We believe it is imperative that the advertising and public relations industries strategically address the gap in diversity among its staff and strive for a more inclusive and welcoming environment representative of all the voices, ideas, and perspectives of our global society.
The AdPR Academy is a solution to aid in this effort.
The ever-growing, global consumer market is more ethnically and culturally diverse with each generation. This means that the professionals and organizations that serve this market must truly reflect current and future generations but also be creatively nimble and innovative to build and sustain engagement with the global consumer market.
The diversity gap in advertising and public relations is wide! Whites comprise nearly 90% of public relations specialists employed in the U.S., according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the same data source reports that as of 2011 advertising, marketing and public relations jobs were held by a total of 8.7 percent African-Americans/Blacks, 7.3 percent Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders and 15.3 percent Hispanics/Latinos.
The AdPR Academy is a valuable professional development experience that will strengthen students’:
The AdPR Academy is designed to provide each participant with:
Please Note: Internships, jobs or shadowing experiences are not guaranteed by UGA, the Ad/PR program or AdPR Academy. However, the Academy is designed to afford participants the opportunity to establish and build relationships with professionals in the field to open the door to these and other potential career options.
“Confidence is half the battle when entering a new workplace or during an interview.”
Treajour Abrams is a National Traffic Specialist for Spectrum Reach, her first full time position after graduating from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in 2017. AdPR Academy helped build her confidence as a young professional. The Academy created the space for her to have insightful conversations with veterans in the industry and gained a well-rounded knowledge about advertising and PR. These two components of the program made her transition into the workplace easier. Treajour’s advice for current students is to take advantage of the new roles that are being created in the industry and to find someone who has fulfilled a role you desire. Seek these professionals out and build a relationship. Being a traffic specialist has taught her about orders, commercial spots and rules, TV zone, scheduling the spots and how to bill the clients. She is thankful to AdPR Academy for allowing her to grow professionally and start her career with valuable relationships and skills.
“Get involved… because that is where the biggest opportunities arise.”
Niguel Anthony is the Member Relations Coordinator for Aliera Healthcare located in Atlanta. He got this position by maintaining a strong relationship with a department head from another local company, where he was previously employed. He credits AdPR Academy with growing his entrepreneurial spirit and for teaching him things that are beneficial for his own business. He advises current students to get involved. Niguel encourages being active in school professional clubs like PRSSA, interning at different companies and agencies, or participating in programs such as AdPR Academy, because that is where the biggest opportunities arise. A major learning from his current healthcare role has been the immediacy, type and frequency of communication that is essential for the public broadly and key groups. It is unmatched compared to other industries.
“Don’t let fear or doubt talk you out of an opportunity.”
J'Lesa Wilson, social media intern at Albany State University, attended the AdPR Academy two years in a row, 2017 and 2018. She was a part of the first group of students to experience AdPR Academy, which provided her with major insight and advice she has taken to heart. A key learning point was how to run an effective campaign. AdPR Academy was her first introduction to methods and strategies in the world of media. The program inspired her to further explore the industry on her own. J'Lesa has attended seminars, taken additional courses, and earned certifications in digital marketing since attending the Academy. Over the last two years, she has built a portfolio and reevaluated the position she had, serving as a social media intern at a church. Her combined experience with the Academy and The Creative Circus summer program shaped her into the experienced young professional she is today. Since starting her job with Albany State, she has learned how social media works in a pressure-filled industry and discovered the value of her voice.
(click on alumni for full detail)
Inspiring words from 2018 Alum:
Global Communications Coordinator
"One of the most exciting things about the field can also be one of the biggest causes of anxiety: there’s no exact formula for success. Peers in other industries may have post-graduate journeys completely different than yours, and that’s ok. This is a culture-driven business that needs diversity. Figure out what excites you within the industry and keep in mind that diverse thinking is always in demand. There is always a place for you."
