Alum Mike Scanlan reflects on his career prior to new JCU post

Megan Grantham, Campus Editor

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The Tim Russert Department of Communication and Theatre kicked off its spring semester with its Russert Speaker Series featuring Mike Scanlan, the new JCU executive director of strategic communications, on Thursday, Jan. 24.

Communication majors from all branches of the field made their way to Donohue Auditorium to see and hear Scanlan speak about his time at JCU and how it prepared him for life afterwards.

After graduating from John Carroll  in 2006 with a degree in communications, Scanlan worked in a variety of areas, building himself quite the impressive résumé and causing every communication major in the auditorium to listen to his helpful tips on how he achieved such success in the field.

Confidently taking the stage, Scanlan recounted his life at Carroll and post-graduate experiences.

Scanlan said he related to students in the room despite his seniority, noting “I’m 34 and a half now, but 13 years ago I was you. I was sitting in these same seats.”

He put students in the room at ease about their confusion on what to do with their degree, asserting that he himself was confused about life in college. He said he thought he had “a pretty good understanding of what I wanted, as best as you can have when you’re 21 and trying to have fun in college while trying to be serious too.”

“I had an absolute blast at John Carroll, I didn’t probably work as hard as I could have. Peggy [Finucane] may attest to that.”

He later noted comically that he “never used the library,” and advocated for current students not to follow his example. While at Carroll, he said of his activities, “I worked for The Carroll News, worked for Sports Info. I spent my Thursday nights at Coventry, but when it mattered, I worked really hard.”

Reflecting on how he went from a student to corporate communications professional near the beginning of his talk, he said, “When I was sitting here just like you, I certainly had no idea that at some point Peggy [Finucane] would read that intro and it would sound really important, because I was really just a guy like you. I just did some things the right way, I worked really hard, I got a little bit lucky, but more than anything I treated people with respect. And to be fair, I worked a lot harder than the people who were sitting next to me. That’s really the bottom line.”

After graduating in 2006, Scanlan worked as a media relations graduate assistant for his hometown sports team, the Buffalo Bills, “which was a dream for me.”

While he said he was nervous beginning his first professional job he noted that he “believed in myself and had confidence in myself.”

After a nearly a year working for the Bills, he moved to Daytona Beach, Florida to work in media communications at Ladies Professional Golf Association, a job that landed him briefly in Seoul, South Korea, to work at a media center there.

After seven years with the LPGA, marrying his wife Julie, who he met at John Carroll, and having his daughter Caroline, he moved back to Cleveland to be the vice president of corporate communications at IMG, a company that “represents athletes and they operate golf tournaments.”

After spending five years with IMG, he returned to his alma mater of JCU.

Offering some advice to students, he outlined the importance of confidence. “I walk into a room and I know I’m the guy. And that sounds cocky, but that’s not cocky, that’s confidence.”

Amid explaining various points in his career, he always circled back to three main things he believed helped him achieve success: work ethic, trusting his gut and building good relationships.

Scanlan said he looks forward to working for John Carroll University and building a wider media influence for the University.