American Airlines Meeting Recap

by Mia Bonfiglio

Ron DeFeo is head of marketing and communications for American Airlines; however, to get there he had to make many decisions along the way. He highlighted a few main decisions that led him to where he is today with PRSSA’s Drewry Chapter. 

General body members listen to a Q&A session after Ron DeFeo’s presentation.

DeFeo attended DePauw University as a journalism focused communications major. He did not have experience with business and decided to take an internship with Cohn & Wolfe after college. He did this with the idea of playing the long game in mind to eventually get where he wants to be. Soon after, he secured a job at Ketchum.

At Ketchum, he spent about four years being exposed to all different businesses and given opportunities before his time. There he gained much experience in media relations which helped him get to the core of his work and hone in on a skill. He had a variety of complex clients where he stepped up to the plate to take on a challenge. He soon realized he was missing certain business knowledge and turned back to school.

He attended UGA for the MBA program and then interned at Cox Communications. An opportunity presented itself at Home Depot and he played the waiting game again and worked his way up throughout over eight years. Here he leaned into tough assignments and shaped his PR knowledge greatly. Yearning for a career shift, he moved to Florida and worked as VP of External Communications for Darden Restaurants. 

All of his previous work has led him to his current position at American Airlines where he has experienced 24/7 nonstop action and has had the opportunity to navigate a variety of situations. 

Something he values in his leadership style is what he refers to as his “metabolism for work” meaning his ability to work hard and create a strong structure beneath him. He encourages collaboration and open forum discussion because he knows that he is only as good as the team he creates below him.

He encourages everyone to start out their career and if they are interested in getting an MBA, do not hesitate even if you do not have prior business experience. It is manageable and many are surprised by what they do know once they get started.

Thank you for reading about our last general body meeting of the semester! Our Senior Banquet will be held on April 23 in Studio 100.