As part of her Plank Center Educators Fellowship, the assistant professor of communications visited H+K Strategies in Tampa, Florida, interviewing employees, participating in internal and external meetings, and attending a digital/social media boot camp.
Vanessa Bravo, assistant professor in the School of Communications, spent two weeks in July entrenched with the international public relations firm Hill + Knowlton Strategies – best known as H+K Strategies – in Tampa, Florida. The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations funded the experience, which was part of the center’s Fellowship for Educators program, a national honor offered to communications professors in the United States. Bravo was one of this year’s seven fellowship recipients.
From July 13 through July 26, Bravo interviewed members of the H+K Strategies team, participated in internal coordination meetings, attended conference calls with clients, reviewed documents (from communication plans and requests for proposals to billing invoices), and even participated in a one-day digital/social media boot camp.
According to Bravo, the experience refreshed her knowledge and allowed her to better understand recent trends and tools in the public relations agency world.
“I decided to apply for the fellowship because even though I have more than 15 years of professional experience in public relations and journalism, I have not been working in the industry for some years now,” Bravo said. “I thought that it was important to immerse myself in one of the largest public relations agencies in the United States to update my knowledge.”
This is not the first time Bravo has conducted an extended observation of an agency and its employees. Several years ago Bravo spent a few days at G&S Business Communications in Raleigh, and she has accompanied Elon students in short visits to several media outlets, including public relations firms, advertising agencies, TV stations, newspapers and social media agencies. Additionally, Bravo and Elon students have attended professional conferences in Orlando, Atlanta, Nashville, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
”The public relations industry changes at a very fast pace, and I think it is a must for professors to periodically update their knowledge about how things work in the industry. I appreciate the opportunity that the Plank Center and Hill + Knowlton gave me to do so,” Bravo said.
Other participants in the Fellowship for Educators program hailed from Butler University, Central Michigan University, DePaul University, University of Cincinnati, University of Louisville and Villanova University.
H+K Strategies is one of the largest public relations agencies in the world, with 88 offices in 51 countries. Established at the University of Alabama in 2005, the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations develops and supports leadership in public relations education and practice.