Snowzilla 2016 Strikes the Washington, DC Area (Images)

So. Much. Snow. The snow began falling fast across the Northeast, on Friday, forcing cities to shut down. Some of the SDI team were finally able to venture out and have some fun in the blanket of snow, while others enjoyed the view from indoors, opting to stay warm.

Check out the images of surreal and extremely white pictures of the storm, dubbed “Snowzilla,” courtesy of the intrepid SDI team. It’s fair to say, the photos show us adjusting perfectly fine after the storm.

January 26, 2016

susan davis international washington dc snowzilla 2016susan davis international washington dc snowzilla 2016
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Ragan Honors Susan Davis International with 2015 Ace Awards for ‘Specialty Agency’

susan davis international

In announcing its 2015 Ace award winners, Ragan Communications and PR Daily stated their goal was to honor the individuals, agencies and teams in PR and marketing who begin and end each day at the top.

While every award is meaningful, this one has particular resonance because it exemplifies the depth of SDI’s expertise across the company, and reaffirms our commitment to excellence for each and every client.

Here’s what Ragan had to say about us:

Susan Davis International has handled the introduction of national memorials, historical institutions, and monuments to audiences around the world. You know many of them: The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National World War II Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. SDI’s work reflects its passion for its specialties. In one case, SDI built awareness of and support for the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation by promoting the unveiling of a monument to a Marine Corps horse outside the National Museum of the Marine Corps. In another example, SDI helped the Elizabeth Dole Foundation release results of a critically important study revealing the seemingly overwhelming challenges faced by military and veteran caregivers, leading to establishment of a national coalition of leaders and organizations to address the issues. In both cases, SDI developed extensive, multi-phased strategies with results that would be the envy of any agency.

January 20, 2016

Wikipedia Exemplifies Team Building in the Workplace

wikipedia susan davis international washington dcToday we honor the incredible, and at least semi-credible source of information you can’t help but secretively take a peek at every once in a while (or more) — Wikipedia. Why the honor? It’s Wikipedia’s 15th birthday, and although it’s a resource we in the public relations field are loath to quote, let alone celebrate, it does offer some public relations bona fides. One of them is team building.

In spite of its open platform, where independent editors write and rewrite immeasurably to create a free online encyclopedia for all Internet users, Wikipedia exemplifies team building.

How does it do that?  It’s true that there’s a continuous battle between people who make a living editing Wiki articles and the unpaid true believing editors of Wiki, 250,000 strong, who zealously guard the process. But Wikipedia’s veritable army of editors (or auditors, I should say) put strong mechanisms in place to deal with people who breach guidelines and engage in what they believe is unethical and a conflict of interest editing. Overall, editors collectively decide what content can be edited and which new entries to create. On a platform of more than 5 million articles, talk about team work!

Looking at Wikipedia in this way reminds PR practitioners of the importance of working effectively as a team, especially in the increasingly complex environment of public relations, where many “editors” can either make the broth or spoil it.  Here are 4 reasons to value working as a team:

  1. Improves communication – Sharing responsibilities requires checks and balances, which encourages team members to engage openly with each other. Perceived barriers to communicating can break down in a group environment and in the best team practices, individuals are inspired by the group dynamics to share and discuss ideas and opinions. Improved communications can reinforce office relationships and in turn, the quality of work performed.
  2. Promotes creativity – Working together with other team members can ignite creativity and engender fresh ideas. Bringing people together from different backgrounds and levels of experience brings diversity of thought and can help create optimal solutions.
  3. Develops problem-solving skills – Public relations practitioners must be prepared to handle crises for their clients at any time. Tasks that require coworkers to work together to solve problems can improve their ability to think rationally and strategically.
  4. Increases efficiency ̶  Most people don’t have all the skills or all the answers to tackle complicated problems. Harnessing the rich diversity of abilities among a group of individuals can present the quickest, most efficient path to a solution.

This is your day Wikipedia. So to you we say thanks for striking a chord for us PR professionals in exemplifying the possibilities of effective collaboration.

Happy Birthday!

By Gadeer Ghannam, SDI

Gadeer is an SDI intern earning her Master’s degree in Strategic Communications and Public Relations at Trinity Washington University.

