Lieutenant Governor Speaks to PR Class

Posted on: October 25, 2013

Calley-Brian1Michigan's Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley was the surprise guest speaker at Robert Kolt's Intro to PR class (ADV 260) on Friday, Oct. 25, and talked about the importance of communications in his job and within state politics.

It was the first time Calley, who graduated from MSU in 1998 with a BA in general business, spoke before a class of college students as lieutenant governor.

"There are a lot of people who will tell you what you should do with your life, and life is way too short to live out someone else's dreams," Calley told the class. "At the end of the day, you are the one who has to live your life. If there is something you want to do, there is no better time to do it."

As an undergraduate student, Calley took Kolt's Media Relations for Professionals course.

"I view that class as one of the most relevant courses that I use today," Calley said. "It gave the nuts and bolts of how to communicate and communicate well and taught us how to make persuasive arguments and how not to fall into traps."

Kolt is an instructor in the Advertising + Public Relations department as well as the president and CEO of Kolt Communications, Inc., a privately owned communications corporation in Okemos, Mich. In 2012, Governor Rick Snyder appointed him a member of the Michigan Community Service Commission. He also served as the volunteer president of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Michigan in 2012. It was through these appointments that Kolt reconnected with Calley and later invited him to speak to his class.

"This was a great opportunity for my students to hear a political leader talk about how he uses communication in his job every day and how important PR is within that leadership position," Kolt said.

Calley talked to the class about the changes made by Gov. Snyder's administration and the lessons learned about the importance of having a communication plan and effectively executing that plan.

"We went in and made big changes, and whenever you make big changes, it will come with a certain amount of controversy," Calley said. "We found when we told the stories behind what these changes meant, and when we reduced it down to things that meant something to people, there was a better understanding of what we were trying to do."

Calley, whose daughter has autism, also talked about the role he played in leading a successful legislative push to require insurance companies cover evidence-based treatments for autism and how important it was to that effort to tell his own story.

"To have the lieutenant governor share his personal experiences with students, it is a rare and unique opportunity at MSU," Kolt said.

Calley also answered questions from the class and stayed afterward to meet with students.

"This is a big part of the MSU experience to have these fantastic opportunities to meet people like the lieutenant governor," said Alyssa Sturm, a junior Advertising major with a specialization in PR.

At age 36, Calley is the youngest lieutenant governor in the United States and the second youngest in Michigan history. He was sworn in as the 61st lieutenant governor of Michigan on New Year's Day 2011.

"My education here served me well," Calley told a group of students after the class. "The MSU identifier is at a different level than any other schools. It helps you get in the door with other Spartans, and we are everywhere."

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