Pierponters Make an Impact at Local Universities
Pierpont CEO Phil Morabito, Vice President of Digital Strategy Chris Ferris, Vice President Meghan Gross, and Assistant Account Executive Uniqua Williams share their teaching experiences this semester.
Pierpont has a long-standing commitment to education. This spring, four members of our staff have dedicated themselves to making an impact by teaching classes at universities across the country.
Meghan Gross, Vice President, teaches Public Relations in the fall and Advanced Public Relations in the spring. Her love for teaching PR began in 2005 at her alma mater, Boston College. Meghan taught at BC until 2011. In 2021, she started teaching again, this time at New Jersey City University. In 2022 she moved to Seton Hall University, also, in New Jersey.
Meghan loves to teach: “It’s an opportunity to give back and share my knowledge with an industry that has been filled with great colleagues and interesting clients and stories.”
“I also truly enjoy the process of creating a great learning environment,” she continues. “It’s fun to design interactive classes and brainstorm ways to get the class involved in the current news cycle. Finally, I enjoy helping young professionals launch their careers.”
Meghan hopes to encourage students to change their perspectives on brands and how companies and their products gain attention in the media. “Every semester I have at least one of those moments where I see a student ’switch on‘ and get really invested in the subject matter,” she says. “They begin to spot trends and bring in real-world examples to the classroom, in addition to my lecture content. Watching that happen is one of the best parts!”
Meghan also considers some of the challenges that PR faces: “I’ve been in the PR industry for more than 25 years now. Some of what I learned as a young professional has been kind of flipped on its head. For example, paid content was not a thing when I first started out—if you were in PR, you left paid content to the advertising team. So, it’s always a challenge for me to remember to bring the PESO model to the conversation and introduce students to a wide range of reading materials and not just classic textbooks. There is always more to learn even as a professor, which is a good challenge to have. I hope to continue teaching as long as my schedule will allow!”
Phil Morabito, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Pierpont, has been teaching for 34 years. This semester, he is once again teaching MBA and master’s students at the University of Houston. This Integrated Marketing Communications course educates his students about the importance of integrated communication marketing.
One of the reasons why Phil loves to teach is because he gets to give back the knowledge he has acquired through the years. He also enjoys being able to create a class that is not solely based on a textbook, and instead tries to make class become a “living textbook.” Because Phil is interested in giving students real-life experiences and examples, he created “Real Life Nights,” which include speakers from relevant backgrounds (marketing, sales, PR) who discuss their work and real-life situations with his students.
Phil does not want his students to simply memorize content, but to actually understand what is occurring in the real world. By creating a class that exposes students to real-life experiences, he hopes to better equip them to go out in the work world and employ their education effectively.
Communication classes are not typically included in business schools, and Phil believes this lack puts students at a disadvantage. When graduates go out in the “real world” and face a crisis or a communication issue, they do not know how to handle it. For this reason, his Integrated Marketing Communications class attempts to incorporate communication lessons that apply to businesses.
Because so many professionals have been working in their fields for decades and have acquired so much valuable knowledge, Phil asserts that it is their responsibility to give back this knowledge. They can do this by giving lectures, speeches, and being guest speakers in classes like his. His dedication embodies the educational principles that Pierpont stands for.
For Uniqua Williams, Assistant Account Executive, this is her first-year teaching. In the spring and summer, she teaches Strategic Communications at the University of Houston. She explains that “the class is a student-run agency called Valent Integrated.”
Uniqua has always valued education. For this reason, she considers being able to educate future communicators to be a “great privilege.”
She goes on: “I love being able to help nurture the minds of young professionals. One thing I really enjoy about my Strategic Communications course is that students get to work directly with clients just like they would at a real PR firm. I love the experience students get with these interactions as many of my students have already expressed how valuable it has been to them.”
Uniqua believes that it is important for her students to be able to have classroom experience they can apply in the workplace One of the biggest challenges she faced when she was a student was trying to understand how what she was learning fit within the grand scheme of things. “I want to make sure that what my students get out of my class is relevant and useful throughout their career journey,” she promises
Her biggest challenge as a new teacher? “Adapting to the different ways each student learns.”
Chris Ferris, PhD, Vice President of Digital Strategy, has taught digital marketing to MBA students at Rice Business for six years. “The goal of my class is to educate future business leaders about how to think about digital marketing,” says Chris.
“I’m not expecting them to be able to leave my class and run a Google Ad campaign, for example,” he explains. “I more want them to have better judgment when they are faced with considering digital strategy for their business, working with a digital agency, partnering with an internal digital department, or hiring a digital marketing employee.”
Chris explains the biggest challenge of teaching digital strategy is also what he likes most about it. “The digital landscape is always changing,” he says, “What was best practice last year–or even last month– might not be today. I really enjoy having to stay current so I’m providing my students with the latest best practices. And I can then apply those lessons to my work with Pierpont clients. My students benefit and my clients do. It’s a win-win.”
Senior Counsel Terry Heymeyer is also on faculty at Rice Business and The University of Texas at Austin, teaching communication strategies and crisis management. Terry has more than 40 years of experience in branding and communication across nearly every industry. His lifelong commitment to education is one of the many reasons Terry is an invaluable resource for clients, employees and students.
One of the core principles of Pierpont Communications is our commitment to education, and through the years, Pierpont has embraced and supported this principle. In addition to our employees teaching at Rice Business, The University of Texas in Austin, Seton Hall University, and the University of Houston, Pierpont also has an online externship program where Pierpont experts teach participants specific skills and techniques.
In 2015, Pierpont also started the Pierpont Endowment at The University of Texas at Austin, which focuses on helping a 5-year faculty research on communication issues affecting businesses. Finally, Pierpont also provides philanthropic support to student organizations and professional associations.
Read more about Pierpont’s commitment to education, as well as our internship and externship programs.Contact Us