January 15, 2016

Periscope: The Next Big Social Marketing Tool?

periscope live streaming susan davis international dcVideo marketing has been around for quite a while now, but expect to see live streaming play an increasing role in digital and social marketing this year.

With social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest encouraging businesses and brands to promote their goods and services with user-generated content, video content provides a dynamic marketing opportunity. The demand for brands to be more accessible to consumers on a personalized level is growing.

That’s where Periscope comes in. Unlike other online video services such as YouTube, Periscope, the Twitter-owned live video streaming app launched in early 2015, allows anyone to broadcast video for free with the 24-hour ‘replay’ option, giving small businesses an easy, fast and affordable way to communicate with their Twitter followers customers in real-time.

Watch WSJ’s Joanna Stern test out the popular live streaming app

Here are some ways brands can use the app to maximize their appeal for brand marketing purposes.

Live Q&A Sessions and Instant Feedback
This is a quick, convenient way to interact with customers and clients while you showcase your experience and expertise. These opportunities help humanize your brand, address pertinent issues and solve problems. Regular Q&A sessions can be a good way to gain valuable firsthand feedback and insights from your customers. You can also hold live webinars on Periscope to boost engagement. Webinars provide audiences the opportunity to ask questions and leave comments, which allows you to respond in real-time.

Periscope presents a fun way to announce special offers and contests, giving brands a new way to push instant traffic to their website. Whether you’re unveiling a new product or hosting an event, you can make your audience feel special by announcing it first on Periscope. It’s also a great way to gauge interest and keep people in the ‘buzz’ about what’s to follow. You can also offer Periscope-based discounts and exclusive offers to boost sales.

Behind the Scenes
Customers always want to know more about a company’s culture. With the Periscope app, you can take customers on office tours, show interviews and introduce them to the people behind the brand, making an instant personal connection to reinforce consumer trust in your brand.

Build Twitter
Periscope is a live-streaming app that allows you to broadcast to all your Twitter followers any kind of content through real-life videos. You can use Periscope to increase and enhance your Twitter followership.

How might you use Periscope to engage your audience?

By Gadeer Ghannam, SDI
Gadeer is an SDI intern earning her Master’s degree in Strategic Communications and Public Relations at Trinity Washington University.
January 7, 2016


The Risks of Celebrity Endorsers: What the Subway Brand Taught Us

Jared Fogle subway brand celebrity endorsement crisisCelebrities have been traditional favorites to feature in advertisements; they are seen as individuals with attractive qualities that are consistent with the brand’s value proposition. The right celebrity can reap huge rewards for a brand. Brands have capitalized on the marketing value of celebrity endorsers for years, with overwhelming success. While the practice is effective at enhancing brand image, instilling trust in and creating credibility with consumers, it remains a risky proposition for a brand, perhaps positioning it at serious risk for reputational damage.

Shock and disgust erupted across the nation when news broke of former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle child pornography investigation in 2015. Fogle, who thanks to Subway had become a household name, has brought much unwanted negative attention to the Subway brand, thrusting Subway into nearly every headline about the atrocious activities of the person who served as the face of Subway for more than a decade. Consumers will perpetually associate the Subway brand with a convicted pedophile.

Fogle joins the list of brand endorsers that become examples of the risks companies take when having high profile public figures endorse their products as part of their market strategy. Tiger Woods, Paula Deen, and Lance Armstrong are just a few familiar faces who were dropped from brands because of controversial headlines.  They highlight the fact that endorsements can be incredibly challenging and costly.

When a story that paints a negative image of a celebrity endorser plays out in front of the public, a tainted picture is also painted for the company’s brand, making it difficult to regain consumer trust to support the organization or buy the product. In the worst case it can lead to a company to rebrand its identity to recapture its place in the market.

When celebrity endorsers come under fire, companies must assess whether the negative actions of their endorser outweigh the value of the partnership that the brand has with the celebrity. It is common for advocates for causes associated with presumed victims of the celebrity endorser’s actions to immediately bring pressure on the brand to disassociate itself. It’s critical for a brand to anticipate the dissolution of its celebrity relationship and have a contingency plan prepared in case things do go awry to avoid or minimize damage to the brand.

By Gadeer  Ghannam  

Gadeer is an SDI intern earning her Master’s degree in Strategic Communications and Public Relations at Trinity Washington University.