Curious to discover your optimal career path in advertising or public relations? An online aptitude test will provide participants with insight into preferred communication career functions and work environment. The test will be administered the week of February 17, 2020.
There is a place where you can exercise creativity, innovation, and strategic thinking. Explore advertising and public relations career opportunities and discover where you fit based on aptitude test results.
A campaign that seeks to solve a pressing business challenge for a corporation or nonprofit organization must be backed by a solid plan. This series of courses will guide students through the planning process with a focus on how to effectively determine goals and objectives, identify the target audience and explore the consumer journey.
What, why and how you resonate with consumers takes finesse. This course will outline the creative aspects of message development including “concepting”, writing techniques, and message creation.
The toolbox for AdPR professionals provides a variety of options for how to connect with consumers. Which pathway makes the most sense – media, events, film, or social media and which will generate the most return on investment? This series of courses will expose participants to the paid-earned-shared and owned framework.
Engaging consumers? In a world of Big Data, KPIs and scorecards, measurement and evaluation can’t be anecdotal or informal. How do you know if your campaign accomplished its intended goal?
You made it to the end of the week and now it is time to showcase what you have learned and to acknowledge what your team has accomplished. Participants will present their capstone projects to a panel of judges and top campaigns will be recognized at the celebration event.
Alex Ebanks is a Manager of Brand Public Relations in the External Communications department for Coca-Cola North America. In her current role, she leads media relations efforts for the company’s Diet Coke and Sprite brands. Prior to joining Coca-Cola, she held a position as a Senior Marketing Manager at Allied MOXY, the multicultural division of Allied Integrated Marketing. In her role at Allied, she strategically managed and created publicity, promotions and marketing campaigns both nationally and regionally, for entertainment based clients within the television & film industry. As a proud HBCU graduate from Spelman College, she received her bachelor of arts degree in English with a minor in Writing. Alex is co-chair of the subcommittee for Diversity & Inclusion with the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and a board member of Coca-Cola's African American Business Resource Group, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc and in 2017, she was named a Top 30 Under 30 HBCU Alumni, on behalf of HBCU Buzz.
Brad recently retired from the Coca-Cola Company after serving 24 years in various sales and marketing leadership positions. Most recently he served as Vice President of Sales & Marketing, National Accounts in the Foodservice and On-Premise Division where he led cross-functional teams to deliver over $500 million in revenue from existing national account customers, as well as secured new business in the foodservice, travel, healthcare, and specialty retail sectors. Earlier in his Coca-Cola career he served as Vice President of Customer Marketing where he led a team of marketers to consult top 100 customers in the areas of brand strategy and positioning, marketing strategies, and integrated marketing campaign development. Before Coca-Cola, Brad gained extensive brand management and marketing experience at Pizza Hut, Inc. as well as advertising agency account management experience at Bozell. Brad started TaylorBuiltBrands to help businesses sharpen their brand strategy and achieve growth.
For over 10 years, Dwayna has led public relations and marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 brands. As Senior Vice President at Porter Novelli, she partners with clients to help them find, live and tell their unique purpose through integrated communications strategy. Currently, she leads the largest business sector of the agency’s anchor, global account, Bayer, and leverages her extensive background in omni-channel, multi-platform storytelling to deliver brand marketing strategy for Chico’s FAS, Inc. brands (Chico’s, White House Black Market and Soma), Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Discover DeKalb. In 2018, she was appointed to represent Porter Novelli on the inaugural PR Council Next Board – a cross-industry assembly of rising leaders connected to bring next generation thinking to current industry challenges. She was also inducted into the 2018 class of PR Week’s 40 under 40, and the 2019 inaugural class of PRSA Georgia Chapter’s 40 under 40.
