Skip to Content

College of Information and Communications

Faculty and Staff

Karen L. Mallia

Title: Professor
Department: School of Journalism and Mass Communications
College of Information and Communications
Website: CreateAthon@UofSC
Phone: 803-777-1154
Fax: 803-777-4103
Office: School of Journalism and Mass Communications
800 Sumter Street, Room 329
Columbia, SC 29208
Facebook: My Facebook page
LinkedIn: My LinkedIn profile

Curriculum Vitae

Karen Mallia


B.A., Journalism, Rider University
M.A., Communication, William Paterson University


A New Jersey native, Karen Mallia joined the faculty from The City College of New York, where she taught copywriting, advertising principles, and advertising management. Before that, she spent five years teaching in the Advertising and Marketing Communications Department at FIT/SUNY, while running a creative consultancy. Mallia spent two decades as a copywriter and creative director with New York advertising agencies: TBWA/Chiat/Day; Scali, McCabe, Sloves; Ogilvy; Saatchi & Saatchi; Rosenfeld, Sirowitz, Humphrey & Strauss — to name a few. She won numerous awards for creativity and effectiveness. Besides writing and producing every kind of advertising, she’s done voice-overs, conducted focus groups, and done whatever it took to make great work. 


Mallia's research interests include exploring creativity, the creative process, and creative work in advertising, as well as the evolution of advertising platforms. She is internationally recognized for her research on the relationships between gender and creative work and leadership in the creative industries. Personal passion led her there — and to cause and advocacy communications. CreateAthon@UofSC is her brainchild, a 24-hour pro bono marathon developing marketing communications for nonprofits. The fifth CreateAthon@UofSC in 2017 engaged 73 students, 20 professional mentors—among them, alumni, faculty, staff and local talent—working on behalf of seven South Carolina nonprofits. In 24-nonstop hours, they delivered websites, videos, radio spots, billboards, brochures, logos—all told, close to $200,000 worth of marketing communications. CreateAthon is a platform for skills-based community service, and service-learning on steroids.


Mallia teaches what she knows best: creative strategy, copywriting, and building integrated advertising and marketing campaigns. She pioneered service-learning courses in Cause Communication for both South Carolina Honors College and the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and in Creative Leadership. She won the top prize at Creativibe 2019, was a 2015 finalist for AEJMC's Advertising Division Distinguished Teaching Award, and won the university’s Outstanding Service-Learning Award as well as an Excellence in Teaching Mortar Board Award in 2012.

Recent Publications

Mallia, Karen L. (2019). Leadership in the Creative Industries: Principles and Practices. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell. ISBN: 9781119334002. 

Mallia, Karen L. (2017). The Creative Career Dilemma. No Wonder Ad Women Are Mad Women. In K. Golombisky and P. Kreshel (Eds.), Feminists, Feminism and Advertising, Vol 1. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books/Rowman, 117-206.

Mallia, Karen L. and S. Mo Jang (2015). Examining Media Coverage and the Global Awakening of Creative “Women’s Movement” In Advertising. In F. Hauchtmann (Ed.) Proceedings of The American Academy of Advertising Global Conference (16-27). Auckland, NZ: AAA.

Windels, K. & K. L. Mallia. (2015). How Being Female Impacts Learning and Career Growth in Advertising Creative Departments. Employee Relations: The International Journal, 37(1), 122-140.

Mallia, K.L.  (2014). How to get ahead in advertising even if you are a girl. [men: Read this. it’ll do you good.]. In L. Minsky & B. Bendinger (Eds.), The Get a Job Workshop: How to Find your Way to a Creative Career in Advertising, Branding, Collateral, Digital, Experimental and More (pp. 284-294). Chicago: The Copy Workshop. 


Founder and Mastermind of CreateAthon@UofSC 

Division Head, 2014-15, Advertising Division of the Association for Education of Journalism and Mass Communication, and seven-year veteran of the Executive Committee

Contributing organizer, The 3% Conference

Leader of several community service endeavors

Volunteer and lifelong Girl Scout


Mallia enjoys exploring the novel and interesting, travel anywhere, and hopelessly homey pursuits like cooking and gardening, as well as relaxing with her husband Bruce Bakaj.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.