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International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Hosts Panel Discussion

By Kate McAvey, '11

IABC Philadelphia hosted a panel discussion on career opportunities in the fields of communications and public relations on Thursday, April 17, in the DeLeon Room of the St. Augustine Center for the Liberal Arts. Panelists included Barbara Beck, co-founding partner of Sage Communications; Anthony DeFazio, principal of DeFazio Communications LLC; Tim Ernst, president of Ravenwood Creative LLC; Robyn Reed Frenze, a consultant for Vox Medica; and Chris Lentz, senior editor of ING U.S. Financial Services.

The panelists explained to the students in attendance how they became involved in communications, each panelist taking a different academic path to their chosen profession. DeFazio said that he graduated college with a degree in political science, while Ernst explained that he enrolled in the U.S. Navel Academy after high school. Even though the panelists discovered their careers in unique ways, all panelists agreed on the best methods to gain success and happiness for a successful communications career. All the guests stressed the importance of finding a meaningful and fulfilling summer internship. Internships lead to experience and networking, which are keys to building a career in communications.

“When you find that internship,” Ernst said, “You have to be willing to take on a job that no one else is willing to do." Frenze added to Ernst’s advice: “Convey that you have initiative and take that initiative above and beyond.” All the panelists explained that persistence is a must when trying to make an impression.

The next step on the track to success is to take advantage of technology in today’s world. Beck explained how the journalism and newspaper industries have transformed due to the amount of information that is now read on the Web. Lenz added that many contacts and relationships are created through e-mail in today’s world, making strong computer skills a necessity for a career in the communications industry.

With the emphasis on computers in the world today, the panel suggested starting an online blog for students to publish their writing on the Web. “Write as much as you can; they want to know you,” Frenze said. In the journalism industry, getting one’s writing “out in the world” is a must.

Reading too is another aspect the panelists emphasized. The panelists suggested reading every angle and every aspect of a news story. It is important to see and understand every perspective of the news covered, they said.

Although the panelists provided a plethora of advice and tips for those who are thinking about a career in the field of communications, they stressed that everyone should find what they are passionate about. The panelists made it clear that if the reason you are choosing a career is for the money, then you will never be successful. As DeFazio put it, “Your passions and skills need to be in line with your ambitions; you have to do it because your heart is in to it.” They all agreed that following one’s heart will lead to success in any career.

To learn more about the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) in Philadelphia, visit

Kate McAvey, ‘11, is a first-year student from Mahwah, N.J. She plans to major in Communication. Kate is working as an intern in the Office of Communications in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University. Kate’s professional ambitions include broadcasting, public relations, and journalism.

Media Contact

Jennifer Schu

Director of Communications, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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