Gary M. Ross is president of INSIDE COMMS, a training, coaching and consulting firm focused on internal communication. Over his 30+ year career, Gary has worked as a consultant, corporate executive and Emmy-nominated broadcast journalist. Gary's recent engagements have included consulting and coaching CEOs, C-level executives and internal communications teams on corporate transformations and integrations, M&A and change. His experience ranges from the upper ranks of the FORTUNE 500 to small non-profits and academia. Prior to his training, coaching and consulting work, Gary led communications and PR departments at Fortune Brands, CDW and Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
“I founded Signature Leadership to equip others to navigate their personal and professional pursuits by leveraging their unquestionably unique leadership and communication styles.” Alicia Thompson has over two decades of experience in public relations and corporate communications. She most recently served as vice president of Communications for Edible Arrangements®. Prior to Edible Arrangements, she worked for Porter Novelli, where she served as managing director of the firm’s Atlanta office. Before Porter Novelli, Thompson served as general manager of the Edelman Atlanta office after being promoted from senior vice president in Edelman's consumer practice, working with clients such as Arby's Restaurant Group, Interface, Teavana and Nestle/Gerber. Prior to Edelman, she spent nine years leading the communications team at the multinational food chain Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen. Earlier in her career, Thompson held public relations positions at The Coca-Cola Company, BellSouth, Fletcher Martin Ewing and Cohn & Wolfe.
Kristie Swink Benson, APR, is the director of communications at the High Museum of Art where she leads a team of ROCKSTARS who support all public relations, marketing, creative services and web/new media needs for the museum. She is dedicated to building an exceptional brand that is consistent with the High’s priorities of growth, inclusivity, collaboration and connectivity. Benson joined the High’s executive leadership team in 2017 and is fortunate to do work that merges her personal passion for art with her professional passion for communicating.
Matt O’Connor is responsible for urgent and crisis communications and issues management for UPS. He also oversees media relations for the company’s local market outreach and annual peak holiday season, as well as management of the company’s pressroom. Previously Public Relations Director for Triumph Motorcycles North America, Matt played a key role connecting the brand’s modern persona with its rich heritage, which contributed to retail sales increasing 60 percent in three years and establishing the company as the leading European motorcycle brand in the United States. He also formerly managed corporate communications for NASCAR, developing the company’s first business and lifestyle public relations program, and is a veteran of small, mid-size and large agencies. A native of St. Louis and graduate of the University of Kentucky, Matt and his wife Tina share four children and reside in Marietta, Ga.
Sanya is currently an Associate Communications Strategy Director at PHD New York. At PHD, she’s leads communications strategy for Foot Locker brands. This involves identifying the business challenge, consumer and category insights to shape innovative media ideas to help brands gain unfair market advantage. Her previous experience spans creative agencies in New York and London across a wide range of brands/categories in Healthcare, Luxury goods, Financial Services, CPG and Sport. She’s passionate about uncovering rich consumer and cultural insights; solving complex business problems; and collaborating with strategic and creative thinkers to build meaningful experiences between people and brands. Sanya loves to travel, run, read and paint; she’s also an art nerd, when she’s not at work you can find her wandering around art galleries and concept stores.
Sharon is an Associate Director of Communications Strategy at PHD Media in NYC, focusing on Google Hardware and B2B brands (e.g. Google Pixel, Chromebook, Google Cloud, GSuite, etc.). Her current role includes distilling audience insights, category trends, and competitive intelligence to craft communications strategies that guide media plans and tactics. During her time at PHD, Sharon has also worked on the media planning team for Google Hardware brands, where she handled the tactical portions of the campaigns for Google Home and Google Pixel. Prior to her time at PHD, Sharon worked across multiple agencies (Dentsu Aegis, Mindshare), in various roles (Integrated Publishing, Business Development), and on a broad range of verticals (Microsoft, Discover Financial, Reckitt Benckiser, etc.). Sharon was born in Israel and grew up in Florida, where she attended the University of Florida and majored in Advertising and Communications.
