The Future is Bright

Making a difference for our future generation is exactly what I would like to do in my future. That is precisely what Nichole Brownlee at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is doing. She is a graduate of St. Mary’s College and has been with St. Jude for 7 years as the Market Director for Indiana. I got the amazing opportunity to interview her about her career through a mutual connection.

Photo of Nichole Brownlee from her LinkedIn Profile

I was able to connect with Nichole Brownlee before our interview through LinkedIn, so I could get to know her better. During the interview, I was able to ask her many questions that gave me a look into my future. Some of the questions I asked her are below along with her responses:

What’s a typical week like for you?
There is no typical work week! I work with volunteers and community partners a lot during the weekends, and I have many director responsibilities. I manage three people who coordinate events in Indiana and am the outreach person for the entire state of Indiana.


Tell me about a project you worked on that you are especially proud of.
Recently, I developed a relationship with Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Diversity and inclusion are a very important focus for our organization and personally to me as well. I was able to schedule a tour of St. Jude for students and faculty, including the president. We had a couple of meetings afterward for them to get involved. It was a really emotional experience. An experience that developed and grew very organically.


What do you wish you would have known before starting your career?
So much! I wish I would’ve known more about transitioning into a management role, and how to hone into that position. Also, knowing the good that you do; it is rewarding to get an opportunity to see the impact of our work.  


How important is writing in your career?
Honestly, communication and writing are very important. We are communicating daily with various levels of executives, volunteers, patient families, and team members. Communication in general and timeliness is very important.


What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in this industry?

  • Be ready to give 110%. Knowing that it is your time to prove yourself.
  • Start to recognize where your strengths and weaknesses are. Concentrate on the weaknesses.
  • Enjoy it. I love my colleagues and the work that we do.

Nichole Brownlee allowed me to learn more about her work life, and how humbling it truly is. I was grateful that she took the time to talk to me. Our interview makes me excited for the future, and I cannot wait for what is to come. I cherish all of the advice she gave and look forward to meeting her in the future.

How Toyota responded from 2009 crisis

Toyota dealt with crisis communication in 2009 when gas pedals were accelerating with no end in sight. Four people died because of this crisis, and several other people experienced the acceleration but were able to avoid an accident. Toyota wanted to make it right, so they recalled 4 million cars due to the jammed gas pedals. Their customers’ safety was their top priority, which was displayed by them recalling 4 million vehicles. Toyota displayed They were flexible by changing their recall to include more types of cars to make sure that their customers were safe. The cause of the risk was identified, and they were willing to solve the problem by shortening the gas pedals. Therefore eliminating the damage and restoring credibility for their company.

One Toyota model that was a part of the recall.
Source: Green Car Reports

Toyota came out early with a statement saying that their company would protect the safety of its customers and the public. Crisis happens, but Toyota responded in the golden hour, which allowed the public to know where they stood. Even though not all of the facts were present, they still moved forward and spoke with the media. They do not want rumors to fly rampant and wish to have a handle on the current situation. They were able to handle the media beast by keeping them occupied and informed on the current status. Thankfully, social media was not as prevalent in 2009, so they did not have to worry about that aspect. No crisis management team is perfect, but Toyota tried their best. They could have done some things differently like not blaming all the issues on the floor mats in the vehicles, which could have sped up their investigation process.

Toyota is a large automotive manufacturer who was doing exceptionally well in the field before this recall occurred. Their comeback since this crisis has been incredible with campaigns like #wishgranted, which shows that a company can come back from a crisis.

15 reasons you should take Comm 368 with Mullen

  1. She is the most dedicated professor I have come to know.
  2. Mullen teaches you how important it is to be credible as a public relations professional. Otherwise, you will not be taken seriously in your career.
  3. Her class involves activities that place you right in the public relations field, which helps you get a job!
  4. She gives you real-world experience by working with businesses around the community.
  5. She connects you with people in your field, which displays how essential it is to make connections with others.
  6. She guides you through WordPress, LinkedIn, and Canva, and she makes sure that you know how these websites can assist you in your career.
  7. Amid crises around the world, Mullen explains how to handle the conflict with ease as a public relations professional.
  8. Mullen expresses through her teaching that you have to love what you do and be proud of the work you are doing. I.E., DO what you love. LOVE what you do.
  9. She provides you with opportunities that will last a lifetime and further your education.
  10. Resumes, cover letters, and business cards are all essential to a successful career. Through Mullen’s class, you will get the opportunity to perfect your portfolio.
  11. She gives you the necessary tools to make sure that you are successful in whatever you do.
  12. She expresses that everyone needs to have their own elevator pitch. This pitch will allow you to land your DREAM job. 
  13. She shows you how vital grammar and your writing style is in the public relations field.
  14. She comes to class every day loving what she does, which makes you want to be present.
  15. Her class is engaging and will make you want to make the world a better place.

Don’t make this unethical mistake like United Airlines did

United Airlines dragged a passenger off an overbooked plane in April 2017 that created a media frenzy. The video broadcasted on Twitter by a passenger on the flight shows the passenger screaming in agony as he is being forced to leave the flight. However, the airline’s purpose is to fly friendly, fly right, and fly together, yet they disrespected and humiliated a passenger aboard Flight 3411 to Louisville. The bloodied passenger is pictured below as he is being dragged off the plane.

The passenger who was forced off the United Airlines plane.
Source: CNN

They didn’t make decisions with empathy or be a warm and welcoming face like their purpose states; they were hateful and unfriendly as they pressured the passenger to leave the aircraft. The airline had four employees that needed to go to Louisville, but why couldn’t they have just gotten on the next flight out to Louisville? Why force a customer who paid for his ticket and is causing no harm to leave his seat? Why create more problems for their company, when there is a solution right in front of them? United Airlines should not have overbooked Flight 3411 and should have told all passengers while checking in that they might be bumped to the next flight. In the future, United should be more transparent and upfront about their policies when a flight is overbooked. This type of unethical behavior displayed on a United Airlines aircraft hurts the organization in the long run. United will always have this headline tarnishing their image. The airline industry is competitive with many other air carriers vying and competing for more customers. United will always have to go above and beyond if they do not want more customers to abandon their airline. This crisis gives customers a reason to book their flights with other air carriers on their own free will. Overbooked flights might not be a problem for United Airlines from now on.