Communication students from the University of Central Florida learned tips for achieving professional success at the university’s first COMM Day on Friday, April 8.

UCF’s Nicholson School of Communication hosted the event, which included workshops and presentations. Notable Nicholson School alumni, retiring faculty and student leaders also were honored.

The keynote speaker was Sally Hogshead, an author and brand innovation consultant who helps companies develop messages that persuade and captivate. Her clients have included Nike, Target and Coca-Cola.

During her presentation, Hogshead discussed the seven triggers that make marketing messages more effective and persuasive.  She also spoke to students about transitioning from school into the professional world.

“Just as the unique qualities of a product make it fascinating, I want to help students to understand what makes them different rather what makes them similar,” Hogshead said.

Students attended three one-hour breakout sessions that taught them how to develop themselves professionally and land a job in the digital age.

In “Quick Tips for Success,” UCF alumnus Heissam Jebailey, owner of Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt Shop in Winter Park, advised students on the ways to stand out in today’s competitive job market and get the job they want.

Danielle Lillig, senior copywriter at the marketing firm Y Partnership, explained how keeping an online portfolio of her work helped companies find and hire her in “Digital Resumes and Portfolios.”

In “Creating Your Online Brand,” UCF Public Relations professor Ryan Sheehy told students how to maintain a professional presence online as career communication shifts into cyberspace.

“I enjoyed the different forums, and I left feeling inspired and less worried about graduation,” said Carlyn Topkin, a senior studying Advertising and Public Relations.  “The professionals were very honest with us and gave us the tricks of the trade.”

The program included a salute to communication students and faculty, and new members were inducted into the Nicholson School of Communication Hall of Fame.

UCF alumnus Dan Ward, partner and vice president of the Curley & Pynn public relations firm, was inducted along with honorary member Joe Hall, associate professor and area coordinator of the Nicholson School.

Honored retiring faculty members were Carol Bledsoe, Speech and Communication; Joe Hall, Radio-Television; and Ron Smith, Journalism.

Outstanding undergraduate students honored were Gustavo Marrero, Advertising and Public Relations; Elisabeth Mendes, Interpersonal and Organizational Communication; Brendan Sonnone, Journalism; and Chad Mills, Radio-Television.

Graduate students honored were Erin Lovell, Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant; Vincent Santilli, Outstanding Master’s Thesis; and Kristen van Vonderen, Meeske Outstanding Graduate Student.