Dr. Chris McCollough, Georgia chapter

ChrisMcCulloughName: Dr. Chris McCollough

Chapter: Georgia

Current position: Assistant Professor of Communication, Columbus State University. I currently supervise all curriculum and teaching responsibilities for our public relations curriculum, as well as advise our University’s PRSSA Chapter, now in its 3rd year.

How long in current position: 4 years

First PR job: Pro Bono PR Consultant for the Young Democrats at my alma mater, Virginia Tech University. I was taking my first PR writing course, and the final project included performing pro bono work for a local community or University organization. I spent most of the semester helping them with recruiting, messaging, and organizational promotion

Where you attended college: B.A. in Communication, Virginia Tech University; M.A. in Communication, Virginia Tech University; Ph.D. in Mass Media and Public Affairs, Louisiana State University

If you weren’t doing PR, you’d be.., I would probably still be doing a lot of work in the nonprofit or public sector. Civic engagement was a bug I caught at a very young age growing up, and so I always thought I would make my way back to helping serve the community. I am happy to say my teaching and research both allow me to satisfy that interest here in my own community and in the discipline.

What is your passion? Teaching and mentoring is something I probably enjoy more than anything else I do. Watching an aspiring practitioner grow into a professional is a joy every fall and spring.

Proudest professional accomplishment: Honestly, I think it was probably watching my student teams present their competitive pitches this past fall in my PR Campaigns class. I have spent the past couple of years moving my teaching approach to more professionally-centered dynamics, and the competitive bid is one element we don’t always get the best opportunity to teach in the classroom. So, I had the pleasure of watching 6 teams of students work in head-to-head competition for three local clients for 3 winning bids.

Why are you a PRSA member? It makes me a better teacher, because I see and hear what my colleagues in the discipline are talking about and dealing with in the workplace. It makes me a better professional for the nonprofit organizations I provide pro bono counsel to because I can stay up to speed with the issues that nonprofit practitioners face every day. Finally, it will soon allow me to pursue formal accreditation, which will only enhance my credibility with my students and peers in the region.

Each week, the PRSA Southeast District highlights one of its 2,300 members. To join PRSA, visit prsa.org.

Steve Padgett, South Carolina chapter

StevenPadgettName: Steve Padgett

Chapter: South Carolina

Current position: Account Representative Corporate/Marketing Communications, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina

How long in current position: 6 years

First PR job: Community Relations Coordinator for the South Carolina Organ Procurement Agency

Where you attended college: University of South Carolina

If you weren’t doing PR, you’d be.. teaching.

What is your passion?  I enjoy working with people. Whether it is in my professional life helping clients solve how to best communicate products to potential members or personally helping others who may be less fortunate, interacting with people and helping them succeed makes it all worth it.

Proudest professional accomplishment: Leading our annual United Way campaign for employees to the highest monetary contributions as well as overall employee participation.

Why are you a PRSA member? To be able to network with other professionals who are in the same situation and learn new and better ways to solve problems as well as share my experiences with others to help them grow and learn from my opportunities.

Each week, the PRSA Southeast District highlights one of its 2,300 members. To join PRSA, visit prsa.org.

Melody Foote, North Carolina chapter

Melody FooteName: Melody Foote

Chapter: North Carolina

Current position: Director of Communications, Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

How long in current position: 1 year but with Meritan for the last 15!

First PR job: Communications Coordinator, Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Where you attended college: State University of New York (SUNY) Pittsburgh

If you weren’t doing PR, you’d be.. working for a non-profit in some capacity.

What is your passion? I’m a movie fanatic.

Proudest professional accomplishment: Working with a great journalist to secure a story about Fayetteville and its connection to Babe Ruth in the Baltimore Sun.

Why are you a PRSA member? I’ve found the Travel & Tourism section to be a great resource for professional development.

Each week, the PRSA Southeast District highlights one of its 2,300 members. To join PRSA, visit prsa.org.

Tammy Pierce, Memphis chapter

Name: Tammy PierceTammy Pierce

Chapter: Memphis

Current position: Director of Development Compliance and Corporate Outreach at Meritan, Inc.

How long in current position: 1 year but with Meritan for the last 15!

First PR job: This is it!

Where you attended college: University of Mississippi (Hotty Toddy!)

If you weren’t doing PR, you’d be.. doing human resources. I started with Meritan 15 years ago in HR, but evolved into fundraising and corporate outreach/public relations due to my love to go out in the community, meet new people and speak about the amazing work that Meritan does every day to fulfill lives of people we serve.

Proudest Professional Accomplishment: Creating my first website for Meritan’s foster care program for special needs children in Mississippi

What is your passion? Making a difference in the lives of others.

Why are you a PRSA member? To learn more about my new role at Meritan and help brand the non-profit.

Each week, the PRSA Southeast District highlights one of its 2,300 members. To join PRSA, visit prsa.org.