Making Every Second Count: Staying Fresh and Fast at Dunkin’ Brands

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In the public relations field, old information is like a stale doughnut: Nobody wants it. So when Dunkin’ Brands communications specialist Kate Walsh ’12 has to share corporate news with the company’s employees and franchisees, she knows time is of the essence.

“I know that I can only hold someone’s attention for a short time,” Walsh says, “so I need to make every second count.”

Walsh graduated from Bentley University with a degree in Information Design & Corporate Communication and Liberal Studies Major concentrating on Health and Industry. She points to practical advice given to her by IDCC Professor Simon Moore as being key in boiling down the art of business communication to its core.

“I took a couple of courses with Professor Moore that really helped me in my current position,” says Walsh. “He was really helpful in getting us to drill down to the important messages without adding flowery language, which is a huge part of my job.”

In her position, Walsh is responsible for writing and editing employee newsletters, organizing events, running webinars, supporting various departments with their communications efforts, and more.

There is always something new and exciting happening to keep me on my toes,” she explains.

When she was considering colleges, Walsh was drawn to the business curriculum at the core of every Bentley education.

“One of the things that drew me to Bentley in the first place was the integration of business with the arts and sciences,” says Walsh. “I knew when I applied to Bentley that I wouldn’t be exploring the traditional Accounting or Finance careers paths, but I felt that at the very least the business core would be a good background to have.

“While I personally rely more heavily on my arts and science background for many aspects of my job, I find that I am comfortable in situations where I need to know about earnings, or more financial topics,” she adds. “I credit Bentley’s General Business Core with giving me business knowledge that everyone should have, and knowledge that I probably wouldn’t have received if I had pursued a typical liberal arts degree at another school.”

It’s something that drew the attention of hiring managers, too. Walsh says Bentley’s reputation played a big part in getting her in the door at Dunkin’ Brands.

“My employers have recognized Bentley as an excellent school, and have seen the diversity of courses that I was able to take,” she says. “The combination of business with arts and sciences has had a huge impact on my career path, because it has made me so much more marketable than having just one of those focuses on its own.”

As someone who was admittedly a little shy when she first started college, Walsh says having the opportunity to get hands-on experience through Bentley’s internship program went a long way toward building her confidence — and her network.

 “Internships were probably the most valuable part of my Bentley experience,” she says. “You can gain a lot of knowledge from taking courses, but until you can get hands-on experience in a job it doesn’t fully begin to click.

“My advice for someone who wants to enter into the communications field — and really any field — would be to build a strong network,” adds Walsh. “When I was in college I was always a little shy about making business connections. Now that I’ve been working for a few years, I can definitely say I had no reason to be shy. Networking and keeping in touch with past coworkers and managers has helped me change jobs, build my professional skillset, and created great friendships for me. It may feel a little awkward at first, but I’ve learned that your connections are almost always more than happy to help you out, and you’ll be just as happy when you get a chance to return the favor.

 To Walsh, the variety at Dunkin’ Brands — and being able to interact with so many different people on the job — is a big part of her happiness at work.

“Because I have to communicate to both employees and franchisees, I have built relationships with people in many different departments who I work with to get important messages to the right audience,” she says. “Being able to work so cross-functionally has given me a much better view into how the company operates, which makes it easier for me to communicate messages clearly.”

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Jennifer Marino Walters is a Washington, D.C.-based writer whose work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Scholastic magazines, Care.com and more. She blogs at Double Duty Twins.