An institution’s alumni are the key to its growth, and Northeastern University proudly boasts alumni all across the world soaring to great heights. Husky Communications always strives to provide a unique experiential learning opportunity to its current and prospective students by bringing in first-hand experiences from esteemed professors and successful alums. Recently, Husky Communications touched base with one of its successful alumna, Stephanie Leandri. This small interaction encapsulates her journey of becoming a successful Public Relations Specialist at one of the crème de la crème agencies of the world – right from scratch. It includes her personal and professional experiences that can provide great insights to other students who aspire to advance their careers in the field of Communications and Public Relations.
From McGill to Northeastern
Stephanie Leandri is a proud Northeastern alumna who is currently working as a Sr. Account Executive at Fleishmann Hillard, which is one of the best agencies in the US. Having earned a bachelor’s in International Development from McGill University, Canada, Stephanie’s first interest was toward the non-profit sector. At the same time, writing and communications always brought her joy, be it personal writing or journaling. Hence, she decided to pursue a master’s in communications and as per Stephanie – “I did not even look at other schools. Northeastern University was my only choice, and I absolutely loved my program.” She graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2020 with an M.S in Corporate and Organizational Communication and a specialization in Public and Media Relations.
Landing a job at Fleishman Hillard
Stephanie cites Northeastern’s program as the launchpad for her career. When she started her graduate studies she had no experience with communications or PR; Northeastern gave her the foundation to build her strategic thinking and planning skills. She currently deals with B2B technology clients at Fleishmann and manages several accounts. “I was excited to be hired at Fleishman and the most rewarding thing was moving forward with it despite the fear.” Moving out of her comfort zone and accepting a senior role with a giant agency was no small step. Stephanie needed not to worry, as she is performing at a high level. As evidence, she received Fleishmann’s Gold for Bold award for her outstanding performance.
Journey as a Husky
Her favorite part of being a Husky was learning from professors who were also practitioners. Since the Corporate and Organizational Communication program is not too large, she believes one can be heard and make a big impact. “Students in the COC program get the opportunity to work closely with professors on projects, which is rare,” says Stephanie. Another feature is the large Northeastern alumni network, with graduates spread across the world serving as potential networking contacts as students search for jobs.
Take it from one who has walked the path
Stephanie’s advice for prospective and current students is to opt for all types of courses, from social media to media relations. “This helps in trickling down to the area you want to gain expertise in and gives you a broader portfolio that enhances your profile while applying for jobs,” she says. “Self-reflection and finding your passion are essential, so begin to analyze and identify your interests while studying,” she adds. Above all, Stephanie advises, “SPEAK UP and STAND UP for yourself, starting with choosing the right firm to work at.”
Mapping out career steps
With an eye toward pursuing her passion for the non-profit sector, Stephanie hopes to gain experience in sustainability-focused PR at Fleishman. She envisions continued work in the B2B tech space that transitions into advising clients on ESG. Longer-term she may well move in-house to spearhead internal and external communications for a non-profit or organization big into sustainability.
By Palak Bagrecha Ashok
M.S. in Coporate and Organizational Communication ’23