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  • Sincerely, Southern

Preserving an Image: Lindsay Haynes and the Journey to PR Professionalism

Updated: Mar 25, 2019

By Bryanna Evans, Sincerely, Southern staff

Lindsay Haynes, APR, graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in public relations. During her time at Georgia Southern, she was an active member of PRSSA. Since graduating, she has become the PR and communications manager for Moe’s Southwest Grill. (Photo courtesy: Lindsay Haynes)

Lindsay Haynes graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in public relations. As an Atlanta native, the university’s reputable background, large-scale and small-feel drew her in. Lindsay was initially enrolled as a nursing student, but after receiving a ‘D’ in chemistry, she met with her advisor to find a more suitable major. After researching other majors, she decided to pursue a degree in public relations.

As a student, Lindsay loved attending football games with friends and watching from the lawn. In her free time, she also enjoyed relaxing in Sweetheart Circle. During her time in the Communications Arts Department, Lindsay was heavily involved in the classroom. Her favorite professor, Michelle Groover, had one of the biggest impacts on her education.

“I liked her style a lot. She was supportive and willing to go the extra mile. It’s really cool to have a mentor in her 10 years later,” Lindsay said.

In the classroom, Groover said Lindsay was participatory and inquisitive.

“She was one that you remember because she was a good student,” Groover said.

Some of Lindsay’s proudest moments at Southern include helping create the basis of “True Blue,” a student outreach campaign. Her group’s campaign focused on getting students excited about Georgia Southern and was eventually launched by the university. Lindsay also received a public relations research award from the PR Advisory Board on campus.

“I had one of the best college experiences,” Lindsay said. “I felt like I had a lot of experience that helped me prepare for the real world.”

Her involvement with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter on campus helped to shape her career through networking and attending industry events.

“Without PRSSA, I would have never been engaged with the PRSA Real World Conference, where I met future colleagues, landed my first job and internship,” Lindsay said.

In May of 2009, she secured a corporate communications internship with InterContinetal Hotels Group (IHG), where she assisted in the planning and execution of brand campaigns, wrote for the company intranet, researched, and developed media contact lists.

Following her internship, she spent eight years working for IHG as a PR and corporate communications coordinator, a PR specialist for Holiday Inn Brand Family, an associate manager for Extended Stay Brands and eventually as the PR manager for the Crowne Plaza. During her time there, she received IHG’s ROC Star Award for her exceptional work ethic and worked on the “Marry Me 11. 11. 11” campaign, which earned several local and national awards. In January of 2017, Lindsay began working for FOCUS Brands as the PR manager for both Moe’s Southwest Grill and Schlotzky’s.

Today, Lindsay works as the PR and communications manager for Moe’s. Over the course of her career with Focus Brands, she has helped to create memorable, award-winning campaigns, including “#QuesoImposters,” which earned the PRSA Phoenix award in November of 2018. Her biggest accomplishment so far, however, has been achieving her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) certification in January of 2019.

As a Georgia Southern alumni, Lindsay has also given back to the Communication Arts Department, sharing her knowledge with current public relations students. She has also been an active member of the PR Advisory Board for six years. The opportunity allows her to stay up-to-date about GSU and the department.

“I like staying close to the department and contributing to make it more successful,” Lindsay said.

As a board member, Lindsay, along with her colleagues, help students hone their skills.

Lindsay also works with the campus PRSSA chapter as a professional advisor, alongside faculty advisor Michelle Groover. She helps members with their campaigns for the Bateman Competition, a national PRSSA campaign competition.

“I appreciate the work she does to help us with that because she’s not being paid,” Groover said. “I like that she’s giving back to the university that’s helped her get to where she is.”

In addition, Lindsay routinely offers to review student résumés and answer students’ questions about post-grad life and the public relations workforce.

Lindsay encourages future and current students to complete as many internships as possible, chat with alumni, expand their knowledge outside of their classes, and be flexible when it comes to their career. As a student, she wanted to pursue a career in a non-profit, but after interning with IHG, she decided that hospitality was the right fit.

“Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions,” Lindsay said. “Do research on companies you admire. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other student alumni and professionals.”

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