By Chris McChesney
Public relations and social media was the topic of conversation Tuesday, as Tamera Luzzatto, the former chief of staff for Hillary Rodham Clinton, spoke to UK students for the James C. Bowling Executive-in-Residence lecture.
Luzzatto’s talk, titled “Experiences in the Change Business” focused on her experiences in business.
“As I look back at all these years trying to create change, I really am struck by the incredible power of technologies and means of communicating to people,” said Luzzatto, now the senior vice president of government relations at The Pew Charitable Trusts. “When I graduated college, the Internet was something that existed in California.”
While always being attracted to spurring change, especially political change, Luzzatto now works for The Pew Charitable Trusts, which works extensively through social media to reach its audience.
The Pew Charitable Trusts “applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life,” according to its website.
Pew is nonprofit organization that has the three core objectives of changing public policy, addressing environmental issues and attempting to get publicly desired congressional bills passed, Luzzatto said.
Though she has spent time with senators and other government officials, Luzzatto said she began her career much earlier.
“I got into change of business early,” she said. “I was a trouble maker from the beginning.”
She said when she was in seventh grade, she organized a protest against Vietnam. She also began an environmental club that “led pickets against the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art to stop them from tearing into Central Park,” she said.
Luzzatto talked about the meaning of public relations and how the opinions of the American public play into that meaning.
“Public relations is all about making a case and marketing,” Luzzatto said. “I think the American people have a lot more in common then we have differences.”
Luzzatto ended her speech by encouraging the audience to master technology and marketing when considering working in political public relations, while also fielding questions on Clinton’s future in politics.
Public relations senior Cassie Schacht said Luzzatto’s speech was inspiring for women entering the workforce.
“She was a great example for female students,” Schacht said. “If you set your mind on pursuing your dreams and you combine hard work and effective communication tactics, you can find yourself in a place of success and fulfillment for the practical good of humanity.”
Public relations senior Mike Lejeune said the speech showed Luzzatto’s dedication.
He said her stories about being chief of staff were interesting.
“It showed her dedication to her client, the people she was representing (and) the importance of accepting your clients’ goals in order to promote change,” he said.