What are the three greatest lessons that you have learned in your time at Annenberg?
“Challenge yourself, in every aspect you can. Know your value. Figure out what you love and for god’s sake, go do it.” Emma Daniels, 25.
As a second-year graduate student in the MSPR program at USC Annenberg, Daniels has developed into a PR guru, spending her graduate career working with USC Marshall, the Center for Public Relations at Annenberg, Pulsepoint Group, and most notably, with Edelman for the Rio Olympics in the summer of 2016.
Daniels graduated in 2013 from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT with an interdisciplinary major from the College of Letters. Her studies were grounded in western philosophy, history, literature, and an added a focus in Latin American literatures and cultures.
Upon graduation, Daniels moved to Washington, D.C. to work for a NGO operating in the international development sphere. She worked passionately in the Latin American division before moving to the Women’s Democracy Network, but experienced frustrations with the constant battle for more funding and lack of sustainable resources. Daniels further experienced the disconnect between what the NGO was accomplishing and their inability to tell their own story.
She began to recognize the importance of strategic communication and engagement with different publics and wanted to learn to master the art of storytelling. As she began researching graduate schools, she was searching for something “in the middle of public policy, advocacy, and advertising.” And that is how she came to find PR. Her choice to do her graduate studies at Annenberg was clear, being a top-rated program with an incredibly supportive alumni network and strong resources.
During her time in graduate school, Daniels worked with USC Marshall’s External Development division. As a student worker, she was charged with helping to develop and manage external communication for Marshall Partners alumni group. She is currently dividing her time between the Center for Public Relations at USC and Pulsepoint Group, “a management and digital consulting firm for communications and marketing management challenges.”
In her time at the Rio Olympics in the summer of 2016, Daniels worked on the Saudi Olympic Delegation account for Edelman. She was originally slated to work for an Olympic Sponsor that would require her to stay in the office, rather than travel out to Olympic Park, but she knew that she wanted the global and fast-paced experience, so she was bold and asked for the opportunity.
Her advice to any young Public Relations Student working a large-scale event such as the Olympics is to “advocate for yourself.” In order to gain that opportunity, though you have to keep your head down and grind. She implores anyone with an opportunity like this to “seize it and do your best work so that when it comes time to advocate for yourself, you’ve already proven what you’re capable of.”
Through her studies at Annenberg and her other work, Daniels has developed a strong interest in crisis management, strategic communication consulting, and public affairs work. She reflects on her time working at the Olympics, describing it as “a moment where the highest human ideals are celebrated.” Through this experience, she has a new understanding of the value of perseverance, grit, and pure strength, and that motivates her to get up and out of bed everyday.