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COM alums stress keeping an open mind

Ashley Koenig / Photographer CEO and executive director of American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Steve Smith (left) and Kevin Petschow (left), member of the global public relations team for Cisco speak to COM students Tuesday.

Ashley Koenig / Photographer
CEO and Executive Director of American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Steve Smith and Kevin Petschow, member of the global public relations team for CISCO speak to COM students Tuesday.

COM Week 2014 featured two extraordinary alumni to give insight about corporate and non-profit public relations and finding the right career path.

Throughout the keynote, Kevin Petschow and Steve Smith went back and forth touching on their experiences and what career paths they went down to get where they are today.

Petschow is a 1981 graduate of the School of Communication and currently is a Senior Manager of Corporate Communications at CISCO. Petschow is also known as a launch specialist of Internet Protocol, helping launched based technologies such as broadband wireless, Wi-Fi and cloud computing.

Smith likewise earned his undergraduate and graduate degree in communication in ‘89 and ‘93. Today, he serves as the CEO and Executive Director of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He is also an active member of the Illinois State University Alumni Board of Directors and is involved with several healthcare associations.

Petschow addressed how being involved is a key to success. Throughout his time at ISU, he was a part of the Greek system, WZND, The Vidette and more. He mentioned that you are not always going to find that perfect job at first.

“You must fill that open space with volunteer work,” Petschow said.

He added, “Keep an open mind and look around.”

Petschow has done his time as a team player, department director, client services and creative manager with many successful companies. He shared his story about his team receiving the In-house PR Team of the Year award in 2013, PRWeek’s highest honor.

Smith addressed that working for a nonprofit is a wonderful opportunity that pays well despite what most people think. During his time in nonprofit, he had many different jobs within companies and with new companies.

Before entering nonprofit management, he talked about his role has an admission director and preview guide at ISU.

“Helped me get great public speaking experience,” Smith said.

Although this wasn’t his passion, he mentioned how much he learned and how he feels more connected to his alma mater because of his time spent here after graduation.

Smith continued by sharing great information on everyday public relations skills and goal setting.

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