Throughout the semester, I have had the privilege to listen to and learn from some of the top communications leaders in the Dallas area. From food, to electronics, to oil and gas- our class has heard a bevy of first hand experiences and lessons that have helped us to expand our knowledge and perspective of “real-life” communications: the good, the bad, the ugly- we have heard it all!
To culminate our weekly Wednesday get-togethers, we met with Katherine Bradford and Lee M. Gillis to learn about their roles, experiences and advice regarding digital technology, social media and strategic marketing. This was a class every college student should have the chance to listen in on because the lessons can be applied further than just the communications realm. These lessons were communications related that apply to everyone- regardless of your area of study.
Mrs. Bradford is currently the Vice President of Development for NOVO1, and even though she is a Raider at heart, is a long-standing contributor to the CCPA program at SMU. During her 20+ years in the communications field, she has honed in on the “digital footprint” aspect of communications that we all must be aware of. If there was a social media guru- it would be Katherine Bradford.
She walked us through the most important go’s and no-go’s of social media ranging from e-mail etiquette, to Linked In professionalism, and everywhere in between. She stressed the importance of having an online plan for branding yourself and being aware of the digital footprint that is trailing our identity in the WWW. She told us to be repetitive, consistent, and most of all, relevant. Make it clear who you are, what you do, what area you are focused in, etc; don’t leave any ambiguity as to who the real “business” you is. Whether you want to believe it or not, employers DO use social media as a screening tool, and your email, Facebook, and Linked In etiquette and portrayal can make a difference in getting the interview, and/or getting the job. Don’t sell yourself short, but don’t you dare fluff something you can’t back up; using the internet correctly is key. Just because you didn’t put it out there, doesn’t mean it isn’t there- do a check of your own digital footprint. Be cautious about your Facebook, its settings and what your profile reveals about you. Google yourself and see what comes up and don’t hesitate to try your full name because you have to see what angle your identity has taken in the digital world.
In addition to Mrs. Bradford, our class was introduced to Lee M. Gillis, an Executive Vice President for EMS (Excel Marketing Systems, Inc.). For over 16 years, he has held vital roles in many top-rated BPO companies and worked with multiple Fortune 500 corporations. Recently, he has worked with many of these corporations to incorporate some of the social media-related techniques he has established over the years. Mr. Gillis refers to his techniques as “response driven” social media offerings that pertain largely in part to the communications and call-center divisions. Mr. Gillis opened with a very noble lesson. He told us to always be impeccable with our word; “Integrity means the world to clients and employers.” Being as we are in a global world now, this applies to more than just human face-to-face interaction. We must “maintain integrity” and stay “impeccable to our word” at all times. Mr. Gillis continued this theme while introducing another theory he lives by. He believes his role is largely in part to enhance the lifetime of customer value. Mr. Gillis’ honorable morals, is honored, will make any communicator respectable and successful in regard to their reputation in the communications field- which is something we should all strive for.
I think these lessons were a great note to end the semester with because they bring all the speakers and all the lessons full-circle, back to what it really means to be successful. First, you have to have the foundations from Mr. Bradford’s lesson and then once you have mastered this, Mr. Gillis’ lesson must be applied in order to honor and continue to be regarded highly and be respected in your field. In the end, I believe respect and honor are major contingencies to the measure of success we will achieve in our lifetime.