February 2024, Previous Issues

Nationwide event makes a stop at Saint Augustine’s University

On Thursday, Feb. 22, Saint Augustine’s University held a “Fireside Chat,” an event designed to boost student interest in advertising, marketing and communications. The event was sponsored by the LAGRANT Foundation, a Los Angeles-based group that aims to attract more minorities to those fields.

The event featured Miles Beasley, a senior media and communications major, interviewing Torod Neptune, senior vice president and CCO of Medtronic, a successful medical device company. Neptune, one of the most prominent communications executives in the country, talked about his career, motivation and goals.

Neptune serves on the board of directors for LAGRANT and is also a member of the Board of Advisers for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media. He is also a member of the Board of Visitors for the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism. He has worked for reputable companies like Verizon, Bank of America and even the U.S House of Representatives.

The event started with Neptune answering questions about his journey and what it has taken to reach the level of success he has. At one point, Beasley asked about the source of inspiration for his interest in helping other people’s lives through the world of medical technology. Neptune had listed a lot of reasons and different inspirations throughout his life, but he mentioned that the core of his inspiration to help people stemmed from his early childhood. He spoke about how much of a role model and influence his mother was, as they used to go door-to-door, campaigning and promoting social change as a young child.

Neptune also spoke about how important it was for him to use his status and platform to open other opportunities for people of color. He emphasized that while the financial success was an amazing benefit for him, it would always take a back seat to him facilitating change and open new doors for people of color in his field. After a very informative discussion, the floor then opened for questions from the audience, where Neptune then gave a lot of great advice and tips on how he found his own navigated his way to success throughout his career.

The Fireside Chat started with a reception featuring  a full spread of food catered by Olive Garden and paid for by LAGRANT. The organization’s CEO Kim Hunter attended the event from Los Angeles.

The event was set up by Arts & Communications Department Chair Kaye Evans and Media & Communications Program Coordinator Dan Holly.

— Evan Ishmael