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SJGC Professor Ranata Hughes joins the Forging Relationships in HBCU’s event

By Sterling Bright
December 9, 2020

Ranata HughesThis past month, Visiting Professor and Internship Coordinator Ranata Hughes was chosen to be a part of the Forging Relationships with HBCUs event.

Although Hughes performed on the panel like a pro, this was her first invitation to be a part of an event hosted by the PR Council. The panel focused on the public relations industry and how the HBCU PR community will come together to overcome the obstacles students face when leaving their universities. Hughes also shared that the panel discussed how PR agencies could and should make employees and candidates of color feel more included.

The event featured several major companies and on both sides they wanted to better understand each other and understand ways to better include HBCU graduates. Some of the major companies in attendance included Edelman, Golin, M Booth New York, Hotwire and Sachs Media Group to name a few.

Throughout the event, Hughes discussed some of the feedback she receives from students about their experiences within the industry. Hughes personally discussed the culture of HBCU students in the PR industry, as well as African American hair and other issues in questioning whether a student from an HBCU should get hired or not, or if they could handle the job. These are all stigmas related to African American culture and the HBCU experience.

“I strive to help students understand their importance in the industry. I often tell them not to be afraid to be the only one of their ethnic group or the only one who graduated from an HBCU, but keep their knowledge and skills sharp, keep an open heart and mind and lead the way,” said Hughes.

The panelist wanted agencies to understand where students are coming from as well as how PR agencies think about the skills of HBCU students. They also made sure to discuss what agencies could do better in approaching HBCUs and offering their help to students who are trying to learn the industry.

Hughes stated, “We were able to share how talented our students are and why they belong in the PR industry.”

She hopes that through future events such as these, more conversation will bring more diversity and inclusion into the PR and marketing industries. By giving FAMU students a chance, it will open the door for future HBCU students to enter the PR industry and be successful.

Hughes is an alumna of Florida A&M University, where she earned her bachelor of science degree in public relations from the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication. Hughes also has a master of science degree in integrated marketing communication from Florida State University.