J-School Alumna Wears Many Hats

Posted on: February 11, 2014

Sharlan-Douglas-webThe 30-year career of Sharlan Douglas has taken her through traditional journalism, broadcasting, public relations and nonprofit management. She also has worked in association management and economic development.

Douglas, B.A. journalism '74, is the owner and president of Douglas Communications Group, a Royal Oak, Mich., based public relations and social marketing firm. A 20-year resident of Royal Oak, Douglas recently was elected to the Royal Oak City Commission.

She also has served as president and CEO of the Dearborn Chamber of Commerce, founding executive director of the Eight Mile Boulevard Association, and vice president for marketing and development for the Metropolitan Center for High Technology, Michigan's first business incubator.

At the Eight Mile Boulevard Association, Douglas helped raise nearly $4 million to remake the image of Detroit's Eight Mile Road.

"What I learned in (MSU's) journalism school has served me well throughout my career, no matter what the position," she said. "I learned to write tight, ask hard questions and stick to the facts."

On a statewide level, Douglas is the current vice president of the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP), which is dedicated to promoting sound community planning that benefits the residents of Michigan. Previously, she served as the secretary/treasurer for MAP.

"My career trajectory does make sense, looking at it retroactively," Douglas said. "An interest in historic preservation and a PR job at an economic development organization aimed me towards studies in urban planning. That plus my communications skills made me a good fit at the Eight Mile Boulevard Association. Today, I use all that to serve clients concentrated in community and real estate development."

Douglas also has directed professional and community theater plays for more than 30 years. Her production of "Ain't Misbehavin" opens Friday, Feb. 14, at the Baldwin Theatre in Royal Oak, Mich. Her other productions include "Show Boat," "Urinetown: The Musical," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "A Little Night Music," "Crazy for You," "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "Lend Me a Tenor," "Blithe Spirit" and "Greater Tuna."

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