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13 Feb 2019

Speaking Truth to Youth

By Scott Smith

I was proud to take part in an event put on by our awesome friends at Mac’s List. Searingly titled “Communications Careers in the Age of Disruption,” the panel discussion centered on how to break into the field when everything seems to be in flux. This was back in the waning days of 2017, when we weren’t quite as awake to certain kinds of disruption, such as Facebook’s role in the attempted destruction of our democracy. But I digress.

MacslistPanel Inline

The panel was co-moderated by the eponymous Mac Prichard and Donna Davis, director of the Strategic Communications Master’s Program at the University of Oregon, who had a bunch of her students in the audience. My esteemed fellow panelists all work in health care: Gail Baker, SVP, Strategic Communications at Cambia Health; Jess Columbo, Owner of Med|Ed Digital; and Susanne Frank, Director of Development Communications at the OHSU Foundation. As Gail said, no industry is more ripe for disruption than health care, while at the same time there’s no other industry that needs to remain human more.

That was where the conversation kept returning — to the idea of humanity in communications. Yes, disruption is here but it was ever thus. Technology has always been stepping in to replace ways of working. It’s just happening faster these days. The question is, does the direction that technology is going seem to be getting in the way of connection or is it facilitating connection?

The question is unanswerable, but we found consensus in the idea that whether you’re representing a large brand or you’re an entrepreneur or you’re a job seeker, if you know who you are and who you’re talking to (and you’re nice to people and actually seek to connect on a human level) things will always work out.

It’s a good conversation, and if you’re interested in our thoughts about millennials (hint: they’ll probably save us all), you can watch the panel here.

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