[previously posted on GVSU enLIGHTen]
Katelyn Davis, a 2010 graduate of Grand Valley’s Advertising and Public Relations program, has been immersed in Michigan’s native automotive industry working in public relations as well as corporate communications for the last six years. Katelyn also acts as a proponent for new grads to consider the industry as a viable career path.
“Automotive is one of the largest consumer industries in the world and we are so lucky to live in Michigan at its epicenter,” said Davis. “The automotive industry isn’t just for engineers. And it’s definitely not just for men. To keep succeeding, this industry needs all types of talented people including artists, finance gurus, health care experts, scientists, and, of course, communications people who can help spread the message around the world.”
After obtaining her undergraduate degree from Grand Valley, Davis moved to Metro-Detroit to begin working with Yazaki, an automotive supplier. At Yazaki, she took on the role as a Communications Specialist on the Corporate Affairs and Communications team and during her time there she focused on employee communications, public relations, corporate storytelling/reporting, and social media outreach including marketing and recruiting. Currently, Katelyn works at Team Detroit as a Public Relations Writer for Ford Motor Company’s Global Team Ford Communications Team. In this role she researches, writes, and interviews for press releases and announcements regarding Ford’s vehicle design, safety innovations, and green initiatives.
Outside of work, Davis promotes the automotive industry on her own accord through social media (blog and Twitter) as well as works with local organizations on occasion, such as MICHauto to spread their message of promoting, retaining, and growing the automotive industry in Michigan.
In addition to her undergraduate degree from Grand Valley State University, Davis went on to study New Media Communications at Wayne State University. Together she was able to merge her traditional public relations skillset with new forms of digital and social communication to meet the needs of the automotive industry.
“Press releases aren’t just written statements and quotes sent off on a wire service anymore,” she explains. “There’s usually always an accompanying video or fact sheet or infographic to go along with the announcement. So much of PR is about being a strong writer, it is also about understanding your audience and finding ways to really reach them, which is why I think my well-rounded background in PR and social media has been so beneficial to my career.”
Davis was a board member of the Social Media Association of Michigan, serving as the Communications and Media Chair where she oversaw the social media marketing efforts of the organization. Additionally, she was named Top Social Media Reporter by Ragan Communications and One Person Wonder by MichBusiness in 2014. Currently, she is also freelancing for small companies and start-ups offering communications, PR, and social media services. Davis continues to look fondly back on her time at GV and attributes her strong professional character and skill-set to the foundations she was taught at Grand Valley.