CCTT hosts Alumni Lecture Series

Anthoine speaking to Grady students in Studio 100.
Jason Anthoine (ABJ '89) speaking to Grady students (Photo: Jackson Schroeder)

CCTT hosts Alumni Lecture Series

October 25, 2023

The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication welcomed Jason Anthoine (ABJ ’89) and Dr. Taylor Voges (PhD ’23) back on Tuesday, Oct. 3, for an alumni lecture series hosted by the Crisis Communication Think Tank

Anthoine spoke about crisis management as it relates to internal corporate communications and connecting with employees and stakeholders in his lecture “Taking the Corporate Out of Communications: Why Companies Lack Courage and How You Can Help Fix It.” Dr. Voges shared her expertise on issues of diversity and ethics through her lecture “Ethics, Diversity, and Crises: Improving Communication with Knowledge and Strategy.” 

Anthoine is currently the managing founder and head honcho of Audacity, a consultancy that helps companies inform, involve and inspire employees. He has over 34 years of experience in internal communications. 

When discussing strategies in crisis management, Anthoine explored the power of considering “what if” as opposed to “what is” during a crisis. He described that, during crises, people tend to have a short-term focus on the chaos of the present moment. Too many practitioners tend to miss potential opportunities that may emerge from the situation. 

“Crisis is an opportunity for what if to triumph over what is,” Anthoine said. 

He encouraged students entering the communications industry to have the courage to speak up to leadership and inform them what is best for their organization, even if it seems daunting. When asked about how he, himself, finds the courage to do this, he said it is equally challenging every time. Nonetheless, he said he believes it is an important part of internal communications. 

“I’d rather get thrown out the door for asking them to do the right thing than staying and having them do the wrong thing,” Anthoine said. “They can do the wrong thing all on their own.”

Following Anthoine, Dr. Voges shared key messages about ethics and diversity in crisis management. Dr. Voges is a communication analyst at Ketchum. 

In her interactive lecture, she walked attendees through various definitions of ethics and pointed to how there is no universal way of defining this complex subject. 

“Ethics is hard for a reason, it’s not about you it’s about the other,” Dr. Voges said. “It’s not about trying to justify yourself so that you feel okay at the end of the day. It’s about understanding yourself so when you make decisions you can feel okay at the end of the day, whatever the outcome may be.” 

Anthoine and Dr. Voges pose with Dr. Jin after the lecture series. (Photo: Lila Maiolo)

When discussing diversity, Dr. Voges stated that both representation and inclusion are necessary to accomplish true diversity. Not only must people acknowledge one another’s differences, but also bring them together to help make better holistic decisions as a society. 

Dr. Voges echoed Anthoine in noting the value of having the courage to speak out in a group. She ended her lecture by emphasizing the importance of the “10th man” in disagreeing with group-think as a better means of integrating diversity into society. 

Undergraduate and graduate students gathered to hear these speakers and participate in a question and answer session. One student, Camille Isom, said she found the discussion of ethics particularly eye opening. 

“There’s a lot of different viewpoints and opinions that can be tackled in ethics,” said Isom. “It was helpful to learn about the different concepts involved and how it’s important to play devil’s advocate.”

Anthoine and Dr. Voges’ lectures left students feeling empowered to use their voice to stand up to leadership and encourage ethical practices in the communications industry.