Journalism and mass communications alumna, Nabeeha Kazi Hutchins, shared her experiences in public relations and international communication with JMC students Wednesday afternoon at K-State Student Union’s Little Theatre.
Hutchins is currently visiting K-State to receive the 2013 Micheal C. Holen Leader in Residence Award, presented by the School of Leadership Studies. She has already received notable awards and recognition including a selection as one of the most influential and accomplished leaders in Kansas City under the age of 40. Hutchins was only 29-years-old at the time. She was also honored in 2006 at the National Press Club as one of the “15 Stars
to Watch” in the communications and advocacy field, and was selected in
2007 as the Asian American Professional of the Year by the Asian
American Chamber of Commerce.
Hutchins is currently a managing director at the international development agency Humanitas Global Development based in Washington, DC. But before she began her illustrious career working for well-known agencies and foundations, she was a Wildcat.
Hutchins graduated from K-State in 1996 with a public relations and political science degree. She then interned and began her career at global communications firm FleishmanHillard, in Kansas City, staying there for nearly a decade. At FleishmanHillard, Hutchins served as a senior vice president and partner launching several comprehensive integrating marketing plans. Those marketing plans included a new juice from Ocean Spray, the world’s tallest and fastest roller coaster, Kingda Ka, for Six Flags and three cruise ships for Royal Caribbean cruise line specifically targeting African-Americans and Hispanics. She also developed a community based program to fight syphilis.
Among other endeavors, Hutchins worked with Earvin “Magic” Johnson to decrease stigma towards getting tested for HIV/AIDS and was recruited as the on-site lead in the Dominican Republic for the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDS initiative.
Hutchins was candid about how beneficial her experiences were as an undergraduate at K-State and gave useful advice for students seeking a career in public relations. She noted that her degree in mass communications taught her to think
strategically, always ask why, anticipate problems, keep the end in mind and to be resourceful and bold.
“Be very bold and present, you cannot plan for anything,” Hutchins said. “The work you do is at the core of your community.” Hutchins was referring to those who plan to work in the field of public relations and communications.
She also emphasized writing ability as a way to better future career aspirations in the communication field.
“Writing is so very important. Become a thorough leader in whatever you are interested in,” she said.
When asked by a student how she was able to secure a job at FleishmanHillard so quickly, Hutchins said she showed initiative by always doing more than what was asked of her and staying after hours to get ahead.
The advice was well-received by some of the students in attendance.
“It was useful to get a perspective from a person in the industry,” Randall Hellmer, senior in mass communications, said.
Faith Thanji, graduate student in mass communications, said she found Hutchins’ speech to be relatable and wanted to be even longer. “I related a lot to what she spoke about coming from an international student’s perspective; and it was short but interesting.”
Hutchins not only gave useful advice during her speech, but displayed several examples of how useful communication is in public relations, particularly in international, poverty-stricken communities.
“Know when there is an opportunity in front of you, and take advantage of it,” Hutchins said. “We are, first and foremost, global citizens.”