Plank Center Educator Fellowship


Plank Center Educator Fellow

Summer 2014

Milwaukee, WI

For the Plank Center Educator Fellowship, I was partnered with Harley-Davidson Motor Co. in Milwaukee, WI. My primary contact was the VP of Communication (Joann Bischmann) and her terrific team of leaders overseeing integrated communication, dealer communication, reputation management and organization and leadership communication. I spent two weeks with the organization (July 21-Aug 1) – fully integrated and engaged in all things internal communication and integrated systems. Role: Educator Fellow

Fellowship Reflections [pdf]

Blog Posts

Plank Center logo

Plank Center announces Class of 2014 Educators

The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations at The University of Alabama has announced the fifth class for its Fellowship Program for Public Relations Educators. Ten educators will be placed in the offices of sponsoring organizations for two to four weeks this summer. The 2014 fellows and their hosts are: Dr. Alisa Agozzino, Ohio […]

Harley Davidson

Heading to Milwaukee

July 21 through August 2 I will embark on a new professional adventure. This spring I was awarded a fellowship through The Plank Center at the University of Alabama to serve as an Educator Fellow in partnership with Harley Davidson Motor Company in Milwaukee, WI. I will work directly with Joanne Bishmann, VP Communications and […]

Harley Davidson logo

Day 1: Harley headquarters

What a joy it is to experience a ‘first day’ when HR paperwork, benefits orientation and IT stress calls aren’t part of it! First off I must note the stellar aesthetics, ambiance, energy and overall operational layout of their corporate offices. The building is the original manufacturing plant – 100+ years old with all the […]

Rebecca L. Cooney at Harley Davidson

Day 3: Post earnings day in corporate America

Today began with a Google Maps debacle. I have no idea how my husband and I got lost in this part of downtown Milwaukee with the sophistication of such technology but one missed turn and several “reroutings” later and I rushed in to my first staff meeting with the VP Communications leadership team. Let me […]

Harley Davidson

Day 4: Enjoying the ride

Today I was exposed to the most important aspect of Harley-Davidson… the ride. The ride is not just the bike or the route – it is about the people and the fire they carry – the community, the experience, the passion. The workday was full with a focus on media and influencer response to the […]

Harley Davidson

Day 5: One week comes to an end in the land of cheese.

My title is silly. I haven’t even really had much cheese here – cheese curds, yes – maybe some cheese on a salad or wrap – but honestly, cheese has not been a major focus during my time here. What has been my focus? Harley-Davidson and all things Harley-Davidson! I am feeling settled in here […]

Rebecca L. Cooney at Harley Davidson

Day 6: Integrated Systems

Today at Harley-Davidson was especially enlightening. I learned first-hand about integrated systems for internal communications – sitting in on a presentation by a consultant and getting a solid overview and run down on the direction H-D is taking with upgrades to their integrated systems of communications. Moving away from an archaic custom program for document […]

Harley Davidson

Day 7: Cross-team communications and media monitoring

Cross-team communications… Aside from learning more about integrated communication systems for internal communications efforts (+ Intranet, communication and file sharing) – I got a glimpse of how Harley-Davidson Motor Co. teams work across the aisle (so to speak) – sharing knowledge and announcements with individuals that have a dotted line connection to the business communications […]

Rebecca L. Cooney at Harley Davidson

Day 8: The Simulator, Cranky Al’s and huddles

My day began today with a ride on the simulator housed in the Harley-Davidson Motor Co. corporate office lobby area. It was quite the experience being at the helm of this massive machine and feeling the rush of being at the controls. After that rush of adrenaline, I wanted to show my thanks and appreciation […]

Harley Davidson Museum

Day 9: History, content and wisdom

My day ended today with a walk down Harley-Davidson’s memory lane – a slow walk through the Harley-Davidson Museum and a chance to see how it all began to where it is today, sample a few bikes (not in motion though!) and gain a much stronger perspective on the rich historical impact the organization has […]

Rebecca L. Cooney at Harley Davidson

Fellowship Day 10: Final wrap ups, last minute to do’s and bittersweet good-byes

Today is my last day at Harley-Davidson Motor Co. corporate headquarters in Milwaukee, WI. I arrived with little knowledge of the city and only a cursory overview of all things Harley-Davidson. Today I said my bittersweet good-byes, had my final meeting with the amazing and talented Joanne and even had an impromptu gab session with […]

Rebecca L. Cooney at Harley Davidson

I’m all in.

Today I completed a final report to celebrate the Plank Center Educator Fellowship experience. The report articulates What I hope to achieve and receive, What I experienced, Integration and application, and Areas of opportunity. In it are descriptions, graphs, visuals and notes outlining all that was learned, absorbed and re-purposed during my experience. Although the […]

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