Empowered by Professional Development, Students Make Global Impact
By Liz Skeele
Located in the heart of the Mitten State, Hubbell Connections is a small Student-run Firm with a big impact. Michigan State University (MSU) has a thriving PRSSA Chapter and an equally successful firm that provides exceptional client opportunities to students who want their public relations talents to be used in advancing global causes.
The Michigan District of Kiwanis International is a leading and vibrant service organization made up of a local network of community leaders and volunteers dedicated to philanthropic projects around the world. The service-centered nonprofit has many kinds of charitable events all over Michigan to educate and improve the lives of children. For example, the Kiwanis Club of East Lansing coordinates a Dictionary and Thesaurus Distribution Project every year to foster education and help students become better writers and active readers by giving third-graders dictionaries every year. They also contribute to Kiwanis’ global service projects through fundraising campaigns. For the last few years, Hubbell Connections has used its media relations services to attract more press for the community-oriented nonprofit, but last year saw an exciting surge.
Brittanie Chludzinski, Hubbell Connections’ executive director, explained that the change started when the account received a new client contact who’s both excellent at her job and excited about the Kiwanis mission. At the start of the year, Chludzinski and the account coordinator sat down with the client and learned about the significant impact being made by the nearly 150 Kiwanis chapters throughout the state of Michigan and caught the bug. Their passion spread to the media relations team. By promoting the Kiwanis story in Michigan, associates benefit local children and contribute to the organization’s international mission to help people around the world.
This excitement pushed them to innovate and research new ways to reach the different media markets around Michigan. Publications have started picking up their stories and Hubbell associates began seeing their words printed in media around the state. Understanding the Kiwanis’ mission and vision clarified the associates’ expectations and encouraged the team to work harder to become more effective.
Energy and conscientiousness are two traits found not only in the media relations team, but could also describe Hubbell Connections’ entire culture. The firm welcomes students with several different majors and skill sets, which allows them to offer a more robust set of services to their clients. Each member is critical because the success of the whole is determined by the specializations of their associates and their quality of work. Ownership isn’t the only motivating factor — the firm offers several professional development sessions and, according to Chludzinski, learning from field experts has inspired associates to try new strategies and improve their quality of work.
“We’re fortunate to have a number of public relations professionals in the Lansing area who support our PRSSA Chapter and Hubbell, and who play a big role in our success by sharing their knowledge and expertise with our members. Professional development sessions make us better and encourage the team to grow their skills,” Chludzinski said.
The firm is filled with self-starters, so when field experts come to speak, both the veteran students with multiple internships and the freshmen with none are challenged and inspired to develop their skills. This passion causes students to prioritize their Hubbell assignments and propels their firm forward. Hubbell Connections is the perfect example of an excellently run firm with motivated and retentive members empowered by the professional development skills they’ve gained to advance their futures.