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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The 3rd Annual ePortfolio Showcase: Celebrating our master storytellers

The positive energy reverberated around the globe with participants as far away as China and Qatar tuning in virtually for our 3rd Annual ePortfolio Showcase.

The occasion: Honoring the Corporate and Organizational Communication graduate students who created the most compelling digital portfolios in the 2019-20 academic year.

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Communicating with donors during extraordinary times

Stacy Raine (1)

In her blog, alumna Stacy Raine, CPS’17, shares her perspectives on many issues facing communicators, especially those working in the non-profit sector.

In her most recent post, she discusses communication with donors during the coronavirus pandemic and makes several excellent suggestions.

I couldn’t agree more with Stacy: “We’re all in this together, helping each other get through a very tough time. I keep hearing that we need to “be human” together, and I couldn’t agree more. Be human, focus on helping people get through this crisis through providing opportunities to connect and learn, and build engagement with your donors.”

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How I created the Destination Nature podcast

There were two defining moments that led me to create Destination Nature, a three-episode podcast series for The Nature Conservancy (TNC). The first was when I watched my friend and colleague give an update about his science to a group of Nature Conservancy supporters as we stood on an Atchafalaya riverbank in southern Louisiana. The leaves were rustling, the birds were calling – the sounds were painting such a vivid picture around us as we listened to him talk about what TNC is achieving there. I wished every supporter could hear it.Nature Conservancy

The next was when I was driving home with my young son one day, and I decided to play an episode of TED Radio Hour called Everything is Connected. It was a show about nature, and as we listened, Yellowstone National Park began to appear in front of us. We heard the sounds of wolves howling, of birds singing, of rivers running, of beavers eating, of ducks calling, of bears growling. I glanced in the rear-view mirror and what I saw was profound. My son was no longer in the car with me. He was a thousand miles away, in Yellowstone National Park.

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7 essential communication skills in the digital era

More than 205 billion emails are sent and received every day. In that same time span, 1.37 billion users log on to Facebook, another 330 million visit Twitter, the Washington Post publishes roughly 500 articles, and about 2.7
million new blog posts go live on WordPress.

That’s a lot of noise to cut through—and only a snapshot of the content that’s consumed and generated on a given day. And every day there is a new medium, social channel, or technology. What’s a communicator to do? Continue reading “7 essential communication skills in the digital era”