Photo of people at a dinner

4th Annual Insight Committee of the Department of Communication Career Symposium
by Claire Goodman

The overarching theme that became apparent in the George Mason communication department’s symposium, “All Things Social,” was that everything has changed. Or perhaps as keynote speaker, Aaron Sherinian, stated, everything has changed as a result of everything being social. As director of communications for the United Nations Foundation, Sherinian sees communication from a worldwide perspective, and studies communication between different demographics. In his address to the students of George Mason University, Sherinian focused on how the millennials have drastically transformed the communication world by using social media.

Of the seven billion people in the world, 43 percent are under the age of 25. This is one of the reasons that Sherinian believes young people will make a difference. The mass numbers of young people combined with easy, fast communication mediums gives people the power to be heard, broadcast themselves, and send a message to the entire world. Sherinian closed by saying, “Everything has changed. Your market is global and philanthropy has changed. You want to be authentic and that’s how we know you’ll change the world.”

Following the well-received keynote speech, a panel of influential communication professionals was introduced and they shared their success stories. This allowed the attendees (faculty, students, etc.) to get to know the panelists, with whom they would be able to have a roundtable discussion shortly after the panel discussion.

The six distinguished panelist included  Jordyn Buzza, a global digital consultant with Hill+Knowlton Strategies and a worldwide leader in public relations; Lauren Green, the Director of Social Media for major defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corporation; Angie Goff, an Emmy Award winning reporter, cross-platform journalist at NBC Washington, and guest host for Early TODAY; Jill Moss, a Democracy Fellow at the United States Agency for International Development; Lindsey Spindle, Chief Communications and Brand Officer for Share our Strength, a national childhood hunger nonprofit organization; and Deborah Yurow, Chief Operating Officer for Bully Pulpit Interactive, a prominent Washington based advertising agency.

The third part of the symposium, and perhaps the most popular event, was a round table discussion session. Eleven tables of ten students met one-on-one with each panelist and other communication professionals to exchange ideas and ask questions. After about 15 minutes, the moderators rotated between tables so each student was able to speak with all eleven professionals.

This writer received some of the most important advice from these experts.

On a broader, “life lesson” level, Patrick Fn’Piere, an Insight Committee member, urged students never to lose touch with the people around you, at any point in life. He encourages people to stay connected because you never know when those connections may become relevant. Lindsay Spindle, of Share Our Strength, said that working for a cause has taught her that everything doesn’t have to go up. She said that just because your title and salary may decrease doesn’t mean you’re not being successful: what matters is that you’re engaging your passions and getting experience and opportunities to do what you love.

It is hard to pick and choose from all the invaluable advice that was given regarding social media; however, Jordan Buzza gave some advice I had never before heard. She said, “Focus more on strategy and don’t just do tactics.” She gave an example of not just engaging every social media platform, but figuring out which one will be most beneficial to your client. In other words, you should put thought into how you’re going to utilize social media in order to stand out in all the noise.

The 2014 symposium was the best to date. The department is very grateful to have the continuing support and leadership provided by the Insight Committee. Since its beginning ten years ago, the Insight Committee has continued to offer Mason students a unique opportunity to engage and network with successful professionals. The symposium has upheld Mason’s promise to help and encourage its students to take advantage of the dynamic and ever-changing community in which we live and plans have already begun for the 2015 symposium.

 No fear no love flyer

5th Annual “No Fear in Love” Race (Upcoming)

For the past five years, the Department of Communication has sponsored the “No Fear in Love” 6-mile race, developed and run by Karen Bontrager -- a Mason bachelor of individualized study program alumna who had a concentration in communication. The event promotes healthy relationships and domestic violence awareness, with a specific interest in adolescents and young adults. It also raises funds to provide educational opportunities for teen survivors of relational violence (ages 16-24), and this year she has been able to raise enough funds to give a dating violence survivor a one-year scholarship to George Mason University.

For more information, visit http://nofearinloverace.org or contact Race Director, Karen Bontrager, at 571.471.9086.


PRSSA and Communication Department Annual Career Fair (Upcoming)

Keep your eyes peeled for details regarding our Third Annual PRSSA and Communication Department Career Fair to be held on 24 March 2015! This is the perfect opportunity to meet potential employers and network at the George Mason University Fairfax campus. 

Each year, the Career Fair is organized by the local chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America in alliance with University Career Services, and is sponsored by the Department of Communication and the School of Business. The event includes a professional panel (last year’s was “Be Your Own Boss in the New Millennium") by professionals in public relations, marketing, and mass communications. This panel discussion presents an opportunity for students to get insight on how to become employed, become an entrepreneur, and build a successful career. Students are also able to network with the employer panelists.

Last year, the panel featured Gal Borenstein, founder & CEO of Borenstein Group; Tod Plotkin, principal at Green Buzz Agency; Vanessa French, president/lead strategist of Pivot Point Communications; Carla Briceno, co-founder of Bixal; Sherri Arnaiz, creative director/owner of Sherri Arnaiz Web Design, Branding, Advertising & Marketing; Kimberly Guarino, marketing and business advisor to growth CEOs at Evolve Marketing; and Jennifer Brand, principal at Brand Solutions Group.

The event is free to employers and students interested in careers in communication and marketing and will be held on 24 March 2015 (time TBA), in Dewberry Hall in the Johnson Center on Fairfax campus.. Students are advised to bring several copies of their resumes and research their companies of interest before arriving. Professional dress is required.