December 17, 2015

Thank You, SDI

morgan and julie blogDear Susan Davis International,

Where has the time gone?  It seems like just yesterday we were eagerly waiting in the library ready to meet you all.  We came in to this experience with high expectations, and SDI has exceeded each of them.  It’s amazing how much opportunity there is for growth in 15 short weeks!  We are grateful you were all so welcoming and helpful during our time here.  As we are taking away so much from this experience, we hope to leave a small mark on SDI as well.  Everyone in Suite 400 has positively impacted our internship experience, so instead of writing a generic thank you note, we decided it was only right to give those of you we worked with a shout out for all to see.

Aliza – Your enthusiasm is an inspiration to both of us.  It seems like you manage to accomplish what 10 people would in a day, and sometimes you go so fast we swear you’re a blur!  We’ll miss your positivity and dedication to your work.  Your consistent guidance helps us increase our potential.  You’re a good teacher! P.S. Sorry for figuring out Cision didn’t work properly on Google Chrome only two weeks ago!

Allison – What can’t you do?  You are crucial to the SDI team, and your ability to pick up any task and complete it successfully is truly impressive.  Thank you for always being there for any questions we had, and for letting us borrow your gym membership.

Dan – It is hard to imagine you were once in our shoes after seeing your tremendous role and success in your work at SDI.  You are a true leader.  Also – thank you for answering our knock on the door in the early morning when we forgot the key!

Jayne – Thank you for choosing our resumes out of the pile and giving us the opportunity to succeed at SDI.  Thank you for keeping us on track and brightening our day with your emails.  This experience has been made more wholesome and enjoyable because of your guidance, and we wouldn’t be here without you!

Judy – Judy, you’re the  backbone of SDI.  While we worked the corridors of SDI,  we’ve both seen how incredible your role here is.  From leading our media meetings every Monday, and overseeing and offering your help in every single account we have to keep them and the office in ship shape, we can’t imagine SDI without you.

Julie – Though it’s been a short time here with you, we’re so glad we got to be here when you joined SDI!  You jumped right in, and now it’s hard to imagine SDI without your hard work and dedication.  Thanks for being another “Julie!”

Leila – Leila! We’re going to miss you and your laugh.  Whether it’s a question about how to draft talking points or what the best place to camp in South America is, you’re remarkable.  Working with you has been a privilege.  You have taught us so much!  Thanks for being sweet, fun, and encouraging.

Tom – Thanks for always being a smiling face.  Every time you pass by, we’re guaranteed a bright smile and warm hello.  And, the cyber practice is resonant  with your knowledge and expert analysis!

Maddie – Thank goodness we had you to count on as part of the intern team! We were welcomed by Vicky and sad to see her go, but your arrival made everything better again. We’ve loved getting to know you (especially in our cozy little office together) and will miss you tons. Best of luck as you finish school!

Susan – Last but of course not least, thank you, Susan, for bringing us into your company and showing us not only how to be successful in the PR world, but in the world as a whole, and specifically as empowered women.  The work you do and the legacy you’ve built and continue to build is incredible and inspiring.

Please keep in touch!


Morgan Beavers, University of Georgia

Julie Haupin​, Penn State



Survive the Holidays with a Little PR

thanksgiving blog image

The Thanksgiving holiday is here, and if you’re anything like me, you’re getting ready to kick your feet up and think about turkey, the weather, maybe some football in the yard, and certainly that fat slice of pumpkin or apple pie. The last thing on your mind is the to-do list on your desk at the office. Yet, if you think about it, the PR skills you bring to the office all year long will serve you well as you prepare to engage in the holiday’s offerings and gorge on its treats.

I know you think I’m crazy, because you’re likely picturing how nice it’s going to be to sit down, eat a delicious meal, and drift into tryptophan land shortly afterwards. But in reality, what looms are the possibilities of kitchen fiascos, flight scheduling nightmares, burnt desserts and family time overload. How do we use what we’ve employed all year long to keep ourselves and our clients on a winning track, to make that enjoyable scene in our head play out as planned?

Check out these tips for using PR to survive your Thanksgiving holiday this year.

