Talking Dog executive board 2019-20: Back row (L to R): Stacy Lee (Co-Creative Director), Kathryn Ann Waller (Director of Photography), Anna Gardner (Director of New Business & Client Relations), Jordan Callaway (Co-Director of Member Relations), Marquan Norris (Communications Director)
Front row (L to R): Cara Anderson (Copywriting Advisor), Maddisen Huff (Co-Creative Director) ,Hanh Nguyen (Co-Director), Hiba Rizvi (Co-Director), De'Andra Gaston (Director of Fetch Research), Roseann Chi (Co-Director of Member Relations).
Talking Dog gives students an immersive communications agency experience
It is one of the first questions posed to Grady College advertising and public relations alumni when interviewing forjobs: “Do you have any agency experience?”
Hiring managers seek a diverse skillset and the collaborative experience creating when working in an agency environment. In its third year, Talking Dog continues to grow and develop as an integrated, in-house, full-service, student-led agency.
“Talking Dog is like its own little family in Grady College,” said Hiba Rizvi, a fourth-year public relations major and Talking Dog co-director. “It consists of our college’s most innovative minds that create meaningful work for clients that benefit from their efforts.”
Talking Dog works with real world clients and gives students the opportunity to execute campaigns through traditional and digital methods. This year Talking Dog has 85 students from 11 different majors that work in cross disciplinary teams. They serve 11 clients, the most to date.
“It is essential that we provide a learning lab like Talking Dog,” said Bryan Reber, department head for advertising and public relations. “I am always amazed by the quality of work they develop for clients.”
Part of Talking Dog’s mission is to foster relationships with local community leaders, businesses and non-profits to help them achieve their goals. That includes a developing a potential pipeline for the next generation of communications leaders. Athens Academy (a local K-12 school) and Talking Dog have a partnership to share knowledge and learn from each other that delivers on that mission.
Built upon a demand from clients to gain more insight from Generation Z, the relationship with the Academy is a win-win. Talking Dog is able to conduct research through surveys with students in grades 9-12, while Talking Dog is mentoring three high school students, serving as interns for specific clients.
“Talking Dog has been an incredible experience for our students, who were fortunate enough to be selected,” said John Thorsen, Athens Academy head of school. “They have learned and grown from the professional environment, and I believe they have also contributed a valuable perspective along the way.”
Teamwork is now even easier for Talking Dog students as they are housed in the recently renovated Yarbrough Campaigns Lab, in honor of C. Richard (Dick) Yarbrough (ABJ ’59).
“A student-run firm in a university allows fresh minds to cultivate extraordinary ideas with live feedback by their peers as they progress,” Rizvi said.
Students or potential clients can learn more about Talking Dog and contact the agency at: talkingdogagency.com.