News | October 25th, 2019

Grads are Back

By: James Thomas
Grads are Back

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University has some old faces on campus. This was not only caused by their homecoming, but the annual Grads are Back event was held at the School of Journalism and Graphic Communications.

FAMU’s colloquium was not much of a presentation, but more of a conversation. Hosted by Professor Francine Huff, the conversation between Michelle Ferrier, dean of SJGC, and Stefan James was a must see.

James is a graduate of FAMU’s public relations program with a minor in marketing and philosophy. After his tenure at FAMU, he attended Nova Southeastern University to get a master’s degree in international business, with a concentration in marketing. While getting his MBA, James started a small marketing consulting firm called Blueprint Marketing in south Florida, this specialized in marketing to [gen x] and multicultural consumers. He is the global innovation marketing director at PepsiCo, a marketing executive that has worked with Mr. Clean, Swiffer, Pantene, Herbal Essence and Febreze. 

Branding was one of the key terms James explained. Not just branding for a business, but branding yourself.

“What do you want people to say about you, when you’re not around?” said James. “What do I want people to think about me?”

James said that you must be willing to learn skills and have knowledge about what you’re doing. He said that he puts everything into a five-year plan and that’s how he completes his goals.

Ferrier joined in on the conversation about big brands and why they need more people of color in higher positions.

“The bigger companies have been in the news far too often for offensive symbols towards people of color,” said Ferrier.

Students, faculty, staff and the board of directors sat and soaked up the information given by James. After the conversation ended, Ferrier opened the floor to people in the audience.

Broadcast journalism student Tracey Belizaire was intrigued about public relations.

“How can we utilize our broadcast degree in public relations?” Belizaire asks.

 James explained that the best thing to do is become the best writer you can be. He says that being a great writer can get you a job in almost any field. 

James was excited to have the opportunity to come back to his alma mater and explain to the students his experiences as a professional. 

Before leaving, he was sure to tell people the power of networking.

 “While you’re here on campus, you should know, it’s not just about what you’re learning,” said James. “But who you are meeting as well.”