Nakita M. Pope is the Chief Chick and Primary Brand Strategist of Branding Chicks, a boutique branding studio in Atlanta, GA with clients all over the United States. Branding Chicks specializes in brand strategy, development, consulting and management for women-owned businesses and female-focused brands. She helps clients narrow their focus, gives their brands a voice, slingshots their confidence, and clarifies their message so that it resonates directly with their audiences. She also helps businesses large and small to brand or re-brand to attract and grow customer bases for new products and professional services through custom, creative, relevant brand-promoting strategies. Over the past 20 years, she has worked as a strategist, graphic designer, creative director and brand manager which has given her experiences that inform how she works with her clients. Her passion for brand strategy is also evident through her teaching advertising strategy, branding and design at the Creative Circus for the past 10 years. In 2019 she also took on an additional role there as their Diversity & Inclusion Advisor.
Mallom Liggon serves as Director of Consumer Insights, Culture and Strategy for Turner Sports. Within this role, he is responsible for utilizing relevant data to uncover powerful discovery about consumers, the Aha! moments that inform marketing, business operations, business strategy and acquisitions for the division’s premium sports content across platforms. Additionally, Mallom leads Turner Sports Growth Initiatives, which outlines a strategy for addressing the rapid evolution of media technologies and dynamic cultural shifts occurring within the U.S marketplace. With his industry foresight, exceptional strategic thinking, and business acumen, Mallom has helped Turner Sports with its ever-growing sports portfolio. Collectively, Turner Sports reaches nearly 65 million people each month through its premium sports content airing across TBS, TNT and truTV. Widely respected, Mallom has more than 20 years of experience and influence within consumer marketing and insights that has served as a pivotal tool for negotiating influential deals for the company.
Deidra Shores, a young passionate creative, submerged herself in the world of media at a young age. In 2012, Deidra won the NBC Today Show’s first-ever Kid Reporter Contest, which was a live broadcast from New York City. Deidra had the chance to travel the country reporting on kid-friendly stories and events. It wasn’t long before Deidra also became a Kid Reporter for her local Memphis NBC affiliate, WMCTV Action News 5. Deidra has appeared in major motion picture films like Standing Up and Life of the Party. She has interviewed celebrities like Steve Harvey, Terence J, Wendy Williams and more. She earned herself a key to the city of Memphis and her very own Deidra Shores Day in recognition of her accomplishments. She later served as B.E.T.’s 106 & Park reporter for Steve Harvey’s Disney Dreamers Weekend. Along with B.E.T, Deidra has worked with Channel 1 News, The Tri-State Defender, and was even featured in Essence Magazine. Deidra studied Mass Media Arts at the illustrious Clark Atlanta University, where she learned skills that helped her to create her first short film. She later worked directly under the former editor in chief of Essence Magazine Angela Burt-Murray. She is now a Lead Marketing Associate for Top Golf as well as an Event Ambassador for her venue.
Nichole Bigley currently leads the Golin Atlanta office overseeing client strategy and growth via executive visibility, thought leadership, brand reputation, digital media and media relations. Prior to Golin, Nichole was at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) leading its change management efforts. Previous to BCG, she was SVP and Corporate Group Head at Edelman. Before Edelman, Nichole oversaw the Corporate and Consumer practices at FleishmanHIllard (FH). She has also held leadership roles at Oracle as the Director of Communications advising Larry Ellison on the company’s first-ever launch into digital and social media; VP of PR at AirWatch (now VMWare); and Director of Communications at PRIMEDIA (now RentPath) - among others. With 20 years of communications experience, Nichole’s work and campaigns have won global and national award recognition, including a Silver Cannes Lion. And her strategic oversight has resulted in three successful company sales.
Alison Mallard is founder and President of HRCatalyst, Inc. a consulting firm that aligns organizational strategy and talent through selection, performance measurement, and leadership/team development. Alison has over 20 years of experience in organizational consulting, coaching, and research. She works within many industries and has consulted in the UK, Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. Alison actively sources and partners with coaches and consultants who are part of HRC’s alliance network, which enables HRC to offer scale and specialized skills with highly respected experts.