  1. Brainstorm, organize, plan, execute!

You would never run a client’s campaign without thorough preparation and planning. You should apply that same approach to your holiday, especially if you’re hosting.  Hosting the big get-together is always fun,but as a wise man once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Or in the case of hosting, “With large parties comes extensive preparation.” Follow your game plan from the office, and outline  how you’re going to execute the big day. Have lots of youngsters coming? An arts and crafts station, or an outdoor activity to keep them entertained – and out of the kitchen – is always a good idea. My grandpa used to rent a bounce-house every year, and it was always (and still is) my favorite. Likewise, if you have a large or diverse group of family and friends, consider surveying – send printed notes or go casual with a text – your guests for the drinks and appetizers they’d love to see. Just like you strive to learn everything about your client so you can best serve them,  you want to anticipate your guests’ needs to ensure a fun and relaxing holiday for them – and yourself.

  1. Teamwork is a must, but so is leadership.

Ever hear the phrase, “Too many cooks in the kitchen?” I haven’t done the research, but I’m willing to bet someone coined it after a Thanksgiving “uh-oh.” We all love getting together in the kitchen and whipping up those recipes that go generations-deep, and doing it together is what makes it special. Aunt Jan knows just how to whip the sweet potatoes for Granny’s famous pie, and your brother never forgets to remind you that you shouldn’t overcook the green beans, and of course mom will have to help stuff the turkey because, well, it’s her thing. Everyone contributes in his or her own way, but getting too many cooks in the kitchen leads to disaster – or frustration at the very least. Run your kitchen like you run your client accounts: lead, but employ lots of well-organized help. We have account executives and account coordinators, and interns and executive vice presidents for a reason. When everyone performs his or her role the team functions at its best. So, Uncle Ryan can handle the turkey how he likes, and your sister can ice the cake, but like you would with your client team, keep control of your kitchen.

  1. Recognize when it’s time to enjoy.

And finally, if you’re anything like me, or my mom, or the large majority of Thanksgiving-fanatics, you’ve already shifted into high gear preparing for Thursday, and by the time that bird comes out of the oven, you’ll be ready for a nap. It’s often like that in the PR world — so many details to attend to in frequently compressed timeframes.  While it can be overwhelming at times, it’s also what keeps it fun. And, it helps make those moments when you can sit back, reflect on your work and appreciate it that much sweeter. Thanksgiving should be no different. Holidays are bound to be stressful, and rightfully so with all we pack into them, but they’re still holidays. So, you’ve prepped every dish, served every beverage, and pulled out every chair in the house. Now, it’s time to sit down, relax, and enjoy the work you’ve put in. Dig into that turkey, have an extra piece of pie, and be happy with what you’ve accomplished alongside your team – er, I mean family. You deserve it.


By Morgan Beavers, SDI

Morgan is a senior at the University of Georgia studying public relations and English.

November 23, 2015

Celebrating Susan’s Special Day – Words of Love and Moments Captured Forever

birthday candles 2If you ask Hallmark how to say Happy Birthday to those in  your work environment, they’ll feed you the generic line, “It’s a pleasure to work with you… and to wish you a happy birthday.” At Susan Davis International, we are anything but  generic.  Our wonderful CEO, Susan Davis, is celebrating her  birthday today and all of us at the SDI office as well as some of Susan’s close friends have a lot more to say than just,  “Happy Birthday.”


Susan is always looking around for young people that she can lift up, mentor, or coach through both their careers and lives. She truly enjoys sharing her own experiences with up and coming professionals.


When a former boss recommended that I look into an internship at SDI because of the woman who started the company, I knew before meeting Susan that she was a person of great strength and character. I’ve seen that confirmed in many ways since I started here. I’ll always remember when she invited all the interns for lunch and told us about her experience working with Egypt’s Minister of Defense in the Susan Davis1980s. A young woman, she flew to Egypt on her own and spent days negotiating and holding her own with some of the most prominent and powerful men in the country (even as they sized her up through an unspoken challenge to match their bourbon intake at dinner).

Susan, you’re an inspiration for me and for all women wishing to gain ground and make a difference in a changing world. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to learn from you this semester, and I hope to take away even a fraction of the gusto and influence you bring every day. Happy Birthday to an outstanding example!


