Lifelong learning can take many paths — here is one alumna’s journey

For an early to mid-career professional, why should you take the leap into a graduate program? Should you know beforehand exactly what your objectives are? And, how can an experiential project turn into much more than a project?

These are some of the questions I asked Nichole Yates, who graduated from the Corporate and Organizational Communication master’s program in 2019 – and is now embarked on a doctoral program at Northeastern. Nichole is the Talent Acquisition Director, Executive Recruitment at City Year, which partners with 29 communities across the US. City Year is a member of the AmeriCorps national service network and is supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service, school district partnerships, and private philanthropy from corporations, foundations and individuals.

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We make learning experiential!

We are delighted to announce the launch of Inspire & Influence, a website showcasing the experiential learning projects of our communication, digital media, and human resources management students.

For students in our graduate and bachelor’s completion programs, We Make Learning Experiential is much more than a slogan. Whether they are serving as virtual consultants in a capstone course, working on short-term, co-curricular projects, or conducting research on cultural awareness, students apply their skills and knowledge to real-world challenges.

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Navigating the new normal — a conversation with Tracy Burns, CEO of the Northeast HR Association

The Northeast HR Association has over 2400 members on the East coast. In a recent conversation with our academic community of HR students, faculty, and alumni, Tracy Burns, the organization’s CEO, shared observations about the HR profession and the emerging trends we have to pay attention to.

Tracy has served as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer since November of 2010 and, prior to that, she spent nearly 20 years working in corporate HR, holding leadership positions across various industries, including financial services, higher education, healthcare, and publishing.

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Work that matters: An approach to change in the public sector

It has been said that the slowest systems to change are often organizations in the public sector.  However, it was interesting to hear how Accenture drives change in the public sector and the perspectives from Kristin McElderry, Accenture Management Consulting Executive based in Boston who works with Public Sector and Higher Education clients.  In this Thought Leader Series talk, entitled Managing Change in Public Sector Transformation, McElderry touches upon why change management is critical, how the public sector is unique, and highlights a framework to leverage the next generation of communication methods.

As McElderry voiced, “public sector work isn’t always the sexiest work,” … “but it is work that really matters.

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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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