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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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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Why communicators should measure what matters — an interview with Katie Delahaye Paine

I recently had the opportunity to interview Katie Delahaye Paine, who has been a pioneer in the field of communication and PR measurement for three decades. You can read some her contributions to the profession at the bottom of this post.

Students in our program consider her book Measure What Matters an excellent and practical introduction to assessment methodology.

Here’s what Katie had to say about measurement and why it matters for communicators in all functional areas — and why the ability to demonstrate communication impact is a key to career advancement in our digital era.

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Our Virtual PR Firm takes experiential learning to a new level

In this Q&A, Dr. Ed Powers, Professor of Practice and PR pro, discusses the launch of a new model for learning about PR research, strategy, and tactics: the Virtual PR Firm.

Q: What’s it all about?

Dr. Ed Powers

A: It’s the next level in experiential learning for our students. Our virtual firm looks and feels just like a small public relations agency. Through it we are integrating our public relations coursework with six-month projects covering six months for real-life clients. And the students will perform the client work using a leading marketing software tool. The purpose is to have students ready for PR jobs that are in demand in the marketplace.
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Faculty Spotlight: Ed Powers

Ed Powers, Professor of the Practice for the MS in Corporate and Organizational Communication program, is an experienced corporate communications executive with a strong base in adult learning and curriculum development.

Ed PowersHe began teaching at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies on a part-time basis in 2008 and joined as a full-time faculty member in 2017. During his time at Northeastern, he has taught courses in 10 topic areas and was the architect for the Public and Media Relations concentration.

During his thirty-year career in the industry, Ed gained experience in nearly every facet of corporate communications, working for companies in half-a-dozen industries and serving as the chief communications officer for several billion-dollar organizations.

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How a networking strategy pays dividends

Our Corporate and Organizational Communication program attracts a diverse body of students from around the world, drawn by the opportunity to study in Boston and make connections with a global network of students and alumni. As the lead faculty for our Public Relations concentration, I interviewed a recent alumnus, Pablo Cateriano Llosa. Pablo works in his family-owned PR firm in Lima, Peru.

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