Undergraduate Communication Association Hosts Panel of Successful Leaders

Students had the opportunity to hear from leaders in communications, during a panel hosted by the Undergraduate Communication Association in November. This panel gave students insight towardshow to use their communicationskills to ensure success in their field.

Communicating and Connecting

The Undergraduate Communication Association (UCA) is a pre-professional organization that is dedicated to undergraduate students seeking a career in the communication field. Through providing resources to students such as career preparation, graduate school research, event seminars and networking opportunities, UCA is a multifaceted resource for students pursuing careers in the communications field.

The UCA recently brought in a panel of four ComArtSci alumni to talk to students about the importance of using their communication skills to prepare for and gain access to leadership opportunities.

The remarkable, established alumni from the Department of Communication included:

  • Gary Meyer, Communication Professor and Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at Marquette University
  • Nagesh Rao, Special Advisor, Inclusion and Interim Chair, Department of Social Medicine, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine from Ohio University

  • Kenzie Cameron, Research Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Department of Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

  • Monique Turner, Faculty and Associate Dean at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, Moderator

Back to the Basics

The talk began with the panelists discussing which communication skills were the most vital to their success as a leader. Every panelist echoed similar sentiments – the most basic communication skills are the ones that will be the most important.

The panelists highlighted various aspects of these core competencies, such as generous listening, ensuring your expectations are aligned with who you’re communicating with, knowing how what you’re saying sounds in different contexts, practicing interpersonal communication skills and gaining the trust of those around you.

“As a leader if people don’t trust you… it is really hard to get the real work done,” said Turner. “You can have fantastic ideas, you can revise policies, you can have new initiatives, but the people that you work with have to believe in you and believe that you have their best interest in mind.”

Meyer echoed this sentiment and said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

The panelists made clear that these core communication skills aren’t necessarily picked up inside a classroom. The ability to possess and have a greater understanding and use of these skills will be the biggest benefit for students in climbing the career ladder.

“Leadership is personal, make no mistake,” said Meyer. “If you think you’re going to sit in your office and be a leader, that isn’t what happens. You have to get to know your people and know them deeply. They’re all different, and you should know their individual needs to help develop them into the best personal and professional person that they can be. That is what a leader does.”

By Pierce Wiselogle