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It’s no secret that our parent company, W2O Group, has deep ties to Syracuse University and their Newhouse School of Public Communications. It all started with our CEO, Jim Weiss, who is not only an alumni but who was also inducted into the Newhouse Hall of Fame last fall along with notables such as foursquare co-founder, Dennis Crowley and Sports Illustrated writer, Pete Thamel.

Given the synergies between our two organizations, Newhouse and W2O Group went ahead and launched a Social Commerce Center last fall and celebrated the creation of the new center with a Social Commerce Day” on campus earlier this spring. The purpose of the Center is for W2O and to Newhouse to train and cross-pollinate learning among professors, students and W2O employees and to ultimately impact the curriculum for future members of the school and to teach one another about the future of social.

In light of our relationship with the bright minds at the Newhouse School, we are excited about their recent announcement that they were now offering social media training via 15 self-paced lessons in partnership with social media engagement tool provider, Hootsuite. This is in response to the fact that so many companies — large and small — are in need of better skill sets for applying social media to their marketing and communication efforts.

The course is taught by Newhouse Social Media Professor, Dr. William J. Ward, and participants will have the valuable opportunity to engage directly with Dr. Ward through personalized feedback and assessments. Upon successfully completing the course, participants will earn a Advanced Social Media Strategy Certificate.

Course topics will include:

  • Situation and Environment Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Process
  • Content Strategy
  • Information Management and Threats
We here at W2O Group would like to congratulate Dr. Ward, Dean Lorraine Branham, Professor Maria Russell and Adjunct Professor, Kate Brodock and the folks at Hootsuite on this endeavor and look forward to growing our partnership over time.

Today, we have some exciting news. Our very own Gary Grates, Principal, W2O Group, and global leader in change management, corporate strategy and organizational communications, has been elected to the Advisory Board of ABERJE, the Brazilian Association for Business Communications. This comes in part to Gary’s role as an adjunct professor in the joint ABERJE-Syracuse University advanced professional certificate program. In addition, Gary has taught organizational communications to hundreds of mid-to-senior level professionals representing an array of leading Brazilian corporations.

If you want more details on the announcement, you can see the official release here. In the meantime, I took some time to sit down with Gary to ask him a few questions about this new opportunity:

[Aaron] Gary, congratulations on being elected to the advisory board of ABERJE, the Brazilian Association for Business Communications. Talk a little bit about why this is a big deal.
[Gary] Really two reasons. The first is that ABERJE is a very well-respected public relations association representing leading brands and organizations in Brazil and Latin America. The group provides an array of services including education programs in partnership with leading institutions such as Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications; industry best practices; awards programs; certificate programs; outreach; publications; and proprietary research . The second reason is that Brazil is major player in the global community and its public relations industry is smart, sophisticated, and active in defining the evolving role of communications in business and society.

[Aaron] Now you are also an adjunct professor in the joint ABERJE-Syracuse University advanced professional certificate program? What kind of courses/subject matter do you teach?
[Gary] Since 2006, I’ve been a teaching a three-day course on Strategic Organizational (Internal) Communications and have had close to 300 professionals complete the program. The course covers all aspects of internal communications – engagement, workforce dynamics, organizational behavior, employee worldview, system architecture, content development, platforms, social media techniques, feedback, recognition, skills, etc.

[Gary] As someone that has served in global leadership positions at companies like General Motors and GCI, tell us a little about the perspective that you will bring to the advisory board.
[Gary] Simply put, my role is to provide a perspective on how communications is being assimilated into the decision-making bodies of organizations and the changes that such influence are having on the profession and its value. Also, the growing use of analytics and models in gauging behavior, influence, trust and reputation.

[Aaron] Given the future potential growth of Brazilian businesses on a global scale and continuous changes taking place in technology and society, talk about the strategic importance of this advisory role to W2O Group.
[Gary] Again, being involved with such an influential group whose reach and scope cover such a broad and important area provides our firm with insights and knowledge as well as access to talent and thinking. Further, how data can be applied in the market to raise a new level of communications counsel and support.

[Aaron] Do you have a sense of some of the issues/opportunities that you will tackle in your first few months on the advisory board?
[Gary] At this point, not really sure what the first few months will bring but I do know that there are a wealth of issues, challenges and opportunities ahead of us that will not only keep me busy and engaged but also provide new ideas to the firm.

Thanks Gary! Good luck with this new opportunity. I look forward to updates along the way!