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Students offer perspectives on three-day Multicultural Talent Pipeline

Posted November 4, 2019
By Rebekah Friedmancommunications manager,, 803-576-7270
Photo: Megan Mellerson and Josh German

Have you ever wanted to learn from some of the brightest stars in the media industry? In October, two CIC students had the opportunity to do just that at Publicis Media’s Multicultural Talent Pipeline in Atlanta. Public relations major Megan Mellerson and mass communications major Josh German represented the college at the conference, which explored everything from brand-building to navigating the first job out of college. We asked Mellerson and German to share more about their experiences there.

Megan Mellerson, senior public relations major

I’ll admit, when Shirisha Mudunuri, CIC career services manager, emailed me with her nomination to attend the 2019 Multicultural Talent Pipeline hosted by Publicis Media in Atlanta I was hesitant to apply. I had never been selected from such a large pool of talent, attended an industry event or been given the opportunity to network with companies as large as Facebook. Needless to say, I was nervous. However, after a pleasant conversation with Shirisha and several resume tweaks, I finally built the confidence to submit my application.

Weeks later I was on a plane to Atlanta for a three-day immersion into media, marketing and advertising. Publicis Media welcomed us at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. I was able to explore the fundamental rights of all human beings and left feeling inspired to join the conversation in my own community. I can’t think of a better way to open a conference that’s held for that very same function – addressing global multiculturalism.

Waking up at 6 a.m. to report to a marketing solutions agency, Moxie Atlanta, excited me. I would soon network and learn from leading professionals from WarnerMedia, Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis Groupe and others. Publicis Media created the Multicultural Talent Pipeline so students like myself could get our feet in the door. And so, I did.

This three-day event brought together the next generation of hand-raisers and shakers in the industry. I am inspired by the meaningful conversations had on the future of our industry and the impact diverse stories can have on the work we do and the culture we cultivate. MCTP reminded me of the importance of being true to who I am and using that as my superpower. I look forward to discovering the ways in which my passion for journalism and media intersect with my newly piqued interest in the field of advertising and marketing. I am moved to not only sit at the table, but to own the table that everyone wants to join.

Events like this are so important to the media industry, and it was an honor to be a part of such an admirable event. Thank you Publicis Media and most importantly, the College of Information and Communications.

Josh German, senior mass communications major

When selected for the 2019 Multicultural Talent Pipeline conference, I was immediately thrilled to be a part of the event. Just a few weeks before, I told my family that I hadn't seen Atlanta since I was a kid and that I wanted to see how much it’s grown. So, when Shirisha Mudunuri reached out to ask if the opportunity was something I'd be interested in, I jumped at the chance. I am so glad I did because the experience was even more than I hoped it would be.

The two-and-a-half-day conference was jam-packed with a plethora of things on the schedule, including dynamic keynote speakers, networking sessions and collaborative exercises. Even though the event was labeled as a marketing and advertising experience, I felt right at home as a mass communications student. The large focus on diversity was such a great atmosphere to be a part of. Seeing the many different cultures and ethnicities represented from students across the country was an eye-opening experience that truly made me feel the power that collaboration and celebration of diversity can have in a workplace.

As is the case in all forms of mass communications (whether marketing, advertising, public relations, etc.), the receivers of the message are always a top priority. Thus, the need for diversity on the message-crafting side is equally — if not more  important. This was a recurring theme at the conference, and it was great to see the initiative that Publicis Groupe has put in over the years to create a culture that values cultural differences.

Many of the practices discussed were key themes in the course-load that I have taken throughout my years at the CIC. From importance of representation in the media to building campaigns and brands that resonate with a targeted social group, many of the conversations were talking points that I have had with students and faculty in and around the School of Journalism and Mass Communications in the past. There was one session that specifically talked about the upcoming 2020 Census and how much marketers, advertisers and other mass communication industries rely on that data to accurately target campaigns. Big data is a huge focus right now in the world and it is a topic that is heavily discussed in the classes that I take as an informatics minor. Census data only comes once every 10 years, so seeing and hearing first-hand the anticipation from agencies looking to tap into it was interesting to me.

The things I learned and the connections that I made from just the few days I spent in Atlanta will follow me into my career that is ever-so-rapidly approaching. I am humbled by the experience and thankful to the CIC for selecting me to attend. I look forward to even more memorable experiences in the future.

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