Grads are back kicked off Thursday with a bang as students started to fill the Lee Hall auditorium. The colloquium consisted of a Q&A panel with Dean Michelle Ferrier and Global Innovation Marketing Director for Pepsi, Stefan K. James. They sat feet across from each other in the middle of the dimly lit stage before Dean Ferrier began the discussion.
Stefan always wanted to come back to speak to his alma mater and he was thankful to finally get the experience. He spoke to the students in a manner that was easy to relate to.
James graduated from Florida A&M University in 2001 with a degree in public relations and a minor in marketing & philosophy. After graduation he worked towards his MBA at Nova University while creating his own marketing firm in South Florida. Coming from a Jamaican family he said being multi-cultural is what helped him find his niche in the industry.
He joined Pepsi’s health and wellness branding team around 2011.
Today, James is married with two children and continues to pursue his dream. He put emphasis on the work ethic that is needed for success. He called it “the art of the hustle.”
Once the colloquium began Dean Ferrier did not hesitate to acknowledge the faculty and staff who helped make the event as big as it is. Ferrier who is new to the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication believes that “Ohana” fits the theme of Grads are Back perfectly.
The term means family and she knew how it felt being added as a new member to the SJGC family. She asked a series of questions that many students wanted the answer to. When she asked Stefan how important is your personal brand his response was priceless.
“You have to take advantage of the amazing network FAMU has to offer and think about what your personal brand really should be”, said James.
Dean Ferrier added to his statement by saying, “When showcasing your portfolio and personal brand you have to not only show up, but also show out.”
The Grads are Back event was an impactful experience that helped many graduating seniors who were unclear of how to make the transition from college to the career. Vincent Williams can attest as the words of Stefan James opened his eyes to the opportunities he can have with a little hard work. It served as his motivation.
“One thing I got from the colloquium was to never get discouraged if you aren’t where you want to be because it is never too late to make it where you want to go”, said Williams
This year was definitely a success for SJGC and as the graduating seniors walk the stage in December this will be an event they will always remember.