Amid the Pandemic, COM Alum Lauren Gruber Thrives in Crisis Communications

Lauren Gruber is no stranger to dealing with crises. She graduated from BU COM in 2020, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the tough job market, she managed to land a job in crisis communications at Ketchum in their Issues and Crisis Department.

Now, as of February 2022, she is an Account Executive on the Public Affairs and Crisis team with BCW Global. She has worked at two of the Top 10 PR agencies in 2021, according to Provoke Media.

Photo courtesy of Lauren Gruber

Gruber talked about how she is able to succeed in the field of crisis communications.

“I like to thrive under pressure,” Gruber said. “Being in a job that allows me to do that and puts me in those situations, I find it exhilarating and quite exciting.”

Gruber mentioned how her background as a college athlete made her used to the high-pressure environments created in crises. She was a part of BU’s D1 Cross Country and Track and Field team.

According to a report from Penn State University, crisis communications deals with quickly crafting mediated messages to address different types of audiences and stakeholders during times of pressure.

At her current job at BCW, Gruber described how working in crisis is not a typical 9-5 job. 

“You always have to be ready to get that email [from a client] of ‘this is what’s going on, this is what’s happening,’” Gruber said.

Gruber said she typically gets emails from clients outside of 9-5 hours, with one instance being 10:15 pm. She loves “the rush” of springing into action and solving problems.

Gruber was one of the college students who graduated in 2020 and dealt with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. She described the emotions she felt during her job search.

“There was just a lot of anxiety,” Gruber said. 

Gruber also said the confusion of being in an ‘unprecedented time’ left a lot in the air.

During her time at BU, Gruber was involved in several on-campus activities. Aside from her involvement with COM, where she was a TA for a crisis communications course, Gruber found a home at BU Hillel that helped her connect with the university’s Jewish community. 

“I was really able to formulate my Jewish experience and who I am in the Jewish community,” Gruber said.

Gruber was an intern for BU Hillel, both as an Engagement Intern and a Communications Intern. In engagement, Gruber connected with Jewish students on campus and learned more about their backgrounds. In communications, Gruber managed a group of graphic designers in creating flyers and social content. 

Gruber maintains a group of mentors from her experience at Hillel, and the center “holds a special place” in her heart.

Gruber advises students interested in the PR and crisis communications space to take advantage of connecting with professors at BU. She brought up that Professor Krishna assisted Gruber with her application to Ketchum.

“They’ve been in the industry,” Gruber said. “They’re there to help you.”

Gruber also mentioned PRLab, Boston University’s student-run public relations agency. Gruber was a part of the PRLab in her time at BU, and she said it provides a great opportunity to take what you’ve learned in class and obtain invaluable exposure to how an agency operates.

“At the end of the day, agency life is very different from just writing a paper and sending it off and getting it graded,” she says.

Gruber will be part of a COM Talk panel on April 13th. You can view more information here.

Nick Telesmanic, Staff Writer

Raised in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, Nick Telesmanic is a senior in COM majoring in advertising and minoring in journalism. Nick found his passion for storytelling through watching his favorite sports teams — the Mets, Jets, Knicks, and Rangers — and imitating the broadcasters on television. Nick has previous bylines in The Boston Globe, The Bernardsville News, BU News Service, and The Daily Free Press. Nick hopes to take his experience talking to people through journalism, and utilize it in a consumer insights role at an advertising or public relations agency. In his spare time, Nick enjoys exercising, going to the beach, or working towards his objective of eating at every restaurant in Boston’s North End.

Nishtha Jadav, Senior Editor

Nishtha is a first-year advertising graduate student at Boston University’s College of Communication. She has a bachelor’s in Business and has previously worked in public relations, social media, and content writing. Passionate about storytelling, Nishtha loves metaphors and poetry. When she is not working, she is probably maxing out her pinning time for the day on Pinterest or journaling in her diary.

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