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UM Communicators Listen and Learn from Industry Experts at IMC Connect!

By Michael Taplin

University of Mississippi

Panelists Jenny Robertson (left) and Amy Rosenburg share their insights on social media efforts within their companies during a panel discussion at IMC Connect! 2022. Photo by Michael Taplin/University Marketing and Communications

Several industry leaders and academic researchers in networked with University of Mississippi students, faculty and staff and sparked conversation on a number of topics at IMC Connect! 2022, an inaugural conference hosted by the School of Journalism and New Media

Organized by students in an event-planning course in the integrated marketing communications master’s program, the March 31-April 1 conference included workshops designed to improve the school’s IMC curriculum, sessions for attendees to network with invited professionals and discussion panels with representatives from leading household brands.

“This is a great networking event for students interested in IMC,” said Abigail Nichols, second-year graduate student and event planner of IMC Connect! 2022. “It is always nice to hear from leaders about topics related to IMC and collaborate with my classmates to host this event.”

Discussion topics included social media and data analytics, crisis communication, the role of advocacy and social justice in public relations and brand strategies.

The purpose of this experience was to not only provide a space for members of the Ole Miss community to network with IMC practitioners, but also to offer attendees insight on topics of student interest, said Amanda Bradshaw, co-chair of IMC Connect! and an assistant professor of IMC. 

“The event sought to bridge the disconnect between research and practice, an we had some of the foremost academic researchers in the world on campus.”

Besides the panels and workshops, the new chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America hosted a Q&A: Job Prep panel for students to learn tips of the trade.

“I really enjoyed this opportunity to hear about the employment process for IMC-related jobs,” said Virginia White, a sophomore IMC major and PRSSA member. “Although I am almost halfway finished with my degree, it is still neat to learn from the PR leaders on how I can prepare for a career once I graduate.”

The panelists offered words of advice with answers to qualifications behind strong job candidates, balancing time-management and critical skills needed to compete within the job market. 
“Speak up. Don’t be afraid to be in the game,” said Jenny Robertson, senior vice president of integrated marketing and communications at FedEx Services.

“Create a culture where you care about the people you work for and who you work with,” said Renee Malone, president and founding partner of KQ Communications.

Organizations involved in the two-day event included Home Depot, Chick-fil-A, Carnival Cruise Line, FedEx Services, KQ Communications, Texas A&M University and the universities of Alabama, Florida and South Carolina.

To learn more about the IMC Connect! 2022, click here or contact event co-chairs Amanda Bradshaw at asbrads1@olemiss.edu or Robert Magee at rgmagee@olemiss.edu.


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