It has been a pleasure working for you this semester. Your passion and “driving sense of mission” is truly amazing, and it has been an inspiration to me as I embark on my professional career.  I couldn’t have asked for a better internship environment and learning experience, as I’ve had the chance to work for the best.  I hope one day my library trophy case will be half the size of yours.

I wish you another year of success and happiness!

Julie Haupin

elvis While I’m still relatively new to the Susan Davis International team, Susan  has welcomed me with open arms. Beyond her inspiring leadership  and strong business savvy, Susan’s warmth and
sense of humor emanate throughout the entire office
. I especially  enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with her at a recent client dinner, and  look forward to our continued work together. Happy Birthday, Susan!

 Julie Seger

Happy Birthday!! I trust your special day is exciting, adventurous and all that you hoped for. I’ve had the greatest opportunity to be able to work with and learn from you. I’ve really gotten to know you over the past year and I value the relationship we share. I appreciate all that you’ve done for me and the SDI staff. Have a wonderful day and cheers to another great year!


The first time I got to sit down and talk to Susan was when she invited the interns to lunch.  I knew she was intelligent and accomplished but the stories she shared with us about her professional career were incredible to hear and extremely motivating as a young women entering the work world.  I feel very lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to work and learn at SDI.  It’s also nice to have a fellow Wisconsinite in DC! I wish the happiest of birthdays to you Susan!


Samsung Phone Photos 039

Thank you for serving as an inspiring example for young women like myself — and proving
what can happen when you follow your passion and dreams despite the challenges. You created this company at a time when few women owned businesses and succeeded remarkably.  Now, you help other
young women carry on the legacy of initiative and drive, both through Vital Voices and meetings with interns where you share your experiences and encourage them to dream. I wish you a very happy birthday.


Here is your birthday horoscope!  “Being a Scorpio born on November 18th, you’re as caring as you are determined. You dedicate yourself fully to all your relationships, which explains why you often find yourself looking out for the needs of others above all else. Your friends and family appreciate your nurturing ways, but they truly admire your determination. When confronted with a worthwhile challenge, there is nothing that will prevent you from conquering it. Your willpower is amongst your greatest strengths. And your dreams bring you lots of inspiration and hope for the future.”

Those astrologers got it right – wishing you an absolutely fantastic year ahead- Happy Birthday!


One of my favorite memories with Susan is when she took Aliza and me out to lunch at Brasserie Beck. I hardly touched my (delicious) food, because I was so engrossed in Susan’s stories.  Her experiences working on a diverse range of clients make for some amazing stories—not only were they very entertaining, they also spoke to her entrepreneurial and creative spirit. I feel lucky to have such a strong female role model in my professional life.  Wishing you all the best on your birthday, Susan!


Happy Birthday to the wonderful Susan, the only woman I know who serves pork at a dinner party for Jewish guests and who love her so much they eat it and ask for second helpings!”

Love from Norman x 

susanbdayresize1 S-sweet, is what she likes to eat.

 U– never know what she will have you do

 S-serious about have FUN

 A-adventure is her middle name

 N-never considers quitting (especially at having FUN) Happy bday!!!

Meet me for a donut!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the amazing Susan — who gets more done in a day than most of us accomplish in a week.  Hope that on THIS day, though, you’ll be able to slow down a bit and just savor… starting with a life already oh-so-well lived and a future that beckons with even more opportunity to do good and have fun.  Also trust you’ll remember that birthdays are Mother Nature’s way of telling us to eat more cake.  (And speaking of moms, congratulations to Vivian too!)

Love,  Carol


susanbdayresize3 susanbdayresize2Dear Susan, Pictures are worth a thousand words. Wishing an old and  dear friend a very Happy Birthday!


 Sharon Borth

 (Lest you forget, that’s Sister Marlene)


Disco Susan,

Too bad I can’t find a photo of you in your hot bell-bottom clingy polyester jump suit with sparkles on the front.  Ah, the early seventies were so much fun. You may have changed your outfits to St John’s knits, but the belle of the ball dancing queen is still inside. Wishing you many, many more decades of having too much fun!

