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Communication News

Keyword: event planning
Bell McManus and Verni Awards 2022Congratulations to Professor Stephanie Verni and Dr. Leeanne Bell McManus for the recent awards they received at the annual Eastern Communication Association (ECA) convention in Philadelphia. Professor Verni received the Distinguished Teaching Fellows Award.  Dr. Bell received the Ecroyd Award for Excellence in Teaching. Both educators are committed to student success at Stevenson University, teach a variety of courses, advise students, and instruct the agency course called The Mill in the School of Design. Co-authors, along with Chip Rouse, of the textbook Event Planning: Communicating Theory & Practice, both faculty members will be coordinating our communication students' involvement at the ECA convention next year, when it makes its way to Baltimore in March of 2023.

Grace Clark head shotBusiness Communication alum Grace Clark embarked on a journey that began a few months ago as she left her secure PR job in Baltimore and moved to Philadelphia. She has since found a job as an event planner with Beautiful Blooms Events in Philly.  She took some time to examine the stressors that preceded her new position:

"Although I couldn’t be more excited to embark on this new journey, my decision to leave my previous career was not easy. In fact, it was quite scary since I had been invested in it for over two years and wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted for myself in this next role. But the reward of finding a new opportunity that is better aligned with my interests and skills is well worth all of the confusion and discomfort I experienced earlier this year. I’m proud of every step I have taken thus far to get to where I am today. Questioning your choices is not always easy, but if I’ve learned anything over this time, it is that establishing the things that are important to you will only guide you in the right direction. Never settle."

Excellent words of advice, Grace. Thanks for sharing your story and props to you on your journey forward!

ECA panel 2021Three professors presented last week at the annual Eastern Communication Association Convention. Typically held each year at locations on the East Coast, the convention pivoted to a virtual conference, and panelists presented and attended via Zoom. Professors Leeanne Bell McManus, Chip Rouse, and Stephanie Verni (pictured with other presenters), authors of "Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice," presented on two panels; one panel discussed event planning in crisis, and the other panel covered reducing student anxiety in a pandemic. The Eastern Communication Association is the oldest professional communication association in the United States, established in 1910. Members collaborate on research and share best teaching practices in this service-oriented organization.

An excerpt from the letter sent to members from Eastern Communication president Katherine Thweatt:

Logo of 2020 ECAOnce again, I am reaching out to you with a heavy heart. We have heard from many members inquiring about whether our beloved convention will take place this year. These messages have steadily increased in number since yesterday. During the past 24 hours, the Executive Board has met several times about COVID-19 to determine the best approach for our association and membership. While we initially believed that we could carry on, it has become apparent that we must cancel the 111th Eastern Communication Association (ECA) convention, Harboring Innovation, in Baltimore, Maryland, Wednesday, April 1 –  Sunday, April 5, 2020.

Before addressing the rationale for this decision, I want to extend my deepest appreciation and compassion to our Primary Planner and ECA First Vice President, Jennifer Waldeck. As you know, she planned an innovative conference with programming to educate ourselves not only on current research, but with opportunities to learn how to conduct rigorous research. Her innovative planning also included changing our approach to our business meeting and the announcement of awards and recognitions.

Headshot, Jennifer WaldeckThe passion, dedication, and action Jennifer showed in the year leading up to her conference provides a blueprint for future planners on how to plan and how to conference differently from the status quo. I am devastated that we will not reap the benefits of Jennifer’s conference planning prowess during the expected timeframe of 04/01/2020 - 04/05/2020. However, the Executive Board is working to implement a plan to honor our election of Jennifer to plan a conference for us. Working out the details of this plan may require a few weeks’ work, but we will make every effort to announce the specifics of our next steps as soon as possible. Thank you, Jennifer, for your hard work. We will not let you down in finding a way to allow your hard work to pay off.

Stevenson University Communication students and faculty join in acknowledging the amazing work accomplished by Jennifer Waldeck, first vice president of the ECA and convention planner. The help she received from Stevenson's own Dr. Leeanne Bell McManus and her Advanced Event Planning class must also be commended. Thanks to all who spent an enormous amount of time, energy and creativity on this event.

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