Six Klein College of Media and Communication students participated in the Multicultural Talent Pipeline (MCTP) hosted by Publicis Media in Atlanta, Georgia from Oct. 16-18. All of the students were from the Department of Advertising and Public Relations and networked with over 100 other students in those fields from across the country.
For senior public relations major Raeesah Twahir, MCTP was an opportunity to expand her knowledge. When she started at Temple University, she was an information science and technology major, but eventually realized that she wanted to focus on media and diverse representation through beauty branding. She switched her course of study last year and has found public relations to be the perfect fit. With current involvement in Temple's chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, PRowl Public Relations firm and Temple's Black Public Relations Society, she knows the importance of developing a network of people to help strengthen her capabilities. This became even more evident at MCTP, where another attendees put her in contact with a representative from the global beauty brand L'Oreal.
"As soon as you get an opportunity, you just connect with somebody and start following up," she says. "And that's exactly what I did."
Similarly, Tarahjee Morris, a senior advertising major with concentrations in art direction and brand strategy, began studying advertising after his friend helped him realize that it combines his passions for art and empowering people of color. At MCTP, Morris was able to interview with an on-site recruiter. The interview was a general assessment of his leadership and teamwork skills. He is not sure whether his future career path will lead him to work in an agency, with a brand or independently, but he appreciates the emphasis the interview placed on collaborative effort, a theme he noticed throughout the event.
"What I liked about [MCTP was] the likemindedness other people had," he says. "They thought in a very synonymous nature as I did in terms of going to this conference and not just being an opportunist."
As established professionals in marketing, Klein faculty and staff consider MCTP to be an impactful experience. Dana Saewitz, chair of the advertising and public relations department, says that for the second year in a row, Temple had the highest number of student representatives of all of the schools that attended.
"There are speakers who speak about the importance of diversity and inclusion which enables students to feel valued and welcome," she says. "I think that they learn about career opportunities that they probably have not considered before."
Lauren Bullock, an assistant professor of instruction who teaches courses in public relations and leadership, attended MCTP with the students. She enjoyed the plentiful opportunities for students to engage with professionals and with one another.
"The thing I always think students like the most is meeting other people they can potentially work with," she says. "I say that because we talk to them in class about theory, we go through the skills part of it, but when you're in a space and you have to talk to somebody else about what's going on in the industry, it can be pretty stressful. And I think that the way [MCTP] is set up, they just do a really good job of creating a space where you can learn and share."
David Brown, diversity advisor to the Office of the Dean, worked with Saewitz to help select the students who attended the event. He recognizes that a strong network is built from a strong set of values.
"I think part of the industry's realization [is] that they're going to have to invest a lot more in being proactive in terms of attracting the kind of talent that would be more diverse," he says. "So [the pipeline is] just not in name only. Part of it is a commitment to fueling the pipeline."
Twahir agrees, and is excited to continue her journey in the world of public relations because of the dedication to diversity and inclusion she experienced at MCTP.
"You see people who have a true motive to succeed in this field and they put it into their employees," she says. "And when you invest into your employees, you're investing into your company."