Happy Birthday,

Fran Ulmer  


Dear Susan,  We’ve been friends a long time (dare I say 40+ years?  I think so)…During that time we’ve
collaborated in business, enjoyed our pleasure, invested ourselves in philanthropy and I have admired you throughout.  You are one of the most generous, selfless and beautiful individuals I’ve been proud to have as a cherished friend.  When I brought you into the Vital Voices inner circle more about a dozen years ago, I should have known you would go right to the top of that organization and do the fantastic job you have done managing and carrying it to new heights. For that I thank you and for all the other adventures we’ve shared, let’s just say it’s been great and I hope there are a lot more adventures yet to come.  Lastly, let me say that you are a great daughter. In fact, I admire your entire family for the tremendous love and kindness that exudes from the whole Davis clan.  And, on your birthday, dear Susan, there are no wishes better than an Irish blessing:  May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.


Mary Daley Yerrick

Happy Birthday, dear Susan!

“To me, fair friend,

you never can be old,

for as you were when

first your eye I eyed,

such seems your beauty still.” (Sonnet 104)

I am a great Susan Davis admirer. You are a Renaissance woman: vibrant, upbeat, fun loving, brilliant, “go to and get around” gal: whether DC, Capitol Hill, Arena, Vital Voices, and, of course, Ireland.  With all that traveling, you continue to show your commitment to family values.

I love being with you for your enthusiasm which is contagious, your caring about others, and your joie de vivre.

So, dear friend, have a great birthday and a great year!







Dear Susan, So many special days, so many more ahead.

 Love, Marcia

Hi Susan 

How wonderful to be able to wish you happiness void health and prosperity in your business. With my best wishes for a long and lovely life with God’s blessings.

Mary Piyatissa

Sister – I speak for the crowd.

You can talk me into anything. I like that about you, and I hate that about you. But I love everything else (including your closet). Skol!



Hi Susan, Thank you for being so kind and generous of spirit for many years now. The scariest moment was when I brought my friend Tim to your Halloween party in Georgetown and he became a gay icon overnight!! Great memories of a great individual who has done so much for US-Irish relations. Happy birthday Susan and hope to see you soon.

Your friends forever,

Liam and Cathy

Seems like only yesterday. September evening with the smell of burning leaves in the air. Susan walking home with Glen Simonis, and me walking a couple steps behind looking at a flight of snow geese silhouetted against a full moon. Susan says “you know what you did…” Glen replies “no, I don’t, tell me…”  Susan, “you know what you did…” Glen continuing to profess ignorance of his transgression and bewilderment.  So, when the interminable moment finally does end, and Glen disappears, I say…”so what did he do?”  Answer, “nothing, just need to keep him on his toes.”  From the beginning, she’s Untitled2 always had a plan, and she’s playing chess while you’re playing checkers.

 Bro, Tom

 Super Susan … Life force and energizer bunny and extraordinary  networker…Not to mention her role as the Royal Flush of the Poker Pals  group! Hope you have a wonderful bday and that you keep us all on your list for  adventures to come



“It’s so nice that you decided to go back to your natural color.”

Happy birthday to my loving, comforting, fun, creative, stimulating, smart soulmate of close to (eeeek!) 30 years! Here’s to many, many more!!  Love you, dear buddy.

P.S. Still looking forward to that airplane.



Wherever you are, there goes my heart. And whatever brings  you joy, makes me joyful tenfold. (Except to beat me in UNO)

 Happy Birthday my darling,





Maddie Packard, SDI 

Maddie is a senior at St. Norbert College studying Media Communications and Business

November 18, 2015

Land of the Free, Because of the Brave: 90’s Kids Perspectives on Veterans Day

Veterans Day gives us all a chance to say thank you to the brave men and women who have fought for our country’s freedoms.  In my life, Veterans Day has always meant a lot.  

My grandmother, Elaine St. John, was a US Navy Wave Lieutenant J.G. in WWII.  My grandfather, George St. John, ended up as a Commander in the U.S. Navy, stayed with the Reserves and was Commanding Office of the Atlantic City Naval Reserve Unit during the 1950s.  My uncle, Jeff St. John, was first a midshipman in the US Navy and ended up as a Captain of the U.S. Marine Corps.  He earned a bronze star for bravery.  My grandfather, George Haupin, was a WWII Army expert marksman, and received four campaign stars for serving on the Mountain Artillery Reconnaissance Services Task Force in the 612th Field Artillery Battalion in the China, Burma, and India Campaigns.

