From News to Healthcare, UCF Alumna Shines

Jennifer McVan[4x6]

From her broadcasting to public relations career, Jennifer McVan, ’99, believes UCF and the Nicholson School of Communication have played a huge role in her success. McVan graduated with her bachelor’s degree in radio-television from UCF and today is the Director of Media Relations for Florida Hospital West Florida Region.

McVan manages the day to day media relations, internal and crisis communications for nine hospitals as well as plans events, campaigns and press conferences. In 2015, she produced more than $12 million dollars in positive earned media coverage for the Florida Hospital West Florida Region.

The five-time Emmy Award winning journalist began her broadcasting career in Orlando at WESH-TV, NBC News Channel 2, and then went on to work as an Executive Producer managing the morning news team at WFTS-TV ABC Action News in Tampa, Florida.

McVan worked as a journalist for more than 17 years and is nationally recognized for her efforts as the Executive Producer of the annual Taking Action Against Domestic Violence campaign and one hour primetime special. She has also field produced for ESPN-TV and worked as a Syndication Analyst at Nielsen Media Research.

In 2012, McVan accepted the challenge of transitioning to the healthcare industry after a long and successful career in the news industry. McVan explained that she was inspired to enter the healthcare industry by the amazing doctors and nurses who cared for her parents while they struggled with their health.

McVan spent almost two years at Florida Hospital Tampa and then was promoted to Director of Media Relations of the West Florida Region in May of 2014.

“It’s been such an amazing journey transitioning from Broadcast News to Healthcare,” explained McVan. “I’m so proud to work with such an awesome team at Florida Hospital and look forward to going to work every day to try to make a positive difference in someone’s life.”

McVan shared more on her career, her UCF experience, and advice in the spotlight responses below.

Why did you choose to attend UCF?

Jennifer (King) McVan and sister Lauren King celebrate graduation day at UCF in December of 1999.

Jennifer (King) McVan and sister Lauren King celebrate graduation day at UCF in December of 1999.

I decided to attend UCF, for a number of reasons. Mostly, I was excited about the communications programs UCF offered. I also researched the news market size in Orlando and thought it would be a great launching pad for a career in broadcast news.


How has your UCF degree helped you in your career?

I believe my UCF degree has helped tremendously in my career. Early on, during interviews that was one of the first questions… where did you graduate from? How can you translate what you’ve learned in college to the “real world?” Still to this day, I come face to face with so many UCF proud alumni working here in Tampa Bay.


What is your best UCF memory?

My best UCF memory would have to be the day I graduated, December 18, 1999. It was also my mom’s birthday and a very special day for me. I was so very happy to celebrate and walk across that stage and squeeze diploma in hand. I also have many fond memories of having lunch or studying on the grass by the UCF reflection pond.


What is your favorite thing about your job?

My favorite thing about my job is the mission. Our Florida Hospital mission is to “Extend the Healing Ministry of Christ.” It’s the core of all that we do to serve our patients and the community. Even though my role does not always include direct day-to -day access with patients, I actually get the opportunity to meet many of our patients and share their amazing life-saving stories with the media. Part of my role is to find those new procedures or first time clinical trial stories that make a difference, save lives and ultimately help others watching at home. I also have the opportunity to work with so many amazing journalists both in Tampa Bay and the Orlando area.


What is your most memorable experience on the job?

I have so many, but my top two would be working together with our Florida Hospital Orlando colleagues to launch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers partnership. Florida Hospital is the Exclusive Hospital of the Bucs. It was a true team effort and we learned a lot from the experience.  We had an extremely successful press conference at our Florida Hospital Tampa location back in September of 2013.

My second most memorable experience is when we launched a LIVE surgery program with our partners at MOSI. It was truly innovative and we worked very hard from the operations side to media. It was exciting to be on the ground floor, or presenting this for the first time ever!


What piece of advice would you give to current students as well as UCF alumni?

I would say: Go for it! If you want something, go get it! Everything I’ve accomplished in my life, I’ve had to work very hard for. I’ve had to put in the hours, making sacrifices — this is what it takes.

I also believe it’s important to strive to become a strong leader, no matter what your title is… even when you are just starting out in your career. Be kind, work hard and help each other out! I tell my kids all the time “Team work makes the dream work!”


McVan answered some more spotlight questions in our 30-second lightning round of the interview.


Do you have any hidden talents?

I was a competitive Ice-Skater growing up and enjoy playing all sports including basketball and volleyball.


What do you do for fun?

My husband and I spend a lot of quality time with our kids. Those are the best times, just being together. Whether we are at the park or at Disney or heading to the beaches!


What is your favorite Holiday and why?

My favorite holiday would have to be Christmas. It is such a special time of the year.

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