Reflections and Expectations: Farewell, Philly. I Hardly Knew Ye.

dsc04969.jpgAfter only 14 short months, I will be leaving the City of Brotherly Love and the East Coast this Tuesday. From there, I am moving back to California — the place where life as I know it all got started.

I will greatly miss my time in these parts. I had hoped to stay here much longer, wishing I could have already been in Washington, D.C. right about now. My hope is that by the decade’s end, the D.C. Dream — as I like to call it — can still become reality.

For now, let’s look back on what went on during my final full month on the East Coast and what I can expect for the month ahead.


Brian Solis at the first general session for PRSA 2013 International Conference

Brian Solis at the first general session for PRSA 2013 International Conference

PRSA 2013 International Conference – For the fourth year in a row (first two being for PRSSA), I attended the PRSA International Conference over the weekend.

This year’s conference was unique in that for the first time, it took place in the same city I am living in. It was nice not having to pay for hotel and airfare this time around.

Each year, I learn something new at these conferences about the public relations profession through keynote speeches and professional development sessions. In turn, I feel it better prepares me for what I can expect in the industry as I currently continue to seek entry-level career opportunities in PR. (I will publish a post within the next week where I will share some highlights from the conference and some of the lessons I learned from the sessions.)

Every year, I enjoy meeting new professionals, making new friends and seeing old faces who live across the country and don’t see in person very often. There are many PRSA and PRSSA members that I knew first through social media and eventually meet in person at such conferences. Whenever that happens, it helps to better solidify those professional relationships and even friendships. Among them…

Jessica Lawlor

Jessica Lawlor

Jessica Lawlor – I finally met Jessica Lawlor in person for the first time during that conference!

As you might remember, I have attributed the recent revitalization of my blog to Jessica with the Reflections and Expectations and #Read3 series adapted from similar series seen over on her blog,

It’s always nice to meet people like her who make a tremendous difference not just in my life but in others as well. It’s even better to meet them in person to truly express your gratitude, allowing them the opportunity to see how they effectively and profoundly inspire others.

One more thing about the PRSA 2013 International ConferenceTweetBinder ranked me second place for the Most Active and Original Tweets categories and 17th in the Highest Impact category.

This report is based on data collected from all Twitter users who participated in the conference using the #prsaicon hashtag. Although I’m not sure if this is based on the most comprehensive data from the entire weekend, this is still pretty impressive, no matter how you look at it.

Mineta program (grad school) – I am still getting ready for the start of the Certificate in Transportation Management program in January with the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University. This will be a precursor to my eventual plans to pursue the full Master of Science in Transportation Management program a little later in 2014, provided I am accepted.

This officially marks a return to my original ambitions to pursue a career in transportation. It was largely sidetracked — pun intended — since last year when I left OCTA to serve in AmeriCorps in Philly. In the near- and long-term, I hope to find career opportunities that involve government / public affairs as it relates to transportation and infrastructure issues. Community relations work is one aspect I’m positioning myself for, as it ties in both transportation and public relations together. I’m getting there.

GlobalPhilly 2013  – GlobalPhilly2013 is wrapping up this Friday. It marks the culmination of the two-month-long campaign organized by the Global Philadelphia Association. In this role, I primarily worked on creating and scheduling tweets related to the events along with live-tweeting during some of those events. I’ve been doing a lot of live-tweeting in general this month, both for them and during the aforementioned conference.

The view of one of the terminals from the Philadelphia International Airport air traffic control.

The view from the PHL air traffic control tower.

Touring the Philadelphia International Airport – On Oct. 9, I joined the Global Philadelphia Association leaders and its members for an exclusive tour of the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) grounds.

Airport officials gave us a guided tour of the various parts of the airport including a close-up look at the cargo air terminals, airport fire station and the air traffic control tower.

I have toured transportation facilities from toll roads and bus yards to container ports before but never an airport. I have yet to tour a rail yard. Hopefully, my next or a future job down the line will allow me that privilege.

Breaking Bad_ season05

Breaking Bad – I finished watching the series on Netflix up until the end of the first half of the fifth and final season. It’ll be a while before the second half is available.

As much as I avoided learning about the ending of the series, it became unavoidable and sources online — mainly on Twitter — have spoiled some parts of the finale for me. Now, it is a matter of seeing how the rest of the story plays out. Still looking forward to it at first chance.


  • San Francisco – Before I go back to L.A., I’m spending a few days in the Bay Area. I’ve been there twice before but not purely for leisure. For the large part, it will be different this time.
  • Moving back to California – It’ll be more of a mixed blessing. I expect it will take some time to fully readjust myself back in those parts. Anyone have any coping strategies during times of transition, regardless of where you move to and from?
  • Job hunt – I’m still working on it. I’ll feel better when this is all finally over. God willing that time is near.

4 thoughts on “Reflections and Expectations: Farewell, Philly. I Hardly Knew Ye.

  1. Simon, we’re looking forward to having you as a student at the Mineta Transportation Institute. As someone who went through the MSTM program, I can promise you that it’s a valuable curriculum. Don’t miss the classes on transportation security and disaster management. Or maybe those are just my preferences. In any case, you’ll meet some great people, and you’ll get full attention because the classes are small and personal. Let me know when you’re in the San Jose area.

  2. Thank you so much for your incredibly kind words in this post, Simon! It was such a pleasure to finally meet you in person after all this time. I’m going to miss you when you go back to LA, but I know we will keep in touch! You have such a bright future ahead of you! 🙂

    • The pleasure is mine, Jess. Thanks for making my time in Philly and the East Coast one of the greatest in my life. I’ll miss you too but I know it’s not goodbye. Keep up the good work that you’ve been doing. Hope to see you around in these parts again soon!

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