News & Stories
Kirsten Stone
April 24, 2023

An Executive Marketing VP Returns to Campus to Give Back Real-World Experience

Kristen Stone ’00, an executive vice president at Edelman, an international public relations firm, believes her decision to go to Berry College was one of the best she’s made in her lifetime. At Berry, she gained real-world experiences in communication that helped her narrow in on her future career. This year, she returned to Berry to teach a course on social media strategy and to connect students to real Edelman projects and agency teams. 

Stone says her college experiences sealed in her mind the kind of work she wanted to do in her future career. At Berry, she held jobs with the student newspaper and the Berry public relations team. Her jobs and coursework opened her eyes to all the possibilities within communication – whether that’s PR (public relations), journalism, advertising or digital media. She remembers being behind the scenes during Remember the Titans when it was filmed on campus and considers this experience one of the most impactful in her college career. 

“My student work experiences helped jump-start my career immediately upon graduation,” she says. “I would encourage communication students to have an open mind, which can help develop valuable skills like critical thinking, empathy and cultural awareness – all of which help you become a more effective communicator and collaborator.” 

After college, Stone worked for a small PR agency in Atlanta for several years before moving to Edelman, where she held various roles, gaining experience across different clients and industries.   

“The communications field is constantly evolving, with new technologies and trends emerging. This means every day can bring new challenges, opportunities and learning experiences. I've never faced the same day twice,” says Stone. 

Stone stayed connected with Berry after graduation through alumni networking events and guest speaking engagements, but she was thrilled when asked to teach. She is passionate about helping students understand the role and strategy of using social media in marketing, PR and other related fields with emphasis on how it differs from general consumer use. 

Her course focuses on a semester-long project where students produce a strategic social media campaign for a client. Stone then leverages Edelman employees to guide the project briefs, answer questions and act as final reviewers. Stone says that if her colleagues are impressed with projects, the work may be turned over to real clients. Students have been enthusiastic, as Edelman is known for its star-studded client list with brands like Disney Cruise Line, The Home Depot and Gerber. 

“In the communication field, working with real-world brands can be a valuable learning experience, providing students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in a practical setting,” says Stone. 

Being back on campus has also given Stone time to reflect on how Berry has changed since her time but balanced to honor the tradition and history of the school. She says Berry’s core feels the same while the college has continued to grow and adapt to the needs of students today. “It’s indicative of the world-class educational experience Berry provides for its students,” says Stone. 

Stone is still close with her college friends and sees the impact of Berry’s core values in who they have become. Whether they’re corporate executives, non-profit directors or ordained priests, they are doing remarkable work in service of others. Stone attributes this type of success to the Berry experience that prepared them for the future but also taught them the significance of being kind, listening to others, giving back and living with open hearts and minds.

 Back to Top