Jack (or Jill) of All Trades?

by Michele Kersten-Hart
Oakland Community College
Bloomfield Hills, WI

As community college communicators, we have constant demands on our time, and we’re being asked to do more with less. Being pulled in so many directions all at once makes me feel like a “Jack of all trades and master of none.” Sound familiar?

For me, the beauty of being a member in NCMPR is that I feel as though I’m able to become that Jack (or Jill) of all trades and, in some cases, actually master them.

NCMPR’s 2019 national conference is coming up quickly and offers a “wagonload of big ideas” for today’s community college marketing and PR pros. I’m excited for this year’s conference, which makes me think back to past national and district conferences where I’ve returned to campus with a refreshed outlook and loads of new tips up my sleeve. I hope the same holds true for you.

For this year’s conference, I’m especially excited to learn from the general session speakers. The opening keynote, Wyman Meinzer, the official photographer for the state of Texas, will share his experiences over the past 40 years and what he’s learned “Behind the Lens” to capture amazing and eye-catching photography – something we all need for our websites and publications. Meinzer’s images have been on the covers of more than 250 magazines, including Smithsonian, National Geographic Books, Time, Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report.  He is, without a doubt, a master of his trade.

On Monday, there’s a special feature presentation on the power of narrative when telling the community college story. James McCoy and Charlene Gibson from the College of Southern Nevada are the producers and co-creators of the Emmy-nominated documentary, “No Greater Odds,” which captures the raw and unfiltered stories of five community college students. We’ll see a full screening of the film and then learn how it has changed the conversation about community colleges in the context of higher education. We’re in for a real treat.

Our closing keynote on Tuesday is San Antonio’s first lady, Erica Prosper Nirenberg, who is director of customer insights at H-E-B, a Texas-sized supermarket chain based in San Antonio. She’ll tie things up with a presentation on “What’s your 51 percent?  Purpose Over Task,” and will share how this idea can improve our approach to communicating the true intent behind our messages.

Indeed, learning is a big part of NCMPR’s national conference, but there’s an added benefit that’s hard to put on paper. The conference provides a wonderful opportunity to see colleagues, make new friends, and find solace in knowing that we have a fabulous network of peers to lean on when we need a little extra help with finding solutions to the many challenges we face on a daily basis. I hope to see you in San Antonio!

Michele Kersten-Hart is a former NCMPR president and the manager of multimedia and web services at Oakland Community College in Michigan.

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