Wludyga resigns from position

Gannon University’s biggest promoter over the last four years is moving on. Karla Wludyga, director of public relations and communication, announced Thursday that she accepted a new position with the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and will be stepping down from her role at Gannon in the coming weeks. Wludyga started at Gannon in 2008 after spending eight years as a news anchor with Erie station WJET-TV. During her tenure, Wludyga and her team revitalized Gannon’s public image by creating the university’s social media presence, redesigning the Gannon Magazine, putting out 50 percent more press releases and receiving 350 percent more news coverage for the university.

 

Dan Kubacki: What made you decide to come to Gannon?

Karla Wludyga: I was ready for a change. Before this job, all I had done was TV. So this was my first professional experience outside of TV besides working at a library in high school.

 

DK: What initially attracted you to Gannon, and does the university still possess those values today?

KW: Gannon is a wonderful place. There is nothing negative on earth that I could say about Gannon. Gannon is full of special people, and that sounds cliché, but it’s true. The faculty and staff truly care about the students and each other. When you run into someone at Gannon and they ask, “How are you today?” they care about the answer. When you have a problem, they will pray for you. That’s part of our home, our university, and I love that. There’s a real sense of family at Gannon.

 

DK: Is this an appropriate time to step away with everything you’ve accomplished at Gannon?

KW: The catalyst for this transition was more personal than professional. I’m a mother now and this move to Cleveland takes us closer to family. My husband [Scott] and I are both from Northeast Ohio. There are many grandparents and aunts and uncles there that are dying to be closer the baby. And while this is a nice career move for me, my husband doesn’t have to change jobs. He works in Northeast Ohio and commutes from Erie. So we’re changing the direction we drive every day and it comes with a career move of course, but not uprooting [my husband]. It was a perfect combination.

 

DK: How was the Gannon community supportive to you personally, and will you miss it?

KW: I can’t imagine a more supportive environment. Gannon has been extremely accommodating to me as far as the needs of a new mother, from maternity leave to people just asking about the baby. Because of Gannon’s Catholic identity, I think people are so much more in tune with the whole person. I don’t know if I’ll find that at my new employer; it’s certainly something special here that I’ve enjoyed.

 

DK: Tell me more about how you got your new job.

KW: Well, I think how I got the job can give people some hope in this new age where we do so much online and so much through computers in the hiring process. I saw a [Cleveland-area job posting] in a PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) email. Generally there really aren’t that many postings in Cleveland. So it caught my eye because of the location. I read the description and I thought, “I can do that,” so I applied.

I don’t know anyone there. I didn’t have an “in,” I guess you could say. All I did was submit an electronic resume. So I want to give hope to the students out there as they graduate and start applying for jobs and think, “Oh my, this is scary…Is this is really going anywhere?” I’m here to tell you that it does.

 

DK: Your job here is unique in the sense that you have a very public presence with the press, but the average student doesn’t necessarily know everything you do. How do you balance that?

KW: That’s the nature of communications; there’s the public side and the planning side, and both are important. I really appreciate that a lot of students knew who I was and would talk to me. But it’s never enjoyable when it’s your name on the email when some kind of campus alert goes out [laughs].

I accepted this position because I was interested in doing communications and PR work. The value added was that I got to work with students. I really didn’t expect to enjoy them as much as I did and have. Their energy and optimism and enthusiasm is infectious. Campus is a different place when they’re here. I always looked forward to seeing them. I’ll miss them.

 

DK: Any parting words to the Gannon community?

KW:  I’ll miss Gannon, I love Gannon and I thank everyone here for this opportunity. It’s been great.

 

DAN KUBACKI

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