By: Joyleah Odom
Dr. Cheryl Lambert, an MDJ professor at Kent State, shares her most memorable experiences in her career and encourages students to take outside opportunities to find new interests.
After earning her master’s degree in journalism from Temple University, Lambert spent several years working as a publisher and feature writer in Philadelphia. However, her need for a support system and sense of belonging ultimately drew her in a different direction.
The position of public relations in internal communications at Sears headquarters opened up and Lambert was able to use her skills in journalism to aid her in this new position. Even with her prior experience as a writer, Lambert still had difficulty transitioning from journalism to public relations. It required her to do lots of “on-the-job learning," but she said that it was worth it. At Sears, Lambert could recognize the work the company did to celebrate and promote diversity and inclusion.
“… there was a strong tradition in corporate headquarters of promoting and celebrating diversity,” Lambert said about the company. “There was a sense of belonging from well-regarded employee resource groups which partially served as advisory organizations to the company CEO.”
In her career, her favorite campaign of all time was “Sears Grand!” The project was a rebranding initiative that included the creation of a stand-alone store in suburban Chicago with new items such as clothes, groceries, etc.
“We did some media training of the store manager, connecting with a small non-profit to introduce ourselves to the community, hiring a jazz band to play on the soft opening night,” Lambert said. This project was also memorable because it was her first chance to be involved with external public relations. To this day, she still remembers this as still one of her fondest work memories.
Lambert’s advice for aspiring public relations professionals is to take opportunities outside of your area of interest and be content with not always getting accolades for your work. “I heard a tough saying once ‘your paycheck is your praise,’” Lambert said.