Starting tomorrow, my career will take a new turn as I embark on my new job as communications officer for the Sisters of Charity Health System. Essentially, I'll be responsible for the internal and external communications of the health system, which include hospitals St. Vincent Charity (Cleveland), St. John West Shore (Westlake), Mercy Medical Center (Canton), Providence Hospital (Columbia, SC); outreach ministries including Early Childhood Resource Center (Canton), Healthy Learners (Colombia, SC), Joseph's Home (Cleveland), Center for Fathers and Families (SC), Caritas Connection (Cleveland); foundations including Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton, Cleveland and South Carolina; and eldercare facilities Regina Health Center and Light of Hearts Villa.
The position is a new one and my charges are many, but initially I'll be working with a team to roll out the health system's new brand across all the ministries both internally and externally. This was a unique opportunity to use more than my writing skills in a job that will be demanding and strategic in its scope.
Of particular appeal to me was the mission of the Sisters of Charity to healing not only the physical body, but also the mind, spirit and daily life of individuals. I'm inspired by its commitment to the urban environment and the marginalized in society and I'm delighted by the wonderful people with whom I'll be working.
Why have I gone to the dark side of PR as journalists often say of such conversions?
Over these past few months I recognized that my ability to stay in Cleveland and continue working as a journalist at the level that would match my experience and abilities was extremely limited given the turmoil of the journalism industry in general and the state of Cleveland journalism in particular.
After talking with a number of people who had left journalism, I found not one who regretted the decision. Rather, I discovered that the decision to leave opened doors to using those skills in ways that could have a tremendous impact on an organization. I was inspired by their stories and encouraged by their efforts.
This is good news considering last weekend alone I heard from two SPJ colleagues (one in Phoenix, one in Charleston, SC) who had each lost their jobs after many years at a their respective papers. The bloodletting, I am certain, will continue for the foreseeable future.
And so I've made the leap in PR. The learning curve is steep, but I'm looking forward to the challenge. As one colleague told me last week, being a journalist is the best preparation for a job in PR. Certainly the pay is better.
There will be limited opportunity to continue writing here at Creative Ink. I'm undecided as to what to do with the blog. I won't delete it because it is a record of my thoughts, work and activities over the past four and a half years. However, I may opt to make it private.
In the next few weeks, I hope to have my final KnowledgeWorks book available. The story is a long one (about 10,000 words). I plan to post it here in a serialized fashion. I'm very proud of the work and would welcome feedback on the final product.
Thanks to my regular and occasional readers for your support and encouragement. I've felt empowered here to push myself and grow as a writer. Now I'm pushing beyond writing.
Thanks for reading!