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Watch videos of Inside the Industry programs.
NEWARK, Del. — A key element of the learning process is hearing directly from the experts, and the Inside the Industry speaker series provides unique access. Presented by the University of Delaware's M.A. in Strategic Communication program, the series invites public relations and digital media practitioners from diverse backgrounds, organizations and areas of expertise to share their wisdom. The events are streamed free online and registration is open to the public.
Tara L. Smith, the program director of the Strategic Communication degree, introduced the Inside the Industry series in Spring Semester 2020 after the M.A. program launched in Fall Semester 2019. “We are thrilled to connect our students with industry thought leaders from across the country," said Smith. “Online graduate programs already offer working professionals flexibility, but our program strives to provide value beyond the courses by delivering a high-quality speaker series that leverages what they learn in the classroom to understand what happens in the boardroom."
Guest speakers offer insight about their own careers as well as professional expectations and challenges within their industries. “Learning through others' experiences is a jump start to your own learning," said Vanessa Spence, a marketing communication coordinator with the University of Delaware's Horn Entrepreneurship Program. “Inside the Industry comes around every other month with an inspiration to spark your own curiosities in the public relations realm." Spence is now a Strategic Communication alumna, having completed her M.A. degree in fall 2021.
The speaker series encourages aspiring professionals to envision their own careers in communication. “I really appreciate that the presenters are from industries that I have zero experience in, and have opened up my mind to opportunities outside of my current industry," said Jennifer Tabor, a Strategic Communication student.
The spring 2022 lineup features UD alumna Jamie Archibald (AS09) with Winsight, LLC, on February 23, and Cynara Charles-Pierre with The New York Times on March 23. The online series concludes on April 19 with UD alumnae Grace Leong and
Heddy DeMaria, both with HUNTER. Information and registration details are below.
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Grace Leong, left, CEO of HUNTER, and Heddy DeMaria, Chief Insights and Strategy Officer, HUNTER. Images courtesy of HUNTER.
Grace Leong, CEO of HUNTER, and Heddy DeMaria, Chief Insights and Strategy Officer of HUNTER
Register for the April 19 online event.
The University of Delaware welcomes UD alumnae Grace Leong, CEO of HUNTER, and Heddy DeMaria, Chief Insights and Strategy Officer of HUNTER. Grace Leong, a passionate advocate for the modern practice of integrated marketing communications, has conceived and led dozens of award-winning, insights-driven communications programs and initiatives for Fortune 100 consumer products companies. In a career spanning more than 30 years, she embraces her role as the female lead of a diverse communications consultancy, which is driven by creativity, exceptional client service and a dedication to achieving measurable business results. Grace earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Delaware and a Master's in Business Administration from Rutgers University. She was named one of Delaware's outstanding alumni in 2013 and inducted into the University's Alumni Hall of Fame in 2016 for lifetime professional achievement and service to the Blue Hen Community.
Heddy DeMaria has stewarded best-in-class insights, measurement and strategy practices across the entire agency and each of its client partners. As HUNTER's first-ever Chief Insights and Strategy Officer, she built and oversees a passionate team of analysts and planners who leverage HUNTER's proprietary insights processes and extensive toolkit to ensure the agency's communication strategies are always grounded in data and research. Heddy received her Master's in Business Administration in Finance from the University of Pittsburgh and two bachelor's degrees (B.S.B.A. in Marketing and B.A. in Communication) from the University of Delaware.
Jamie Archibald (AS09) joined the spring 2022 Inside the Industry series on February 23.
Jamie Archibald, Senior Director of Audience Development for Winsight, LLC
Watch the Program
UD alumna Jamie Archibald manages online readership and subscriptions for major publications. The PR executive has extensive experience in audience development for retail publications and email marketing for beauty brands including Clinique and Chanel. Archibald also managed a blogger and influencer network for General Mills.
UD welcomed Cynara Charles-Pierre on March 23. Image courtesy of Cynara Charles-Pierre.
Cynara Charles-Pierre, Senior Vice President of Culture and Communications for The New York Times
As the leader of the culture and communications team at The New York Times, Cynara Charles-Pierre develops internal communications and opens channels with external communications. Charles-Pierre is a communications professional with 26 years of experience across multiple industries. She has specialized in employee communications throughout her career. Before she joined The New York Times in June 2021, she managed employee engagement and corporate communications for high-profile organizations such as TD Bank, JetBlue, HBO and News Corporation.
The guest speakers represent a variety of specialties in strategic communication, such as community relations, crisis communications, and digital and social media management. “The series has provided me with a broader view of roles in communication," said Tabor. “As someone new to the field, the speakers provide great insight into the process of developing a campaign strategy, and the broad amount of creativity and effort it takes to launch an impactful campaign."
In October 2020, guest speaker Maggie Schmerin, who leads global advertising and social media at United Airlines, said a foundation of teamwork is essential when planning communications campaigns. “It underscores for me the value — especially now as a leader — of building a team that can have fun together, problem-solve together, collaborate with one another, push each other to think toward different opinions," said Schmerin.
In May 2020, UD alumnus Bill Wohl (AS84), executive vice president of corporate communications for Hotwire, discussed crisis communication. “He talked of past experiences managing several crisis situations that involved not only multi-billion dollar price tags but the corporation's future being at stake," said Spence, who attended the talk. “It was a front row seat to crisis management and how to handle it." Wohl now teaches communication and leadership for the M.A. program.
Spence also attended a presentation last October by UD alumnus Charles McLeod (AS01), director of community relations for Delaware Department of Transportation (DOT). “Charles McLeod discussed communication strategies used in informing the mass public with traffic-flow updates and how traffic accidents can invoke a crisis response. Even the DOT has a reputation to protect," said Spence.
UD's online M.A. in Strategic Communication Program enables students to specialize their skills by studying the principles, theories, research practices and ethics of strategic communication. To learn more, visit Master of Arts in Strategic Communication | University of Delaware Online (udel.edu) and Strategic Communication M.A. Program - UD Capture | University of Delaware (udel.edu).