2015 Graduate | Vice president of strategic communications, National Association of Manufacturers
Seizing opportunity in the PR world
Seize the opportunity. That is the golden rule for PR pros. Ask Jamie Hennigan, strategic communications vice president for an industrial trade association, who has shaped his career around his appetite for knowledge. Jamie developed an interest in PR as a congressional campaign volunteer during his senior year in high school.After graduation, he enrolled at the George Washington University determined to rise in political communications.At the beginning of Jamie’s career, he worked for some of the most powerful government leaders in Washington, D.C., including the vice president, but when he left government, he found he needed a new perspective. This prompted him to turn back to GW for a Strategic Public Relations master’s degree online. “Moving to the private sector helped me realize that I needed to learn more about the broader public relations discipline beyond media relations,” Jamie said.Excelling at all levels
Jamie is now vice president of strategic communications for the largest industrial trade association in the U.S. He says there’s “no better option” than the GW PR degree online — something he imparts to current students whenever he hosts classes at his job.
“The SPR program has had a positive impact on my career,” Jamie said. “It not only helped me to expand my expertise in the public relations space, but it also helped me to advance within my organization and continue to bring new ideas and contributions to the table.”
Enhanced convenience online
Jamie wanted a rewarding education that would not interrupt his career, and that’s what he found at GW. “Although I work in D.C.,” he said, “I could not commit to a normal classroom schedule given work and travel commitments, so a flexible master’s program made sense for me.”
As Jamie’s professional roles and family life expanded, his PR degree’s convenience became critical.
“This is one area where the program really stands out,” Jamie said. “Because of the flexibility of the online PR degree, you are able to make adjustments to accommodate work and family obligations that you wouldn’t be able to make in a traditional program. We had our first son and I started a new job while pursuing my master’s in this program.”
A cycle of advantage
Jamie’s online program yielded numerous real-world benefits. He regularly tapped into the program’s thriving alumni network in the D.C. region to help him get ahead in a competitive environment. Additionally, Jamie credits the rigorous curriculum with helping him develop a professional toolkit of best practices.
“The GW Strategic PR curriculum is incredibly relevant to real-world public relations practice in Washington,” he said. “There were numerous times that a classroom discussion or reading spurred an idea that I later implemented at work, or caused me to rethink a strategy or look at an issue in a different way.”