Nicholson Alumna Jennifer Fickley-Baker ‘04 M.A., ‘12 Ph.D.: Communicating for Global Brands and Giving Back  

Author: Morgan Lemmen 

Nicholson School of Communication and Media Alumna Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Ph.D., has built a successful career working for global brands—and passing her knowledge on to the next generation. 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker headshot

Throughout her career of more than two decades, Fickley-Baker has perfected the art of bringing big brands to life and immersing people in those stories. She has experienced firsthand the rise of the internet and social media and has played a large role in helping global brands take advantage of these evolving mediums. 

She currently works for Hilton as the director of Global Editorial Content where she oversees all press materials before media distribution and the Stories from Hilton media site. She also gives back to the next generation of communications professionals by teaching social media and communications at Valencia College.  

Forging a Path in Digital Communications 

Fickley-Baker fell in love with writing while earning her B.A. in English at the University of Pittsburgh. She discovered a passion for news writing and journalism specifically when she picked up a job as a Local Stringer for MTV.    

Fickley-Baker moved to Florida after graduating college and began a career at Disney that lasted almost two decades. She worked in internal communications there for almost ten years before transitioning to social media and public relations. “Disney was just starting to get into online news. And because I was among the first in my generation to have experience writing online, they welcomed me on as a great fit,” Fickley-Baker shared. She played an instrumental role in launching Disney’s Instagram and YouTube accounts and oversaw content on the Disney Parks Blog. 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker standing beside Disney characters

Years later, it was the same person who hired her to run Disney’s social media accounts that welcomed her to Hilton. One of her highlights so far is spearheading a site redesign for the Stories from Hilton media site to make it more engaging, interactive and fresh.  

Strengthening Her Skillset at UCF 

Working in communications requires continual learning to stay relevant and up to date on new technology and communications mediums, Fickley-Baker said.  

“Getting a graduate degree shows that you’re making an investment in yourself and in your field,” shared Fickley-Baker.  

She earned her M.A. in Mass Communications from the Nicholson School of Communication and Media in 2004 and her Ph.D. in Text and Technology from the College of Arts and Humanities in 2012. She was drawn to UCF because of the course options and flexibility UCF provides. One of her favorite professors at UCF was Professor Melody Bowden, Ph.D. “I really liked her because she represented a young female who made her career and education a priority in her life and succeeded in becoming a professor,” Fickley-Baker remarked.  

Fickley-Baker’s most memorable Nicholson class was an advertising class that later inspired her dissertation on the rhetoric used in pharmaceutical advertising for women’s medications. Classes like this directly translated into her career by equipping her with the skills to tell the stories of global brands. 

She shared that one of the most valuable aspects of graduate school is networking with classmates. Her advice to students is to take advantage of these opportunities which could even lead to a job in the future.  

Giving Back 

In addition to overseeing all global press materials for Hilton, she also teaches at Valencia College.  

“I’ve been really blessed to work for MTV, Disney, Hilton and all of these great, big brands. I feel like it’s my responsibility to pass on that knowledge to the next generation because it’s hard to have a career in writing, communications or journalism. I have to pass that knowledge on to the next generation,” she said. And pass on that knowledge she continues to do.  

Learn more about the Communication M.A. here. 

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