Diana Harvey (B.A., '90; M.L.S., '09) has always had one goal. "I wanted to tell stories. That's all I ever wanted to do." With her role as chief communications officer at the University of Minnesota, it's her job to tell the University's story as a means of engaging the U's audiences. "I call myself the chief storyteller," she says.We sat down with the SJMC alumna to check in.
You've been in your new role for one year now. How's it going?
I love working within a new presidential administration. President Kaler is a true
visionary and a decisive, results-oriented leader. He's really given me a lot of latitude to
do what I think is best for the organization.
What changes are you working on?
We're working to integrate communications as much as possible across the University system. My goal in this role is to get everyone at the U working together to tell a more unified story of this great university. This job, unlike any I've worked on, feels like a political campaign. We try to get the president out in the community almost every day. He's always doing something to advance the U.
How did your career evolve after graduating from SJMC?
I was a news-writing student in SJMC, and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, except that I wanted to write for a living. So I went to the internship posting board in the basement of Murphy Hall and perused the public relations postings, a field I knew little about. I saw an internship for what was then Mona, Meyer, McGrath (now Weber Shandwick). So I applied, got the job, and found a field I loved. They hired me upon graduation, and I worked there for two years. I relished agency life. I was exposed to a bunch of different sectors and found my niche in the health care field.
How did you move to communications from public relations?
In 1992, I became the first-ever communications director for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota. There, I really understood for the first time all of the tools at our disposal and reoriented my thinking and work under the broad umbrella of communications.
What's your advice for finding a job that you love?
I've found that there is a lot of value in working on issues or causes that are meaningful and personal to me. Some of my proudest work is when I was on the Target Market teenage antismoking campaign. That campaign meant a lot to me. And that's why it's great to work at the U. I'm an alum. I've seen the organization from many perspectives,
and it has had a tranformative impact on my life.
What is a tactic that has helped you in your career?
I've never formally sought out mentors, but I've always had role models who I would consider mentors. Informal mentoring in both directions is important. Seek out the people you look up to, see how they work and behave and follow that lead.