February 25 – Jennifer Kirksey, Ohio University

Scripps PRSSA was more than pleased to welcome Jennifer Kirksey, Chief of Staff for the Office of the President of Ohio University to speak to the Chapter.


Jennifer Kirksey joined the Office of the President in August 2005 as the Strategic Communication Advisor and Developer. In her current role as Chief of Staff, Jennifer is charged with managing the Office of the President, serving as a liaison to students, faculty, staff, and other members of our community, and working with our university community to move our strategic initiatives forward.

Since joining Ohio University in 2000, Jennifer has worked as a media specialist in University Communications and Marketing. In this role, she handled media relations, managed projects, and created and implemented strategic communication and marketing plans. Her experience also includes an extensive background in written communications. Prior to her work at Ohio University, Jennifer was with a financial communications firm in New York, N.Y., where she focused on national media relations. She holds a bachelor of science in journalism, and a master of arts in Organizational Communication, both from Ohio University.

Here are some takeaways:

  • “There’s no straight path to become a chief of staff.”
    • There are different types of leaders; you should understand your leadership style and make an effort to compliment the skills of your president
    • Use your connections or make new ones to understand your president better
    • Develop your communication strategy around your president or leader’s strengths
    • Help your president or leader gain an understanding of the university by giving them contacts/opportunities to learn
    • Analyze your president or leader’s speeches when speechwriting, tailor it to their intended voice and natural cadence

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  • “As a student, I focused on being well-rounded and trying different things.”
    • Reach out and see if others need help, you can gain valuable skills and dip your toes into projects that aren’t necessarily in your job description
    • Never stop making connections and networking
    • Learn how to make the most of a reporter’s attention span, their time is limited
    • Have an open door when moving into a position of leadership; especially if that position is leading a team you were previously a part of
    • Make family time and communicate with your employer about your personal needs

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Katherine Keber is a freshman Journalism-Strategic Communication major and current member of the Special Events Committee. You can find her on Twitter @katherinekeber.

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