Spartans Return to Serve as Leaders, Professional Advisors

In the midst of the booming brass and cheers of this year’s homecoming celebration in October, six MSU alumni will return to their green and white roots as part of the new AD+PR Professional Advisory Board. Their visit will also mark the 60th anniversary celebration of the AD+PR department. Board members will include alumni Nick Lucido, Eric Benderoff, Danielle Seaman, Lolo Robinson, Larry Swyer and Amber Lewis. The board will help the college evaluate and plan curriculum, mentor students through internships and classroom visits and assist in strategic planning. 

The Spartan Network

Advertising and public relations is constantly changing. With the barreling evolution of technology, the experiences of professionals like those on the board will be a great asset for current students. MSU has a history of alumni who seek to give back to their community, and members are eager to pass on their knowledge to a new generation of Spartans.

“Our members hail from a broad range of impressive advertising and public relations organizations,” said Teresa Mastin, chairperson and professor for the AD+PR department. “Each member brings experiences and fresh perspectives that strengthen the link between the department and the professional world. This ongoing engagement greatly benefits AD+PR students' learning and opportunities and faculty research.”

Alumnus Eric Benderoff is currently a director in the Chicago office of Burson Cohn and Wolfe, formerly known as Burson Marsteller. Before he made the move to PR, Benderoff spent over 20 years as a journalist for publications ranging from small Michigan newspapers to the Chicago Tribune. 

“I’m excited to see what we can do as an advisory board to help the university and more importantly help the students,” said Benderoff. “One of the things I love about my job is that I work with a number of people starting out in their careers, just out of college, and mentoring is one of my absolute favorite things to do.”

An Outside Perspective

Since graduating with his advertising degree, board member Nick Lucido has worked his way to become the vice president of global brand practice development for the PR agency Edelman. 

“I have experience at the largest [public relations] agency, and one that I think is changing things and changing the industry, I have a clear sense of what’s happening in the world and what’s needed,” said Lucido. “So I hope to bring that perspective to bridge the gap between what’s happening at MSU and what’s happening outside of MSU.”

Danielle Seaman, the senior director of content and channel strategy for the marketing and advertising firm Contend, also graduated with a degree in advertising. She credited the mentorship of her professors as one of the driving forces in pursuing her early career goals, recounting her advertising capstone fondly. Like her fellow board members, Seaman is excited to connect with students at her alma mater to help prepare them for what lies on the other side of graduation day.   

“It’s a passion of mine to work with students to get them on the right path, to coach them and to be more of a mentor,” said Seaman. “What I’d like to achieve is getting them the skill sets they need so they can go out after graduation and get the jobs that are the ones that they want and not the ones they have to take. Giving back to the university and helping students is personally what I’d like to get out of the board.”

By Kristina Pierson