Destiny McClain (center, in middle row) and Jharell Ybarra (far right, bottom row) represented the University of Georgia at the second annual AdPR Academy.
Destiny McClain (center, in middle row) and Jharell Ybarra (far right, bottom row) represented the University of Georgia at the second annual AdPR Academy.

Annual AdPR Academy provides students and industry professionals connection through diversity initiative

Editor’s Note: While many students were spending their spring break relaxing, Destiny McClain, a marketing major from Terry College, and Jharell Ybarra, an advertising major from Grady College, were participating in AdPR Academy along with 15 other students, many from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This is the second year for The Academy, a program created by our Department of Advertising and Public Relations.

 The program was an enlightening experience for many of the participants.

 “The AdPR Academy was absolutely one of the best opportunities of my entire college experience,” Deidra Shores, a student from Clark Atlanta University, said. “I was able to not only get real world insight about so many different aspects of communications, but I was able to picture myself in the world of PR after being educated by the Academy. I’m more confident in my abilities as a result of the Academy.”

 J’Lesa Wilson, a student from Albany State agreed: “The academy was an experience like no other that offers amazing insight into the advertising and public relations industry. As a PR student, the networking connections I established during the week are essential to further my professional development.”

 AdPR Executive Advisory Board member DeShele D. Taylor was the director of AdPR Academy.

 This program is supported in part by the President’s Venture Fund through the generous gifts of the University of Georgia Partners and other donors. The founders of the program are Erwin Creates and Moxie. Other sponsors included Coca-Cola, The Creative Circus, Golin, The Home Depot, Luckie, PHD, Porter Novelli and Publicis Health.

Below, is a first-hand account of the week-long program written by McClain.

Destiny McClain
Destiny McClain

The AdPR Academy is a program designed for juniors and seniors of diverse backgrounds attending a variety of Georgia schools and institutions in surrounding states. In addition to the University of Georgia, a few of the participating colleges and universities include Spelman, Clark Atlanta, Albany State, Emory, and the University of South Carolina. The purpose of the program is to help students build a strong network and gain exposure to professional opportunities in Public Relations and Advertising.

As a digital marketing major, my interest in the AdPR Academy was based on a desire to gain new insight into the communications field. I was eager to learn more about the intersection of marketing, advertising, and PR directly from industry professionals. I was also excited for the opportunity to interact with students from other universities who share similar interests.

Over the course of the week I had the opportunity to meet representatives from several agencies including Jackson Spalding, SSW, Golin, 22 Squared, PHD, Definition 6, Nebo, Porter Novelli and Moxie. We also met with a few larger corporations such as Coca-Cola, Georgia Pacific, Turner and Home Depot. Over a six-day span, I connected with nearly 100 professionals through workshops, panels and office visits.

Sacrificing my final college spring break was not an easy decision. After the first three days, I was thanking myself for choosing to participate in this wonderful program. Every day I learned something valuable. I strengthened my knowledge related to media planning and the creative process and enhanced my ability to develop strategies by mapping out the customer journey. Each presenter left me with valuable nuggets to apply in a variety of marketing situations.

Company representatives also discussed a variety of topics that can help advance diversity and inclusion. Topics included the importance of employee resource groups and how to incorporate your sense of belonging into your criteria for selecting an employer. We also focused on mentorship and breaking down barriers for those to come.

Thank you to all the sponsoring companies, as well as to Grady College, for initiating the conversation about diversity, inclusion and belonging in the workplace, and for investing in our career development. I would also like to express sincere appreciation to Moxie for welcoming us into their amazing office. Because of my participation in AdPR Academy, I have gained clarity regarding my career trajectory and long-term goals related to my personal brand.

This was truly an amazing experience. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me.

Date: March 26, 2018
Author:  Destiny McClain,  destiny.mcclain25@uga.edu