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2021 International Women’s Day: Recognizing the Achievements of WVU Marketing Communications Alumni

Recognizing the Achievements of WVU Marketing Communications Alumni

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day. This is a global day dedicated to the recognition of the achievements of women and call to action advancement for gender equality within all industries and spaces. The first IWD event was a public gathering of over one million people in 1911. However, the digital age has transformed the celebration into this day to cross oceans and empower women to come together, empower others and share their stories digitally.

Today, some of the industry-leading female alumni from the WVU Marketing Communications Graduate Programs share their stories about being a strong woman in the industry and the wisdom they wish to pass down to rising leaders.

Courtney Hughes

Courtney Hughes

M.S. IMC 2014
Executive Communications Manager, Dell Technologies

How did you get your start in the Marketing Communications field?

I got my start in marketing communications doing radio at Power 103.5 in OKC and as a writer and editor for the Fox station in Oklahoma City. My first corporate role was in Internal Communications at Dell Technologies, where I've been for the last 9 years.

Who is a woman in the field that inspires you?

A woman that inspires me is Thasunda Duckett.

What is your advice to a young, professional woman starting in the field?

My advice to young, professional women starting in the field is to educate themselves, never shrink themselves to fit in, understand that you won't have all the answers, you're not growing if you're comfortable and always help one another.


Hannah Gordon

Hannah Gordon

M.S. IMC 2014
Senior Product Insights Analyst, Airbnb

How did you get your start in the Marketing Communications field?

My first role in the field was with JustAnswer, a tech company in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was pursuing my Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications at WVU at the time, and I was able to apply learnings from my coursework directly to my role as a Market Research Analyst.

Who is a woman in the field that inspires you?

Brene Brown is a researcher and storyteller in the field that inspires me. Storytelling is a powerful way to communicate with your audience, and she lectures on the power of vulnerability through storytelling, which can be applied to so many areas in the Marketing Communications field.

What is your advice to a young, professional woman starting in the field?

My advice for a young professional woman starting in the field is to be kind to yourself. Be brave and stay resilient. Surround yourself with people that believe in you. Most importantly, never stop learning. The field is ever-changing, with new trends and technologies, so learning new skills will help you stay ahead.



Amy SmileyAmy Smiley

M.S. IMC 2013
Vice President of Marketing, 84 Lumber Company

How did you get your start in the Marketing Communications field?

Initially, I got my start in this field with my two college internships. I’m beyond grateful for my internship opportunities with the Association of Public Television Stations in Washington, D.C. and WQED Multimedia in Pittsburgh, PA. Due to the experience I gained as an intern, I was able to land my first corporate marketing job in Fort Lauderdale, Florida right after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in public relations.

Who is a woman in the field that inspires you?

There is an endless amount of inspiring women in this diverse field! I’m honestly motivated by any woman that is able to make her own mark in her company, industry or community. Also, as a working mom of an almost four-year-old daughter, I’m in awe of other working mothers who lead and encourage other women to be successful.

What is your advice to a young, professional woman starting in the field?

My advice is pretty simple and straightforward. It’s to work hard, care and check your ego at the door. That’s one of our mottos here at 84 Lumber and I find it to be valuable not only in my career, but in my personal life too. You have to put in the work!


This year, the theme for IWD is #ChooseToChallenge, focusing on the idea that:

“A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day.

We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.

From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge.”

Find more resources: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/


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