PRSSA and Brittney Haynes Discuss Healthcare PR
By Mia Bonfiglio and Sara Lawrence
PRSSA’s meeting on healthcare PR was held featuring guest speaker and former UGA student Brittney Haynes, Enterprise Communications Campaign Lead for Guardian Life. Haynes discussed Guardian Life’s purpose of championing well-being and bringing value to people everywhere.
At UGA, Haynes was actively involved in multiple publications on campus, such as UGAzine and Fusion, to hone her writing skills. She was also a member of PRSSA, and stressed for members to take advantage of the mentor program, resume reviews and networking opportunities. Her PR roles have valued her experience with media and skills of understanding newsroom works, adaptability and understanding the bigger picture.
After graduating from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications in 2009, she started her career in the field. She first spent seven years at Edelman to gain experience across many different accounts, and later moved into healthcare-specific PR. Her experience at Edelman gave her an entrepreneurial spirit where she learned that you have to seize opportunities in a smart and strategic way. She also got to work in both Atlanta and New York City, where she worked in a bigger health market and with a larger corporate health focus through Edelman.
She then worked as the Senior Director of Corporate Communications for Sharecare for almost five years, working on business across healthcare, and recently started at Guardian Life in September. Her experience in agency and in-house public relations, along with freelancing has allowed her to see many different sides of the industry.
Haynes stated that throughout her 13 years in the business, more and more companies are related to healthcare, as consumers are looking for health provisions from businesses increasingly. Her transition to healthcare public relations sparked from her openness to try different things outside of her comfort zone. She explained the role that her competitive internships, although not in the healthcare sector, played in preparing her for the fast-paced PR industry.
One of the things she continuously emphasized to students is to focus on the soft skills. Knowing how to conduct strong research, write, be deadline-oriented and organized all will help you be an asset to a team. Taking on the early responsibilities of a job with these skills ultimately will allow you to move up the totem pole in your place of work.
She advises those who are looking to work for an agency to not focus on competition and instead focus on setting yourself apart in any ways that you can control. She also stressed the importance of critical and analytical thinking and keeping an open mind.
We are so thankful that Brittney took the time to talk to our members and share all about healthcare PR & her career journey! We are saddened to say that this was the last full-body meeting with a guest speaker for this semester. However, you can get in the holiday spirit and take a break from finals by attending our last event, our winter social, on Dec. 6!