Making Her Mark Halfway Across the Globe
A degree from Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism can lead to opportunities to work across fields and businesses — and all over the world. Alumna Mary Jo Spletzer, ’10, has used what she learned as a public relations major to make her mark at Atlantis Resorts in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Spletzer met the man who would become her husband — an exchange student from Germany — during her senior year, so “it was inevitable that I ended up living and working outside of the U.S.” But she began her career locally at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron working in internal communications. She also spent time on public relations teams at the J.M. Smucker Company and Marcus Thomas before moving to London in 2016. For a little over a year now, she has led global public relations campaigns for Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai. Spletzer said she credits her education at Kent State for providing the skills needed to work professionally and switch between industries and countries.
“Without a doubt,” Spletzer said, “it would not have been as easy to switch between multiple industries without the foundational skills that the public relations major instilled in me. I am always confident that no matter what I am working on, I know what it takes to communicate strategically.”
At Atlantis, The Palm, Spletzer splits her time between traditional media relations and content creation.
“I help sell the extraordinary experiences at the resort, but I have a ton of trust in my customer-facing colleagues to deliver those experiences," she said. “I’ve had the opportunity to participate in some of these experiences myself, whether that’s diving with sharks in our Ambassador Lagoon or enjoying a spectacular meal at one of our restaurants, and this makes me proud to share these with media because I understand first-hand all of the amazing things you can do at Atlantis.”
At Atlantis, the public relations team is also responsible for all filming that takes place at the resort — travel shows, news programs, documentaries, etc. — so Spletzer has gained new skills in coordinating television production. She recently worked on a program with Discovery+ that will air in early 2022.
And, like professionals in any industry, the past two years, Spletzer and her team have continually adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit the hospitality industry with the need to constantly enforce new health procedures to assure the safety of the guests.
“Working in the hospitality industry, the biggest takeaway is to be flexible,” Spletzer said, “especially in the middle of a pandemic. We must continuously adjust to new travel regulations and change our focus markets depending on who is able to travel to Dubai at any given time.”
Spletzer has worked abroad for five years, and while she did not study abroad during her time at Kent State, she believes students should do so if they have an opportunity.
“Working outside of the United States has been an incredible experience,” Spletzer said, “and I would definitely recommend that everyone take the chance to do so if given the opportunity ... Both cities (London and Dubai) are a melting pot of nationalities and cultures, and although this can make things more challenging at times with many different opinions and backgrounds, it’s also what makes each day interesting. I’ve learned so much about other countries, experienced new traditions, and have become a more well-rounded individual because of it.”