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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In December 2018, I began my 21-hour journey from Boston to Singapore to embark on a two-year international assignment. Until this point, my career had been built on corporate communications roles, working at my company’s U.S. headquarters.
In my new role, I would be responsible for building the company’s reputation through digital media in Asia Pacific (APAC), including Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
In APAC, I spent a lot of time listening and learning to get a full understanding of the current online activities that were either diluting, damaging or improving the company’s reputation in each country. From there, it was my job to identify how to harmonize digital content creation and optimize social media channels to drive consistency in alignment with global brand principles.
This experience has changed the way I view communications in three ways:
For their capstone project, students in the MS in Corporate and Organizational Communication program must engage with a project sponsor to address a communication challenge. Over a 12-week period, students apply a consultative methodology and their communication knowledge and skills in an experiential learning process.
I recently asked Nicole Bernstein, an alumna of our program, and one of six Northeastern College of Professional Studies students recognized for the excellence of their experiential projects in the past academic year, about her capstone experience.
For her Fall 2019 capstone project, Nicole Bernstein worked with CareerAgility, a boutique Diversity and Inclusion consulting firm, which was founded, as its website notes “with a passion for ensuring women and people with diverse backgrounds have an equal voice and equal advancement opportunities in the workplace. We believe companies are more innovative, competitive, and financially successful when the work environment is diverse and inclusive.” Continue reading “Making a difference through experiential education”
Can FEAR and FAILURES be part of a learning process? With all that has been happening, thisseems to be a good time for the last of my three-part series. As a brief recap from my previous posts, the series started with Why I chose CPS to pursue my dream!, then I shared Unlocking Opportunities! And the journey continues…
In my final quarter at CPS, I focused my energies on the job search process. I spoke with many recruiters, sent many emails, applied to many jobs, and gave many interviews. Sound familiar? When I hear and see success stories, I keep in mind that I am only seeing the tip of the iceberg – there is so much underneath. Trust me, the learning during the process is powerful, embrace it!
Moreover, I love this quote from Robert Stevenson, “keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.” Hence, I decided to explore how my fears were overcome by my courage and how my failures generatedmotivation. By taking an inventory of my broad experiences, skills, and competencies, I prophesied that my career development goals are attainable.