Alumni Spotlight
Kristi Brown

by: Reagan Young, PR student intern

Kristi Brown PhotoKristi Brown received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations in 1992 from Mississippi State University.

In 2001, Brown returned to MSU and received her Master of Technology Education. She waited to go back for her graduate degree because she wanted the investment of her time to be intentional.

Brown shares that if a student is not positive on going to graduate school, then they should delay going. 

“If you don't know just yet, consider delaying graduate school and get some work experience. Both will mean more if you're working for a purpose.”

Brown grew up in Collierville, Tenn., and then moved to Starkville in the 9th grade. She has resided here ever since, now working for Tennessee Valley Authority as a Regional Consultant in Economic Development in the MS region of TVA. Brown also has her own life coaching and speaking business, Upside Brown Consulting. 

Daily responsibilities for Brown include providing coaching, resources and support to communities to help them be as competitive to attract industry and business in order to maximize jobs and capital investment in their respective communities. 

Brown said she watched her parents struggle to make ends meet each month, so having a job that allows her to help communities locate higher-paying jobs for their residents is special to her.

“It's about helping people find a better quality of life for themselves and their families.”

During her undergraduate years, Brown worked and paid for her entire college career by herself, which taught her how to balance her time and resources. 

“I knew I wouldn't always be a broke college student, but there's so much satisfaction in working for the life we want to live. My coaching practices allows me the opportunity to help inspire others to figure that out for themselves whether they're starting out or in a place of needing to grow and push themselves a little more strategically.”

When it comes to seeking jobs after undergraduate years, Brown recommends students to reach out and utilize their connections. 

“Utilize your network; don't be bashful about trying to connect with alumni who are a deep source of information.”

Brown shares oftentimes people want to start at the top when searching for a job, but it is important to learn solid foundations and build from the ground up. 

“Be patient in growing your career – it takes time.”

Favorite memory as a communication student?
There are SO many. I loved summer school classes - that's when I really got to know the instructors and professors and vice versa. But one that sticks out is every student's nightmare come true - my best friend and I literally missed the final exam in Dr. Sid Hill's Persuasion class because of a mix-up in scheduling. And anyone who knew Sid Hill would understand - of ALL the classes, that was the ONE not to miss. Spoiler alert - he let us make it up but we took a lot of grief!

Favorite communication class you took and why?
Interpersonal Communication with Dr. Couvillion. It was in that class that I began to fully understand how we all communicate so differently based on our life's experiences. I fully embraced all I learned about others which ultimately helped me accept myself more fully and I learned how and why to lean into our differences as well as our similarities. It's the essence of learning how to communicate on behalf of clients, communities, or whoever we are representing in our work.

Most valuable lesson learned from the communication department?
As it is with so many things we encounter in life, what you put into your experience in the department is what you will get out of it. Be intentional about getting to know your instructors, professors, classmates and peers. They will ALL be one of your greatest supports during college and for years beyond.

Any funny stories from your time in McComas?
Nervously sitting in Sid Hill's office after missing the final exam in his class and waiting on him so I could try to explain HOW it happened is one for the books! I think he kept me waiting for 30 minutes on purpose! 

Favorite communication professor and why?
I honestly loved and learned from every professor including Frances McDavid, John Forde, Lora DeFore, Mike Couvillion, Sid Hill; but Hank Flick was so beloved for his ability to make everyone feel included, a part of class, and a part of who he was in this world. His unique ability to connect and teach through laughter taught me not only to work hard, dig deeper and communicate with confidence in a job interview but also to not take myself so seriously.