Hearst Visiting Professional in Residence

Grady Grad Rebbeca Leet (ABJ '71) was at Grady this week as a HearstFoundation Visiting Professional.

"Leet is currently principal of Rebecca Leet & Associates, providing strategic management and strategic communications services to such clients as the Ford Foundation, the American Red Cross, Deloitte Tax LLP, The World Bank, Pew Center for Civic Journalism and others.

After graduating from UGA and working briefly in Switzerland, Leet returned to the Washington, D.C. area, where she had grown up. She has remained there throughout her career, weaving in and out of the national news media, politics, non-profit management and consulting.

Leet began her career at The Washington Star, the former afternoon paper in Washington, D.C., where she worked her way up from obit writer to a reporter covering the U.S. Congress before departing in 1977 to become national press secretary for Republican Senator Lowell Weicker of Connecticut, who was exploring a run for President.

She departed Weicker's staff to become vice president for communications of The Wilderness Society, where she helped shift communications in the environmental movement away from a publicity focus to a strategic communications/lobbying focus. After three years there, she became director of news information for ABC News in Washington. Along the way, she served briefly as interim anchor for a local PBS show entitled Metro Week in Review.

With blood more geared to ink than broadcast, Leet left ABC News and established her own consulting practice in 1983, operating it until 2008 when she took a year off to become executive director of the Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN), the only national organization solely focused on preparing women for leadership in the public sector.

As a consultant, Leet also speaks and writes about nonprofit management and marketing issues and, in 2007, published the first book in the sector on message development, Message Matters: Succeeding at the Crossroads of Mission and Market. She is also credited with crafting the American Lung Association's longtime slogan: When you can't breathe, nothing else matters.

Over the course of her career, Leet has served on numerous national and local nonprofit boards of directors, including the public broadcasting station in Washington, WETA, and was the founding president of two local nonprofits. She is a former member of the George Foster Peabody Awards Board and, in 2008, was inducted into the Grady College Fellowship. She won the Public Relations Society of America's Silver Anvil for work she did as part of a team promoting the U.S. Census. She lives in Arlington, Va.

During her three-day Grady visit, Leet visited several public relations and advertising classes, met with students one-on-one, delivered an open talk in the Drewry Room, held a message development session with faculty and staff, and participated in PRSSA's PRofessional CONNECTION conference.

The Hearst Visiting Professionals program is designed to provide Grady College students and faculty with executive communication leadership based on real-world experience and perspectives. The careers of selected executives span across majors and interests in journalism and mass communication." (Courtesy of Dr. Sherrie Whaley as found on: www.grady.uga.edu)

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