As senior public relations specialist of The Home Depot Foundation & The Homer Fund, Courtney Blount leads The Home Depot Foundation’s communication strategies around trades training, hometown giving and efforts for the company’s associate-led volunteer force. Prior to her current role, Courtney spent four years in product innovation public relations at The Home Depot. While in this role, she served as the senior PR specialist where she managed storytelling and led large-scale campaigns for company categories including smart home, pro, services, kitchen, bath, garden and others. Before joining The Home Depot, Courtney studied mass media arts and graduated from Clark Atlanta University.
Orlando Pimentel is a research associate at Hart Research Associates, in Washington, D.C. where he coordinates quantitative and qualitative projects that obtain insights on public opinion and motivation. His work focuses on helping execute and managing research initiatives, such as surveys and focus groups, for an array of union, advocacy, business, and political organizations, including the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. With a passion to understand human behavior, Orlando has spent most of his career supporting research projects and analyzing findings to help obtain strategic insights across a variety of industries, ranging from health to politics. Before Hart, Orlando worked at Porter Novelli for over two years, starting as an intern that supported their Center for Medicare and Medicaid account and the Strategic Planning, Analytics, and Research (SPAR) team, until he then transitioned to an assistant account executive role within the SPAR department. At Porter Novelli, he collected consumer insights on audiences’ habits and behaviors for a variety of fields, from food, health, to technology. He applied his diverse skill set to analyze data and insights for clients such as the National Honey Board, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Common Application, and several Fortune 500 companies.
Soon Mee Kim is executive vice president and Global Diversity and Inclusion Leader for Porter Novelli, part of the Omnicom Group, the global leader in marketing communications. She is responsible for implementing policies and programs that promote diversity, equity and inclusion across Porter Novelli's global network. She works with client executives and industry leaders to advance diversity as both a moral imperative and a business imperative. A dreamer and a doer, she is passionate about workplace culture, supporting the talent lifecycle, and working with clients to create innovative campaigns that make an impact. Soon Mee sits on the Executive Committee to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion are integrated throughout Porter Novelli. As part of Omnicom, Soon Mee is a diversity champion for OPEN, the Omnicom People Engagement Network, to support clients and initiatives, as well as Omniwomen, OPEN Pride and OPEN Multicultural employee resource groups among others. Most recently, Soon Mee was recognized as a 2019 Holmes Report Innovator 25 for the Americas. She is a 2019 ColorComm Circle Award honoree for helping strengthen the voices of underrepresented women of color in the communications industry. In 2018, PR Week and the PR Council named Soon Mee Agency Diversity Champion of the Year while Porter Novelli earned top honors for Best PR Firm Diversity Initiative for substantive progress in representation and culture for both 2018 and 2019.
Tamara Gilliam is currently the Director of Learning & Development for Moxie/Zenith/MRY. She leads Moxie's Talent Engagement & Inclusion Initiatives as well as Business Resource Groups. She is a facilitator for Publicis Media brands in North America and South America. Tamara is a Regional Lead for VivaWomen US, she is on the Regional Jury (Americas) for Publicis90, and also a Board Member for VivaWomen of Color. She produces two series at Moxie/Zenith/MRY "The 9:30 Sessions", which showcases the best client work each month, & "From the Ground Up", which highlights capabilities by discipline. Tamara is a Certified Executive Coach, a Certified Sherpa Leadership Facilitator, and her professional background includes radio, television, and film.
Haley Filippone is a public relations specialist at Nebo Agency, a human-centered agency built for the digital age, where she leads public relations and social media accounts and campaigns. She also is a member of the communications team for Atlanta's Conscious Capitalism chapter and volunteers with the Atlanta's Atlanta Marketing Association chapter. Haley earned her master's in public relations from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. As a proud Buffalo, New York native, she moved to Atlanta to begin her career in public relations at Nebo – and to escape the snow for the foreseeable future.
