What is your role here at the Valenti School of Communication? I am a lecturer at the school. I teach four classes, and I am also the faculty advisor for Valenti Integrated, which is a new, student run integrated communication agency at our school.
What other jobs have you had outside of being a professor? I’ve had jobs in a number of industries over the past 25 years. I’ve worked in the non-profit world, retail, healthcare, energy and petrochemical. I have also spent a number of years – almost 10 years actually – as a consultant. I have my own consultant firm where I provide strategic communication information to clients. I’ve covered just about the whole spectrum.
What made you want to become a Professor? I’ll be honest, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would teach! My father told me I should teach for years, but I kept fighting it. I teach an art class every month at my kids’ school and I enjoy it, but it wasn’t until Professor Fix reached out to me about the opportunity to teach Principles of PR that I decided to take it. It was terrifying at first, but from the second I walked into the classroom of my very first class, I knew I was where I was supposed to be.
What classes do you teach? I teach two sections of Principles of PR, Issues Management and Valenti Integrated. Along with those four classes, I also taught a spring mini-semester class last semester called Strategic Social Media, which supported Taste of the NFL.
Why did you enter your field of study? It wasn’t my first choice, honestly. I have three siblings, two of us are marketing and two of us are PR. Interestingly, I thought I wanted to be like my big sister and do marketing. I went to UT in Austin and my minor was set at Marketing, and I could never understand why I was very unhappy. It didn’t feel right. Then I started assisting my sister in PR with her events and I had so much fun. One day, I just made the decision and changed my major. It was one of the ‘aha’ moments that I knew I was where I needed to be.
What is your favorite thing about being a Professor? I love interacting with the students, being there for them, listening to them and being able to share everything I know to help them get to where they need to go. It’s the best feeling in the world to know that you can help in some small way, and to know that you were a part of their success.
What do you know now that you wished you knew as a student? I wish I had asked more questions. Back when I was in school, professors weren’t as approachable. I didn’t feel I could ask them questions. Honestly, I just wish I had more confidence in myself, to participate more and to ask more questions because I think I would have gotten more out of it.
Any advice you have for the students here at the University? Try different things, and don’t get so settled and focused in one area. Expand your horizons. You’ll be surprised at the things that you now think you’re not interested in that become what you absolutely love. Network, join organizations, go to events, get out and meet people. Experience things first, and then decide what you do and don’t like. Don’t be afraid.