Faculty Spotlight: Sadie Wilks
1. You worked in public relations before moving into academia and you’re also Accredited in Public Relations (APR). What did you learn from your work experience and the APR process that you try to convey to your students?
My professional experience can be described in so many ways; Challenging, rewarding, and exciting come to mind. Truly, my 17 years as a PR practitioner have been enjoyable with many life and career lessons learned. I chose PR as a career path because I believed it would be offer the most opportunity for learning new things. I have not been disappointed.
Earning my APR was a terrific experience for me. After 10 years as a practitioner, many of the decisions I made and the strategies I developed had become second nature. At that point in my career, I believed that I needed to step up my ability to communicate with business leaders to further my career and professional development. Studying for the APR reinforced those core public relations principles so that I could better explain my strategies using solid research and sound communication theory.
2.What drew you to become an adjunct professor at the Manship School?
Last year, I realized that it was time to change my career trajectory. Though I was proud of my accomplishments to date and my leadership role in my organization, I needed a challenge. I was too comfortable. So, I initiated conversations with some trusted mentors and colleagues, knowing that they could help me find my way. They pointed out that as a PR practitioner, I served the profession and students in numerous volunteer roles over the years, and that I should consider academia. Coincidentally, the instructor position was announced at Manship and the rest is history.
3.What classes are you teaching this semester?
- What do you most enjoy about teaching at the Manship School?
Introduction to Public Relations
Writing for Public Relations
The most enjoyable aspect of teaching at Manship is working with the students. Helping them solve problems is a challenging, yet fulfilling experience.
4. Prior to working for LSU, you were the Vice President of Administration and Communication for the Louisiana State Medical Society. What kind of work did you do within this position?
As LSMS vice president of communication and administration, I held two distinct roles. In my communications role, I wrote and edited content for all our internal and external publications, the website and social media channels; developed strategy for public relations and membership campaigns; assisted with advocacy efforts; managed special events and grant projects; and coordinated all media relations. In my administrative role, I managed several employees and the day-to-day operations of the office.
5. You are the faculty advisor for PRSSA at LSU. Why should students get involved with PRSSA at LSU?
PRSSA is THE best way to break into your career. Whether you are trying to gain practical experience, network with your future colleagues and current professionals, or just get more out of your college experience – PRSSA is the way to go!
6. You have had a great career thus far. What advice do you have for students who are hoping to make their mark in public relations?
Take chances. Be open to opportunities. Learn something new every day.
If you have the chance, move. Leave your city, your state, or go abroad.
The change in perspective will immensely help your career and outlook.
Along those same lines, listen and work with individuals who challenge your views and opinions. You will better define yourself.