PR alumni moves through global roles

By Cassandra Porter

From TGC to LinkedIn, Chris Porter (PR, 2006) is living proof of the opportunities afforded by a journalism and public relations degree.

“Your career path and what you do is never really linear,” Porter said. “Especially entering the world as communication professionals from the Chico program, you gotta go with the flow, and that’s what I did.”

During his time at Chico State, Porter held an account executive role and then was director of design and production in Tehama Group Communications, the University’s student-managed public relations agency. Porter began working in high-tech PR after graduation, but almost immediately realized it wasn’t for him. His position had crazy hours and very little potential for growth.

Shortly after, he was hired for an information technology job at Genentech, a company with a startup culture in the biotechnology field. Interestingly enough, they did not hire him for his technical ability; he was hired because of his communication skills. These skills allowed him to advance and lead interpersonal communication training within the company. He trained groups of 20–50 employees in topics like technical skills, human resources and career development.

Eventually he moved into in-house communications for one of Genentech’s larger global functions, product development.

“I was able to kind of tap my knowledge of the company and my communications background and turn it into this in-house, internal communications work,” he said.

Porter brought all this great experience to his most recent position at LinkedIn. He began working there in July 2016, and is charged with communications for all of the engineers and operations employees.

Chico State J&PR gave him incredible preparation for the job market after graduation, Porter said.

“What was expected of me during the J&PR program was the same level of expectation that I would get in the real world,” he said. “I felt like my expectations were pretty in line. I knew what hard work looked like.”

In addition to his bachelor’s degree at Chico State, Porter completed a certificate program at San Francisco State and also received his MBA at Saint Mary’s College of California.

“It was such a huge complement to all that I had learned at Chico because the curriculum wasn’t communications-based,” he said. “It was a very tactical, hands-on program that allowed me to not only learn, but also set up and operate business.” These skills were vital to Porter’s ability to move into the global role at Genentech. However, he now travels less with his position at LinkedIn.

“Believe it or not, there comes a point in your life where you actually don’t want to travel internationally,” he said. “I’ve got a little 8-month-old baby at home, and I’m not a big fan of leaving.”

An average day on the job for him now is full of variety. He could either work with executives on their communications across teams and organizations, or he might write content for the publications that LinkedIn use to connect and engage employees.

“I feel like I’m at the beginning of my career again here because it’s so different,” he said.

A career path full of variety is not uncommon for communications professionals. Porter continues to learn and grow every day at his latest position, he said. His undeniable adaptability has been an integral key to his success.