I am honored to be part of a family that sacrificed its time together, so other families could stay with theirs. Words cannot describe my pride.

When I was younger, I had pen pals in the military that I would write to and send tokens to, attempting to brighten their day just a little bit.  I’m not sure if it worked, but I know for a fact their letters back brightened mine.  I think now how lucky I was to have a hero as a pen pal.

Veterans Day not only gives us a chance to thank those who once served, it also enables us to thank those who are currently serving.  Although we should be thankful for veterans every single day, it’s important as a nation we collectively dedicate this day to the heroes who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of complete strangers.

I personally think we owe a debt to veterans for most of our way of life. In my day-to-day life, I don’t live in fear of any kind.  My gender doesn’t prevent me from going to college.  I’m allowed to speak my mind (maybe too much) without fear of recrimination.  I’m free to work hard and follow my dreams.  I can travel and explore our country without hostile border checks by armed guards. All of this is possible and we have the choices and amazing lives we do because of our veterans.

Being in Washington, D.C. at this time has even added to my patriotism.  I live right next to the Arlington Cemetery, I jog around the national mall after work, and I pass by the memorials regularly.  In D.C., everywhere you turn there is an iconic landmark or memorial, therefore, everywhere I turn, I am proud to be an American.

This is what I think. But out of curiosity, I asked some of my college-aged friends from around the country to describe what Veterans Day means to them in one sentence.  Here are the results:

“I don’t have immediate family members who fought—and unfortunately those who did are distant or deceased, so Veterans Day is a specific time for me to remember those strangers who have given so much to protect this nation, to protect me; and it’s their sacrifice for everyone, even those they don’t know, that amazes me.”- Morgan Beavers, University of Georgia

“For me, Veterans Day means recognizing all those we know and don’t know for their incredible service who don’t always get the credit they deserve. – Maddie Packard, St. Norbert College

“It’s a time to pay tribute to those who are serving and have served our country in the armed forces.” – Chris Griffith, Clemson University

“Veterans Day gives me a chance to appreciate those who have fought for our country, as they are more courageous and brave than I could ever imagine being.  I’m proud of my grandparents and family members for the patriotism they continue to have today which is demonstrated by their constant service to the community.  Sorry that was two sentences.” – Jamie Haupin, University of Delaware

“Veterans Day represents a day of honor and remembrance for the significant minority of individuals willing to preserve, protect, and defend the ideals and values of our great democracy; it’s also a day of solace for those that have paid the ultimate price with their lives.” – Ethan Murray, Texas Christian University

“To me, Veterans Day means taking time to honor and remember those who have served America and those who are currently serving our country.” – Ally Alden, University of Oxford through University of Georgia

“Veterans Day means honoring my family members who are veterans because I know they appreciate having that recognition as they are typically very modest about it.” – Maddie Squier, University of Wisconsin-Madison

“Veterans Day means celebrating the people who have advocated for, protected and fought for my American right to freedom, and for that, I am eternally grateful.” – Bella Cowdin, St. Louis University

Sometimes, especially for younger generations who do not have a relative or friend who served or is serving, it may be difficult to see how veterans have affected our everyday lives.  Sometimes it’s easy to take liberty and freedom for granted when we have never had it taken away from us.  I was surprised by the answers I received, and I think the “older generations” will be too.  Veterans Day is a reminder of our country’s place in history, and that the freedoms we value came at a high price, paid by those we celebrate on this day.


By Julie St. John Haupin, Susan Davis International

 Julie is a junior at Pennsylvania State University studying public relations and advertising.

 November 11, 2015



How Collegiate Athletics Prepared Me for PR

With nearly three months under my belt working as a student intern at Susan Davis International, my hopes for an experience that would push me in new directions have been met and surpassed.  I’m living in and navigating a new city, working full time, taking three classes and learning so much every single day. What has really surprised me is how much my collegiate athletics prepared me for the professional world. I’m an equestrian, and I ride for the University of Georgia’s NCAA 6x national champion equestrian team. Since my freshman year, I’ve been told that the skills, responsibilities, and character traits I’m learning as a student-athlete will continue to guide me after graduation, and I’m seeing that play out specifically in my PR experience now. Since starting at SDI, I’ve discovered three truths about my athletic experience that are now helping me understand and manage my professional experience.

