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Implementing effective and innovative strategies, communications professionals deliver success to major companies across the nation.
A diverse and expansive field, communications is an essential function of any successful organization. Be it through marketing and social media campaigns, internal newsletters, or reports designed to reach investors and stakeholders, being able to produce effective and compelling material oftentimes dictates the success of a company.
Although representatives from vastly different industries, Isiah Sellers, Tonita Cheatham, Jonathan Mayor and Kimberly Stiener-Murphy agree on one thing - especially in the digital age, effective communicators must be able to cohesively deliver a specific message across all platforms.
Get an inside look at their jobs and at the communications field from each of them on the following pages.
USAF Veteran Stiener-Murphy Matches Vets with Fulfilling Civilian Careers at Robert Half
With a combined total of more than 22 years in the professional staffing industry, it can be said Kimberly Stiener-Murphy is an expert in pairing stellar candidates with great employers. This expertise extends to managing media presence, too.
You see, in her current role as regional vice president for the Robert Half’s Greater Sacramento (CA), North Bay Area (CA) and Northern Nevada offices, Stiener-Murphy acts as a media spokesperson in addition to overseeing multiple specialized divisions of the company.
In addition to her professional staffing experience, Stiener-Murphy is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force (USAF). Her six years spent in the Air Force supporting military operations such as Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom shaped her not only as a person, but also as a business leader.
“I’ve learned how to work with diverse teams and deliver under pressure,” she notes, adding that the military also helped her gain perspective with respect to determining what’s most important, and when to let go of smaller issues so as not to be derailed from the greater mission - a sentiment easily transferable to her career with Robert Half, the Menlo Park, CA-headquartered global staffing firm where she’s spent almost 20 years.
In her role as a regional vice president, Stiener-Murphy is clearly no stranger to the importance of effective communication and good visibility, especially when it comes to attracting new candidates and clients, and takes great pride in employing her skills gleaned from her time in the USAF to generate success for the agency.
“I love being able to help job seekers and companies find the perfect match. My experience in the Air Force helped me to not be afraid of the spotlight and public speaking, and gave me a greater understanding of the importance of effective communication,” she maintains, adding that individuals have sought her out for career assistance after seeing her on television, or hearing her on the radio.
As a veteran working in the staffing industry, Stiener-Murphy is uniquely situated to provide insight and assistance to fellow veterans and their families with respect to their transition into the civilian workforce, and, as such, is active in the veterans communities both within and external to Robert Half.
Through her participation on a Veterans Day panel hosted by Robert Half in 2017, as well as by volunteering with Hire Heroes USA, an organization that has partnered with Robert Half to help veterans and their spouses achieve success in the civilian workforce, Stiener-Murphy exemplifies Robert Half’s commitment to being an invaluable resource for military veterans and their families.
Via its extensive Veterans Initiative, the 19,000-employee staffing company strives to not only help former members of the military find suitable employment based on their specialized skills, but also to hire veterans and train their employees in how best to match a veteran’s specific skills to civilian jobs.
Stiener-Murphy echoes and embodies this mission in her own career, and encourages others in the professional staffing industry to practice compassion and empathy while remaining focused on the task at hand.
“Every day, we find people jobs and help them develop their own careers. It’s not easy, but if you genuinely care about people and are persistent, you end up making a difference with the companies and the candidates with whom we work,” she concludes.
Learn more about Robert Half via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Glassdoor and YouTube. Explore careers at roberthalf.com/careers.
U.S. Navy Vet Sellers’ FedEx Future Is Bright
Isaiah Sellers may only have joined FedEx Express less than one year ago, but he’s eager to showcase his skills in his role as a communications advisor for the Memphis, TN-headquartered multinational shipping and logistics-management company.
Having earned a Bachelor of Science in project management, as well as a master’s degree in logistics and supply chain management during his tenure with the U.S. Navy, Sellers brings a unique skill set to FedEx Express, the subsidiary of FedEx Corporation which operates the largest cargo air fleet in the world.
His duties as communications advisor include supporting the executive vice president of air operations for FedEx Express in communicating the company’s priorities to both internal and external audiences - a responsibility Sellers was more than comfortable assuming given his experiences serving in the military.
“The Navy really prepared me for my new career with FedEx,” he shares. “It was an easy transition for me since our chairman Frederick W. Smith built this company on the same principles embodied by the military.”
Sellers is especially cognizant of the importance of developing and implementing highly effective communication strategies within a company that produces $69 billion in revenue each year, and is passionate about doing his part to maintain FedEx’s reputation as one of the world’s most admired and trusted employers.
“Being able to communicate a thought, an idea or a belief is a skill set needed to successfully run any company. After joining the military, I began to realize the importance of it,” he explains, making the point that poor or skewed communication has contributed to the collapse of companies and relationships, and has, in some instances, even contributed to countries going to war with each other.
“I’m one who wants to get it right,” he asserts.
Though just beginning his career with FedEx Express, Sellers maintains his belief that the field of communications will always be relevant and the demand for skilled professional communicators will remain high.
“Communications is about so much more than writing a story or crafting an email. It’s a skill set that involves helping an audience understand the content you’re looking to deliver. It’s all about knowing who your target is and tailoring your message accordingly,” he explains.
Sellers reminds those looking to enter the field of communications that the most important part of being an effective communicator is being a good listener: “You need to be able to determine how your audience will best receive your message. You also need to be open to learning and growing with an ever-changing world.”
