PRSSA Hosts Leadership Development Programs Panel With Grady Alumni

By Rachael Jones

On Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, PRSSA hosted its second virtual meeting of the year via Zoom. The meeting welcomed a panel of three Grady alumni who all pursued Leadership Development Programs after graduation: Stephanie Dixon, Avia Meadows and Ananda Costa. Dixon and Costa both participated in Lockheed Martin’s Communications Leadership Development Program, while Meadows participated in the Cox LEAD Program. 

The Cox LEAD Program is designed to build project managers through focused training and hands-on mentoring and coaching. The Lockheed Martin CLDP likewise builds future leaders in one of the world’s leading advanced technology companies and offers extensive training in both internal and external communications. 

The three alumni shared their experiences in these programs with the chapter and answered questions about the benefits of participating in an LDP after graduation, rather than a job or post-graduation internship at an agency or corporation.

“Throughout my whole time at Grady, I thought I wanted to go the agency route, but when the Lockheed recruiters came around I knew immediately I wanted to do that,” said Dixon on why she chose an LDP after graduation. 

They also explained how these programs propelled their careers forward in a fast-pace, high-expectation learning environment. The companies immersed their communicators in exciting projects and provided more visibility and recognition among executives. According to Costa, “An LDP sets you up for platforms in which you don’t expect.”

Costa went on to share, “The idea of an LDP — and this is true of any company — is that the company wants to invest in you as the future leaders of the company.” While each of the alumni at times felt instances of imposter syndrome among tenured professionals, they understood the incomparable value of learning in these hands-on environments. 

Both the Lockheed Martin CLDP and the Cox LEAD Program are still evaluating the future of their programs during the coronavirus pandemic and do not have a set date for applications at this time. 

The next PRSSA meeting will take place over Zoom on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 6:30 p.m. This meeting will feature a representative from UPS sharing communication strategies in a corporate environment.