PAN Communications, a leading integrated marketing and PR firm, today expanded its academic mentorship network to four schools, including two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), to bolster career development and diversify employment opportunities in the communications profession.
The PAN Portal Network originally began at Syracuse University in 2016 to align with President & CEO Philip A. Nardone Jr.’s role as an adjunct professor at his alma mater. The portal now includes four schools: North Carolina A&T, North Carolina Central, Elon University and Syracuse University. PAN team members work alongside schools in the network to review their post-graduate opportunities and portfolio of relevant professional materials from their previous studies and internships. The goal of the program is to offer tangible advice and resume support before graduation, assist students in job searches in the virtual world and educate students about the wide variety of opportunities that exist in a communications career.
Students in the PAN Portal Network are all graduating seniors in the communications programs of each respective college and university. The students and PAN mentors interact via videoconference on each school’s designated PAN Portal Days, taking place between September 29 and November 5. The program will mentor more than 150 students this fall semester, with additional students participating this spring.
Dr. Rochelle Ford is the Dean of the Communications School at Elon University and one of the foremost experts in diversity and inclusion in the public relations, advertising and communications industries. A longtime friend and colleague of Nardone’s, Dr. Ford helped launch the PAN Portal at Syracuse University four years ago and is PAN’s partner in its latest program extension.
“Greater representation in the communications industry is not solely the responsibility of the academic or professional worlds. Increased cooperation and collaboration will help ensure our college graduates are supported as they build their careers,” said Dr. Ford. “PAN Communications has been my partner for years in creating job opportunities for communications students. Under Phil’s leadership, PAN has helped hundreds of students accelerate their careers, and we are very excited to have the agency’s support in building a bright future for upcoming graduates.”
In addition to the expansion of the PAN Portal Network, Nardone will lead a three-part guest lecture series on topics like critical issues facing the PR industry, how to grow and excel your career and the three main facets of an agency: client relations, business development and people management. Since entering academia over 18 years ago, he has helped bridge the gap between educational institutions and the modern workforce, driven by his passion to shape the industry’s next-gen PR professionals.
“Teaching and mentoring these students through the PAN Portal has been a passion of mine since I became an adjunct professor several years ago,” said Nardone. “However, expanding our network and my guest lecture series to help further diversity and equity initiatives across the industry this year is something that I’m incredibly proud to lead. I have as much to learn from these students as they do from me, and I believe that this updated curriculum and our partnerships with History Black Colleges and Universities is the first step toward change.”