Tonya Oaks Smith has always been an advocate for education in general and specifically higher education.
“If I could stay in school and do nothing else, I would,” Smith said. “That’s why I work in higher education –proximity to opportunities to learn continuously.”
After graduating from the UA-Little Rock with her master’s degree in Applied Communication, Smith served the Bowen School of Law and Henderson State University in Arkadelphia. She then had the opportunity to return to her home state as Executive Director of University Communications and Marketing at Louisiana Tech. There, she leads a team that shepherds the university’s marketing and brand through its website, social media and general public relations work.
But Smith wasn’t always involved in communications.
Starting out in her college career, Tonya majored in zoology with plans to become a doctor. She soon realized her passion for journalism and changed her major to English.
“I always thought that words were powerful things and had the ability to change people’s minds,” she said. While working at UA-Little Rock in the Office of Communications, Smith realized she needed to improve her public speaking skills in order to progress in her career.
This led her to Applied Communication, and she hasn’t looked back since.
When asked why she chose her topic for her Leadership Lecture, “First, Do No Harm: Why Maintaining Integrity in Public Communication is More Important Than Ever,” Smith explained how integrity is vital to communication.
“If we are not ethical in our communication, it can cause harm,” she said. She is excited to give this lecture because helping others become better and more ethical communicators is important to her.
Come check out Tonya’s lecture at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 9 at the UA Little Rock Downtown Center, at 333 President Clinton Avenue in Little Rock.
To reserve a spot for the lecture, go to the website link here.