Staff Spotlight for July 2016: Kenya Johnson
What is your title? I am a Public Relations Coordinator in Georgia State’s Instruction Innovation and Technology (IIT) unit. I am also the Chair of the GSU Staff Council for 2016-2017.
Would you like to share a little about your immediate family or family history? I grew up in east central Georgia in a city called Sandersville. It’s known as the kaolin capital of the world and is located halfway between Macon and Augusta. In terms of family, I have one half-brother, and am my mother’s only child.
How long have you been working at Georgia State University? I have worked at the university for the past eight years and also previously worked at GSU for four years while in college.
What do you do on a typical day? On a typical day, I work on operational communications strategies for the various sub-units in my division. This means I create digital and print marketing content to showcase innovative instruction, research and applications of technology at the university. I produce everything from electronic newsletters and targeted marketing campaigns to social media content and news stories. I also monitor data analytics related to various projects. In addition, I organize our student outreach events, and provide support for other technology events for faculty and staff.
How do you think your job supports the university’s mission? My job supports the university’s mission by helping to ensure that students, faculty and staff are equipped with the technology resources, knowledge and skills to work efficiently in carrying out the university’s strategic goals. Through technology I help others improve their everyday work.
What is your background? I have worked in media relations, communications, and marketing for over fifteen years in both the public and private sectors. Outside of higher education, I’ve worked in a variety of fields related to media and business. I was previously a reporter for the Atlanta Daily World newspaper for a number of years, and also worked in radio for a local station here in Atlanta as an on-air personality. When I was an undergraduate at GSU, I wrote for the Signal student newspaper, and also the Villager staff newsletter.
My educational background includes a master of public administration from Valdosta State University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in theater from Georgia State. I also have an associate’s degree in music from the Art Institute of Atlanta.
What do you do when you are not at work? In my spare time I listen to music and like to perform at specials events – singing and sometimes acting. I also participate in community service projects and do research about history. Since I tend to be goal-oriented, I take time to plan for the future and set priorities for continuing to move forward personally and professionally.
What is your favorite thing in your office? My favorite thing in my office is my computer. It’s how I get things done and it keeps me organized and on track with projects.
What don’t people know about you? I am involved in my community and just finished my last year on a board for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. While on the board, I had an opportunity to make an impact and served as the liaison to the White House.
I am also the founder of the Miss Georgia State University Scholarship Pageant, which is a part of the Miss America system. As most people know Miss America is a very prestigious organization that focuses on scholarship and community service. Years ago I won a Miss America preliminary and participated in Miss Georgia. It was a wonderful, life-enriching experience. For my community service, I started a program called C.H.I.L.D. – Changing How Individuals Learn and Develop. The program aimed to combat youth violence through the creative arts.
Lastly, my work in media has afforded me the opportunity to interview many notable people such as Dr. Maya Angelou, Congressman John Lewis, Ambassador Andrew Young and others. I was one of the last people to interview Dr. Angelou before she passed away. I’m planning to create an archive of my interviews over the next year or so. Perhaps one day I can share it with GSU, my alma mater.
If you weren’t working at Georgia State, what would your ideal job be? My ideal job would be sharing stories about history through the arts and media.