Charting a career path with a French accent

Have you ever considered living and working in another country?

Our alumna Gina Dunn, CPS’15, did just that, moving to Paris in 2016 and applying her communication expertise as an independent consultant. In this interview, I ask Gina about her decision to work in Paris, her impressions of French communication styles, and the value of her learning journey here at the College of Professional Studies.

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CommTech – what’s all the fuss about?

As communicators – and communication educators – staying on top of the trends that are driving our field is imperative.  One those trends: The explosion of digital technologies.

As organizations increasingly use data in all aspects of the enterprise, in how they make decisions, and engage all stakeholders, communicators will have to become more comfortable working with and interpreting data.

What are we doing about it?

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Diversity and inclusion — going beyond the slogans

As PR Week noted in 2018, like many other industries and professions, “the communications sector has a diversity problem, with too few people of color – and far too few diverse individuals in high-ranking positions.” PR Week also created a video that underscores what it’s like to be Black in public relations.

I discussed this situation with Dr. K. Dawn Rutledge, who, during a long and distinguished career in communication and PR, was often the first and only person of color in the room.

Dawn, who graduated from our program in 2012, is one of six members of the International Association of Business Communicators’ (IABC) Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, which is exploring ways that our profession can bring about change.

Here’s what Dawn had to say.

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The eyes have it!

We often look at communication through an organizational lens: CEO messages to x number of employees, or collaboration platforms, or networks flowing vertically and horizontally. But the reality is that communication within organizations is based on building blocks of interpersonal communication between two or more people.

Which made me wonder about this: What affect does mask wearing during this period of Covid-19 have on interpersonal communication?

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Are you suffering from Zoom fatigue?

Meetings have been a fixture of organizational life for as long as…well, as long as there have been organizations. But the Covid-19 pandemic has brought into sharp relief why meetings can be so frustrating, unproductive, and stress-producing.

So, what can we do about it?

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Stories create experiences and make careers

For Dr. K. Dawn Rutledge, who graduated from our program in 2012, storytelling has been a constant thread throughout her life and career as a communicator. Dawn vividly remembers entering a poetry-writing contest in eighth grade. “I actually won first place in that contest, and so my love of writing started very early. I was also fascinated with how people like Oprah Winfrey could move their audiences with compelling stories.”

That love of storytelling has led to a long professional career in communication in a wide range of sectors: First a stint in journalism, then work in the nonprofit, corporate, governmental, entertainment and educational sectors. Now, as a consultant and educator, Dawn enjoys helping others tell their stories.

In a recent interview, Dawn describes three stops along her journey and shares some excellent advice for communicators at the beginning of their careers.

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Find your alumni network!

Northeastern University is a network spread across the United States and around the world. From special interest groups to local geographic communities, and everything in between, there is a part of the network for everyone.

One example is our community in Beijing. 欢迎! The Community offers a variety of opportunities that will help you to expand your social and professional networks in the country, meet fellow Huskies, and stay connected to Northeastern. China is home for 8,080 alumni and 3,985 current students.

Whether you’re a student or an alum, learn how to connect with this worldwide network.

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Are you applying the principles of persuasion?

Persuasion. Isn’t that what communication is all about? Effectively and ethically applying Richard Cialdini’s six principles of persuasion can make all the difference in whether a message has impact, or not. The six principles – reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, liking, and consensus – are motivational levers. If we have a deep understanding of our target audience, we can calibrate them for maximum effect.

In this podcast, I discuss stakeholder analysis and the principles of persuasion as I reflect on my career as a communicator.

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Alexa, chart my career path!

Stefanie Potgieter graduated from our program in 2015 and now works as a senior program manager with the Secure AI Foundations team at Amazon. Her role has several different components. She is the Business Operations Manager for an organization of 5,000+ employees worldwide. Her responsibilities also include executive communications, helping to define and execute a communication strategy for the organization’s vice president.

We asked Stefanie about communication and culture at Amazon and her jobs since graduation. She offers some excellent advice for every communicator, wherever they are on their career path.

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How we’re ‘revolutionizing’ experiential learning

College of Professional Studies students have a firm grounding in experiential learning through capstone projects with corporate partnerships. Recently, we tried a new twist on the capstone experience.

Students from two master’s programs, Corporate and Organizational Communication and Nonprofit Management, collaborated on a multi-dimensional project for one sponsor  —  Fashion Revolution.

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