I am happy to introduce our new Public Relations Writing Professor, Kimberly Stoddard, on the blog today! Professor Stoddard joins us from BOCA Communications where she works as the senior content and media strategist. She is excited to join us here in the Communication Studies Department at USF and has already been demonstrating her USF pride (seriously, she came to a meeting wearing a USF scarf! I love it!). I asked her to introduce herself and fill us in on her plans for COMS 323.
Q: Tell us about your career in public relations.
Professor Stoddard: “I’ve been working in the communication field for more than 20 years. In that time I have done public relations, analyst relations, investor relations and social campaigns for Fortune 500 and Global 1000 brands, as well as startups. I love helping people find and share their unique voices, communicate clearly and earn positive sentiment. Today, I am a senior content and media strategist with BOCA Communications and The Townsend Team where I works with tech, life sciences and higher-education clients. In the past I’ve been a VP in Hill + Knowlton Strategies’ technology practice — representing Adobe, Qualcomm, SanDisk and TATA Communications — and previously directed accounts at Eastwick Communications and SHIFT Communications. At those agencies, I’ve mentored teammates that have later gone on to run PR at Apple, Box, HP, IBM, Intuit, Texas Instruments and other companies. Nothing makes me prouder than being a small part of my colleagues’ success! I also serve on the board of INFORUM, the Commonwealth Club’s innovation lab, which shares a common mission with USF of being a socially responsible learning community.”
Q: Why take a class in PR Writing?
Professor Stoddard: “In any communication – especially written – people want to immediately know what’s in it for them. So, I’ll answer that question by assuring this course is designed to help you share that value proposition quickly and compellingly. The second big benefit is that I can connect you directly with paid PR internship opportunities in the business sector. PR is a trade, and prospective employers will expect that you have some on-the-job experience before you walk through their doors. Even if you’re not interested in becoming a PR professional, this course will help you master the basics of business communication and the art of written persuasion. Finally, all students will leave this class with a viable portfolio of writing samples, tools and resources they can use to help them secure and thrive in their careers.”
Q: What are you excited about this class?
Professor Stoddard: I immediately connected with USF’s values of doing well by doing good, and I wanted to be a part of that initiative in some small measure. Since I come from the business sector, my goal is to prepare students to succeed in business — specifically in PR writing. Today that means understanding how to solve problems together and how to be resourceful on your own. This course is designed to offer a LOT of independence for students to move forward at their own pace and to get what they want from it. I’m so excited to see what each student brings to the table and to learn from them as much as they do from me and the fabulous guest speakers we’ll have.
Q: What was your first PR class like and how did it differ from your first PR job?
Professor Stoddard: “My first PR class terrified me. I was a journalism major, so PR was always considered ‘The Dark Side.’ I vowed I would NEVER get into PR after that because the course didn’t do a good job of showing the spectrum of PR and the value of learning compelling PR communication. Fortunately, my first actual job was for a PR firm promoting computer graphics like virtual reality and 3D animation decades before these were mainstream technologies, and it was so exciting! I want to bring THAT experience into the USF classroom. As a result, you won’t just hear from me, but you’ll hear from the change makers at companies YOU care about.”
Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Professor Stoddard: “I bet students get asked this question all the time, so it’s only fair to turn the tables! Despite spending more than 20 years in communications, I still feel like I’m still exploring this question. Technology is changing our world with unprecedented speed and at unprecedented scale. And that’s exciting! And it also means that we all need to be adaptable, which requires having a LOT of interests. Recognizing that so much change is catalyzing today, I use my volunteer work with the Commonwealth Club’s INFORUM division as a way to bring the most important voices of our era to a public stage. But we can’t forget the past. I’m also fascinated by ancient civilizations and what we can learn from how they communicated in millennia past, so I spend some of my spare time traveling and learning about history and language. Currently, I’m an aspiring author who is working to fulfill a dream of applying my publicist skills to great ladies of our near past. I’m starting right here in San Francisco with a biography of the influential and controversial Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, who you might recognize as the subject of the Dewey monument in Union Square or the founder of the Palace of the Legion of Honor museum. I look forward to learning about the aspirations of each student in my class!”
Please join me in welcoming Professor Stoddard to our department!