One of my favorite aspects of attending Syracuse University, and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications specifically, is the opportunity to listen to and interact with incredible guest speakers on a weekly basis. This past Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend a guest speaker as part of the Leader in Communications speaker series at Newhouse.
Woody Woodyard, a Syracuse and Newhouse alumnus himself, is now the vice president of communications for Sikorsky Aircraft, a division of Lockheed Martin. Woodyard discussed the “return to civility” of America, and how it begins with young communications professionals like myself and other Newhouse students. Woodyard is incredibly well-spoken, and one quote from the night that truly resonated with me is when he said, “Words can be used to be good and helpful. Or bad and hurtful.” As a public relations and marketing student, it is so powerful for me when I hear about the impact that words can have on a culture, society or the world.
As I approach nearer and nearer to the end of my college career (it is sometimes shocking to me that I’m more than halfway done), the inevitable fear of the real world and the anxiety of the post-college job search begins to creep up on me. Woodyard understood this about students like me and tailored his presentation to calm down the hundreds of worry-wart Newhouse students.
Woodyard spoke of the “Newhouse magic” that the school has as a global brand with a powerful alumni network. One of my favorite things about SU and Newhouse is the “Forever Orange” mentality of its alumni. Woodyard encouraged attendees to take advantage of every opportunity that Newhouse has to offer and to forge strong relationships with professors and alumni. I’ll be the first to admit that the daily hustle and bustle of classes and schoolwork makes it easy to forget just how lucky I am to be studying at Newhouse. It’s nice to receive reminders from dedicated alums like Woodyard to soak up all that this university has to offer.
I, like many others, have spent countless waking hours trying to figure out the formula to the “secret sauce” of success. Well, Woodyard has it boiled down to three simple aspects: culture, performance, and relationships. He encouraged students to work for a company that has values aligned with their own and to align their purposes and passions with their career. As I move further down the road of my academic career I realize more and more that my passion is storytelling, and I hope to find an agency or brand to work for that values storytelling the way that I do.
Woody Woodyard was just one of the many fantastic guest speakers that come to Newhouse and Syracuse University throughout the year to impart their wisdom on students. Learning from the lessons and the different perspectives of these guests has been one of the most valuable parts of my college experience thus far. It’s just another reason why I love #Newhouse and #SyracuseUniversity so much.
Luttrell, Regina. Social Media: How to Engage, Share, and Connect. Rowman & Littlefield, 2019.