This morning, I had the opportunity to talk with a group of rising women leaders in higher education who are participating in the American Council on Education’s National Women’s Leadership Forum. Because ACE will always hold a special place in my heart, it was a special thrill to be invited by my former colleagues to talk about media relations and thought leadership. And the Council’s longstanding commitment to preparing women for college and university leadership roles is so important as we continue to see the rates of women reaching senior positions slow and stagnate.

 

The Forum agenda covered a number of areas that often cause rising leaders stress – fundraising, contract negotiation, search strategy, and board engagement. And, of course, communications and media relations.

 

In the hour I had with these accomplished and engaged women, we covered a lot of ground – how to prepare for an interview, how to work closely with your media relations team, and how to identify thought leadership opportunities. I shared with the group my “embroidered sofa pillows” – the couple of mantras I hope they will repeat to themselves when preparing for their interactions with the media now and in their future leadership positions.

 

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And hopefully I left the group with the knowledge that while working with media relations can be anxiety-inducing, it doesn’t have to be. And we need them out there, engaging proactively with all of our publics to tell compelling stories about our institutions.