Show Notes

Air date: 3/12/2019

About this episode:

Ruth Jackson, Vice President of Communications at Colby College
Ruth Jackson, Vice President of Communications at Colby College

Ruth Jackson is the vice president for communications at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. She is the college’s chief communications officer, providing vision, direction, and leadership for Colby’s internal and external communications. She oversees the strategic planning behind, and the development and creation of, Colby’s communications and marketing programs, including the website, Colby Magazine, advancement and admissions materials, media relations, social media, and internal communications. A Maine native and a graduate of Brandeis University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Jackson previously worked in independent-school communications and as an editor of a consumer magazine. She began at Colby in 2004 as assistant director of communications for news and information, became director of communications in 2013, and was appointed vice president in 2015.

In this episode:

3:54 – How Ruth’s passion for writing and magazines led her to journalism and communications

5:05 – The opportunity that led to her working at Colby

6:40 – The essence of storytelling and how much things have changed

10:25 – What Ruth would have done earlier in her career

12:49 – Ruth explains the value of a liberal arts degree

15:00 – The importance of keeping audiences engaged and how the college focuses on them through PR and social media

15:24 – Engagement of ambassadors and Colby alumni

17:05 – The use of the college’s Instagram photography and new drone

17:51 – The changes in the forms of content, especially the use of video

19:30 – The use of audience segmentation and analysis and how it is helpful in her role at the college

22:33 – Ruth’s passion to create a positive culture with her employees at Colby and the importance of finding the right employees

28:50 – What Ruth is measuring as part of her job at Colby, including reputation management

31:28 – Photos of the sunset over Miller Library’s tower and the photos and content that resonate with people

33:49 – The importance of real connections, being who you are and caring about people

35:04 – The overall value of building a network

37:30 – Why reaching out to people can lead to bigger opportunities and expanding your network

38:09 – Why Ruth really values a strong personal brand and professional reputation

40:14 – Why Ruth loves her Apple watch and how it allows her to stay connected, plus why she recommends the book Elements of Style by E.B. White

44:45 – How Ruth became friends with Olympian Seth Wescott and their stories of skateboarding together

46:24 – Ruth’s advice to raise your hand and take on a new challenge

49:20 – Why in communications and marketing you must take calculated and strategic risks

Advice for college students: “There is so much value in asking questions and I hope that people who are starting out aren’t afraid to do that.” – Ruth Jackson, Vice President of Communications at Colby College



  • Julie Peterson
  • Seth Wescott, Olympian
  • Charlie Vassar, Professor at Colby College

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