By: Briagenn Adams
M.J. Clark has served as the professional advisor for ImPRessions for the past two years. With more than 20 years of experience in the communications and public relations field, she is an indispensible asset to Ohio University and the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. Clark said that her personal definition of public relations is the ability to say the right thing at the right time and in the right way to the public, both on an internal and external level.
“PR benefits society by allowing our best communicators to clearly provide information to the public, be it directly or thorough media,” she said. “PR professionals help companies make sound, ethical decisions and help them reach their audience through the most appropriate channels.”
Due to her skill level and expertise, Clark has had a very successful career. She is currently president of M.J. Clark Communications and a leadership consultant for Integrated Leadership Systems, a team building company in Columbus. Additionally, Clark was named president of the Central Ohio PRSA chapter in 2005.
Clark was working at a law firm on the board of non-profit when she decided to launch M.J. Clark Communications.
“I had been thinking about starting a consulting business when the non-profit Director announced that they were awarded a grand and would be looking to hire a part-time PR person,” Clark said. “So, I took the Director out to lunch and asked if they would consider me.” Clark landed the job, and resigned from the board to begin her company. She said that making connections is vital in the public relations industry. She loves the flexibility of being her own boss, and she also loves being able to choose the clients she works with.
“My ideal client is one where I can begin each year creating a comprehensive PR plan, help their internal team implement aspects of it throughout the year, and then evaluate our accomplishments at the end of each year,” Clark said. “I like having a plan to guide us each month.”
Regarding students dealing with professionals, Clark’s advice is to give professionals plenty of time to schedule a meeting or consulting session.
“My schedule is usually too busy to meet someone within a couple of weeks,” she said. “Sometimes it’s easier for professionals to fit you in on a Saturday morning for breakfast. Give them some options so they are less likely to have to say no.”
Clark said her favorite aspect of public relations and the communications field is the writing. With the focus on technology ever increasing, she said, a communicator is challenged to be able to write in many types of ways for many different audiences.
“Writing for a website, blog, newsletter, reporter, and Twitter looks very different,” she said. “I love the challenge that writing brings with all the new ways to we have to communicate.”