Moving From the Bottom Up: Laura D. Plumb
by Tiffany Fair
W.H. Auden said, "Poetry makes nothing happen."
Well, English does, as many Western Carolina graduates who
majored in English can attest. Laura Plumb is one of them.
Chief media spokesperson
Plumb, now a manager of Corporate and Financial Communications
at TECO Energy, a diversified energy-related holding company,
took many paths to arrive at the position she now holds. She
has served as chief media spokesperson at Tampa Electric Co,
Director of University Relations at University of Tampa, and
Manager of Public Relations in Belkview Biltmore Resort.
A typical day for Plumb is pretty busy. At any given minute
she could get calls from local, state, or national media and
answer most their inquiries. She often appears on television,
is interviewed on radio or is quoted in the newspaper. Despite
how reactive her job is, it is still satisfying. When asked
to tell a story that illustrates what she finds the most satisfying
about her job, she states: "As the lead media contact
for a four billion dollar energy company, I'm often coaching
top executives on what to say and how to relay messages to
the press. The fact that they respect me and truly value my
expert opinion is incredibly satisfying."
A great foundation
Western Carolina University has given Laura the academic,
interpersonal, and writing skills to succeed at the top-notch
public relations graduate school at the University of Florida.
The faculty in the English Department were truly wonderful
and gave her great confidence in herself. Plumb was inspired
by how she loved school. That started at Western, but stays
with her to this day.
Sources of pride
She is the most proud of finishing her M.B.A. in Marketing
at the University of Tampa, of her academic achievements,
and how much she has grown in her career, especially at TECO
Energy. Plumb uses writing all the time, and states that it
is a valuable skill that most people don't have. Laura writes
news releases as well as the annual report to share holders
and executive speeches. Writing is extremely important in
Plumb advises English majors to have great writing samples
before graduating and to consider related career fields. "An
English degree gives you a wonderful broad base. Since graduating,
I've seamlessly moved from technical writer to prior to community
relations to advertising to media relations."