Learn more about FedEx via LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter. Peruse careers at careers.fedex.com/fedex and careers.fedex.com/express.
Cheatham Communicates Passion for Community Engagement at Detroit Medical Center
Tonita Cheatham always knew she wanted her future to revolve around communications. The daughter of a long-time executive producer for a major television network, Cheatham had a front-row seat to the inner workings of the media industry from a young age, an experience which fostered the passion for communications that would ultimately lead her to her current position of chief communications officer for Detroit (MI) Medical Center.
Although Cheatham didn’t join Detroit Medical Center (DMC) until 2005, she recalls a specific chapter from a book she read during her graduate coursework that would forever change the trajectory of her career.
“One chapter related to marketing communications in the healthcare sector touched a deep chord within me. It was well-written and talked about this amazing healthcare system based in Detroit, and the many aspects of marketing and communications that were utilized within that vast system,” she recalls. “That confirmed it for me!”
After interviewing with the then-vice president of DMC after graduation, who she would later learn wrote that important chapter, she assumed the role of director of marketing and business for three of the 12,000-plus-employee-strong healthcare system’s eight institutes before her promotion to chief communications officer for all of DMC in 2018.
A graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL where she earned her master’s degree in integrated marketing and communications after obtaining her undergraduate degree from Tougaloo College, Cheatham has always been drawn to serve in roles that highlight her passion for community service and engagement.
“Within the roles I’ve served in the communications sector, I’ve been able to interact with community leaders and provide valuable information to the residents living within those communities,” she notes, adding that she enjoys working in a city like Detroit for its media energy and dynamic social climate.
She takes pride in her ability and opportunity to continue the regionally leading healthcare system’s 150-year reputation by communicating the organization’s work to internal and external audiences and stakeholders.
“What keeps me in healthcare is the fact that every day brings something exciting and different - new breakthroughs, innovative medical advances, a myriad of issue-management challenges and wonderful opportunities to interact with the community,” she notes.
Cheatham encourages professionals just entering the communications sector to remain avid storytellers and take care to develop their talent for delivering messages in an organized and compelling manner.
“Organizations rely on skilled and effective communicators who can quickly develop impactful strategies, and messaging that will reach and resonate with stakeholders,” she offers, reminding others to remain adaptable to the dynamic communications landscape.
Cheatham takes pride in DMC’s outreach initiatives to introduce young people to careers in healthcare, as well as its affiliation with Meharry Medical College, which provides its African-American students access to the high-level training at DMC.
Cheatham credits her own success to and draws inspiration from those around her, including and especially her father whose sustained involvement in the civil rights movement, fostered by his childhood in Mississippi at the end of the Jim Crow age, drove Cheatham to consider and establish her goals in life through the lens of social justice.
“I don’t sit and think about me in the role. I think about other African Americans who aspire to do big things in their careers. Others broke ceilings for me, and I want to do the same for them,” she shares.
Learn more about DMC via Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Explore careers at dmc.org/careers.
Mayor’s Communications Expertise Bolsters Ryder’s Global Endeavors
Throughout his six years with Miami, FL-headquartered global logistics company Ryder, Jonathan Mayor’s expertise has been an instrumental part of the 39,000-plus-employee organization’s international success.
A dual graduate of Florida International University - first with a bachelor’s degree in communications/public relations and then with a Master of Business Administration - Mayor always knew he wanted to be a writer in some capacity.
He credits his education and professional experiences with providing him with the tools to develop the skills necessary for his success with Ryder, experiences that included everything from writing for college newspapers to working in broadcasting before transitioning to the realm of public relations and corporate communications in 2007.
As manager of global corporate communications and social media, Mayor is tasked not only with supporting much of Ryder’s domestic internal and external communication initiatives and media-relations programs, but also with overseeing Ryder’s Mexican public relations agency and external communications for Mexico and the U.K. to ensure all external-communications efforts are aligned with the execution of Ryder’s global narrative across traditional media and digital platforms.
With limited knowledge of the logistics/transportation industry when he first started with Ryder in 2013, Mayor learned quickly to apply his skill set to achieve success within the ever-changing industry.
“Over my last six years at Ryder, the industry has evolved in fascinating ways. As a communications specialist, I bring a unique perspective to this dynamic landscape,” he says.
According to Mayor, now is an especially interesting and exciting time to work as a communications specialist in the logistics industry, adding that he’s developed communication plans for some of Ryder’s latest innovations that shift the focus to consumer-facing technologies, such as COOP by Ryder, the company’s take on an asset-sharing platform designed for commercial vehicles.
As an effective leader and avid learner, Mayor stresses the importance of education, and taking advantage of opportunities to engage in new experiences. “As a writer, experience can lead to better storytelling, which is why it’s important to be active in your community, meet people, network and try to give back.”
An active member of United Way of Miami Dade Young Leaders program, Mayor does just that. “Mentoring is everything to me as I’ve been fortunate to have amazing mentors throughout my career path who have shown me what it takes to make it in communications, and I try to give back the same way.”
Above all else, Mayor reminds those entering the communications field to always retain their passions for writing and delivering a message to an audience while also maintaining a balanced life.
“Passion is a great thing to always remember as it will lead you to becoming driven. It’s not enough to be motivated, but driven in a way that’s consistent and feeds off of that passion for greatness,” he points out.
Learn more about Ryder via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube. Explore careers at ryder.com/careers.
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