‘Include everyone in the conversation,’ PR pro says

Late last month, University of Detroit Mercy students interested in the Public Relations and Communications fields had the opportunity to connect with a leader in the industry.

Georgella Muirhead, who is the founder and CEO of PR firm 98 Forward, originally Burg Muirhead & Associates, took the time to share her success story and offer encouraging advice on the topic of standing out in the PR world. The guest lecture was organized by CLAE Dean Jocelyn Boryczka and CLAE Director of Recruitment & Communications Alexandra Hichel, who welcomed Muirhead into her PR Writing class. The event was also open to any other students who wished to join.

With over 50 years of experience in communications and an established reputation in Detroit, Muirhead curated an insightful presentation for students, which gave them a look into how she became a titan in her industry and got to where she is today by creating her own opportunities.

Muirhead went from government work to being an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) with a Silver Anvil Award for Excellence in Government Communications, along with a Grand Effy Award for Student Recruitment and Community Engagement, all while managing her own PR agency with over 150 diverse clients.

The conversation between Muirhead and students touched on the topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), which she has made focal points in her contribution to the PR world.

“In the college, we believe that diversity is our strength in terms of the peoples and the curriculum in our college community that enables us from a range of human experiences, perspectives and beliefs and identities, to pursue big ques-tions and to take big action to impact our society today,” Boryczka said while opening the presentation. “In this way, we at the college and in the university reach for the ‘magis,’ which means ‘the more.’”

Muirhead demonstrated these same values throughout her conversation with students.

A vast majority of her work, as she highlighted in her presentation, is about paying respect to BIPOC communities in a way that provides equal opportunity to voice opinions and feel heard on all fronts. Having inclusivity and equality present in her Detroit projects has allowed Muirhead to be more than just an employee within the city; she has become a big part of the change and initiative to create a more balanced system.

“Since our founding, we always strongly believed that it was important to figure out how to include everybody in the conversation,” Muirhead said.

An additional aspect of her career that Muirhead wished to reflect on with students, as she mentioned she also commonly taught to young practitioners in her field, is the im– portance of doing one’s job in a way that makes them memorable. She spoke of several occasions where she saw an opportunity to demonstrate her skills and stand out to her higher-ups, resulting in her being promoted.

Muirhead’s ultimate advice for students who wish to advance in their professional careers, rather than remaining stagnant and waiting for luck to come their way, was the make every opportunity matter.

Students were able to ask questions and personally connect with the PR specialist following her presentation as well as meet Senior Director of 98 Forward, Jeremy Thomas.