 for a PRSA tactics interview article. And being a part of this award means so much to me, because it means that I’m fortunate enough to be a part of her legacy, so that means quite a bit to me. Thank you all very much.


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