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  1. Time Management is a Must

As a college athlete, every minute of my day that isn’t put to good use is wasted. Now, that doesn’t mean that I consider much-needed naps, mental breaks, and frozen yogurt dates with friends “wasted” time, because it certainly is not – those are VERY necessary! The point is, those 24 hours in each day run out very quickly if you don’t plan your time well and use it wisely.  It’s easy to waste time, but it’s also possible to manipulate your schedule to make the absolute most of it.

My daily schedule typically involves at least two workouts with our team’s personal trainer where we do strength and conditioning in the gym, two to three hours of practice out at the barn, around three hours in the classroom plus more studying outside of it, and meetings and responsibilities for the extracurricular and non-athletic involvements I have. Factor in three meals a day and a hopeful seven or eight hours of sleep, and it’s clear I couldn’t meet all of these commitments without good time management skills.

While I’m not spending my days running around campus and tacking up horses right now, I feel surprisingly at home with the pace of my new work schedule in public relations. When I sit down at my desk in the morning, I don’t know whether it’ll be a slow day or jam-packed, but more often than not, it’s the latter. And that requires being fully focused and ready to tackle whatever comes my way. There are tasks I have every single day that I can always expect to do, like scanning the internet for our clients in the media. Then, there are others that come unexpectedly like last-minute media advisories, pitching clients’ stories, or assembling twenty boxes of Giant’s new peppermint holiday treats to send to bloggers for reviews. And often, those unexpected tasks seem to come in waves—or avalanches. I’m able to prioritize my tasks and use my time to the best of my ability because of the time management skills I learned on campus as an equestrian.

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  1. You’re a Member of a Team

Until I joined a high school riding association my junior year, I grew up riding by and for myself. Joining the team at Georgia transformed my experience and my perspective, and I’m so grateful for that. I learned to work in a group dynamic, and rather than relying on myself for everything, I benefited from my teammates’ creativity, collaboration and support on difficult days, while contributing all I could at the same time. That’s made a huge difference in my perspective in the office, too, where although my instinct may be to charge ahead, I now realize that collaboration, well managed, is often the better pathway to successful and ahead-of-the-curve PR.

PR is all about creativity and skills and being up to speed with everything related to your client and your industry. One person can’t do it alone! I’ve learned largely through college athletics how to both participate as a team member and a leader, and I try to bring that to the office with me. I work as a team member on the intern team and as a member of the larger SDI team as a whole. As an intern, I have so much more learning to do than leading, but I still try to take initiative wherever I can and be the best leader I can be when the time calls for it. Whether it’s doing a job I see that needs to be done or taking the lead on an intern group project, I try to find the balance between leading and following.

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  1. You Wear a Lot of Hats

Perhaps the most significant similarity between my equestrian experience and working in PR is that in both I learned to love wearing different hats every single day. On campus, some days I’ve got to kick it into student-mode, and others I really have to focus on my sport while still maintaining my grades.  I have days where I’m up at 5:00 a.m. for a cardio workout with the team, then immediately switch to student-mode to focus in class for a few hours, then turn and go straight to the barn for practice on a horse that afternoon. After all that, I still need to study at night, so I’m constantly switching back and forth between being an athlete and being a student.

Through my internship with SDI, I’ve applied the same hat-swapping skills on a regular basis. Sometimes I’m helping out our cyber security practice by keeping up-to-date on the happenings in the cyber landscape. Sometimes I’m channeling my inner-salesman, calling journalists and pitching stories about Giant Food’s new store opening. Other times, I’m being creative with Photoshop and refreshing SDI’s website. All of it is fun, and all of it is so different. I love having to constantly shift my focus and being challenged to use different skills every day. The stimulation of changing dynamics keeps me on my toes both in the office and in the stirrups.

Everything I’ve learned in the last four years of being an NCAA equestrian has prepared me for the professional world, specifically in PR, and I see that more and more as I spend my semester here in Washington. It’s incredible how the skills I’ve worked to acquire as an athlete – both tangible and intangible – can be tweaked and applied to almost everything I do here at SDI. I may have swapped my helmet and boots for a blazer and heels, but each day still presents new fences to clear  – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


By Morgan Beavers, SDI

 Morgan is a senior at the University of Georgia studying public relations and English.

 November 5, 2015