Jenni McDonough has 15+ years of progressive experience in human resources. Her mission is to attract and retain top talent, drive innovative, strategic employee relations programs and nurture a vibrant company culture. McDonough’s areas of expertise include employee relations, solution-focused HR program design, conflict resolution and internal communications. McDonough is skilled at determining and directing an organization's human resources goals and strategies to support productive and profitable business operations. In addition, she provides leadership and focus to advance the organizational vision. As Senior Vice President of Human Resources, McDonough drives organizational effectiveness and supports the executive team on agency initiatives.
Alexa is a senior brand strategist with four years of agency experience and six years client-side. She has built strategies and guided creative marketing campaigns for national and global brands such as Walmart, Delta Air Lines, Milk-Bone, Starbucks, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Alexa is passionate about learning what drives us—why do we make decisions, what influences those decisions, and can brands *really* build relationships with consumers? Her favorite part of the job is partnering with creative teams to bring a really impactful idea to life—and then seeing positive business results from that work.
Amanda hails from Sweet Home Alabama, but you'd be hard-pressed to pick up on her southern roots. Graduating with a degree in Advertising from The University of Alabama, Amanda moved to Atlanta, where she spent her time working on a mix of traditional and digital marketing campaigns in the fields of retail, non-profit, hospitality and B2B. Joining Nebo in 2016, she loves leading and inspiring her team to share authentic and engaging stories — across social & PR initiatives — helping her clients achieve their goals. Amanda serves as Vice President of Social Media Club Atlanta, where she exchanges thoughts, tips and tricks with industry professionals to stay ahead of the ever-evolving social landscape. Nothing brings Amanda more joy than reflecting on campaigns of years past which went viral, organically! Unless it's craft beer. Or puppies. Or strolling down the Beltline. Well, we suppose there are quite a lot of things that make Amanda happy.
Swan is an Associate Director of Brand Planning, helping to lead planning across a number of creative teams and accounts at Moxie. His responsibilities range from brand positioning to consumer research to developing integrated strategies for brand campaigns. During his time at Moxie, he has worked on brand such as Delta, Ruth’s Chris, Driven Brands, as well as a number of new business ventures. Prior to joining Moxie, Swan worked in planning and strategy roles at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, The Buntin Group, and Ogilvy, where he worked on accounts such as Samsung, the IHG portfolio, Royal Caribbean, Royal Bank of Canada, Chinet, and SERVPRO. Swan earned his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Washington and Lee University.
Join future AdPR leaders from Atlanta and across the southeast for UGA’s Fourth Annual AdPR Academy.
The Academy will take place March 9-14, 2020 at Moxie.
2020 application process is now closed. Please check back in the Fall for participation in the 2021 cohort.
Current Juniors, Seniors and first year graduate students with an interest in learning more about the people, possibilities and processes of advertising and public relations.
Any minority student is eligible to apply but preference will be given to students attending HBCUs in the southeast..
A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for all prospective candidates.
Experience and abilities in the following areas:
Prospective participants must submit a complete online application and follow the instructions provided to send a certified copy of their most recent transcript and a letter of recommendation from a current or previous employer, professor, or other professional contact.
No paper or emailed applications will be accepted. Prospective participants must use the online application form.
Any technical questions regarding the use of the online application form can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application deadline for the 2020 Academy is January 17th, 2020 at 6 p.m. EST
There is no fee to attend AdPR Academy thanks to the generous support of our sponsors.
However, please remember transportation and housing will be the responsibility of students accepted into the program.
All training workshops, networking receptions and the completion celebration will be held at Moxie: 384 Northyards Blvd. NW, Suite 300, Atlanta, Georgia 30313.
Sponsorship opportunities are available and provide corporations, foundations and individuals with the chance to support a targeted minority recruitment effort that will help to create a pipeline of high-level prospects and leaders for the future of advertising and public relations. Additional information can be found here or please send an inquiry to email@example.com.