Business Wire’s 50th Anniversary College Contest Highlight: Jessica Funcannon or Lady Gaga?

August 25, 2011

Jessica Funcannon, a senior at Illinois State University studying Public Relations, is a living example of the future of communications.  How did she hear about Business Wire’s college contest?  By following and seeing a post on the contest by CEO of Lawrence Ragan Communications and one of the leading figures in the public relations industry Mark Ragan on Twitter (Thanks Mark Ragan!).   She is now one of the top ten finalists for Business Wire’s college video contest where the winner will meet Warren Buffett, chairman & CEO of Business Wire’s parent company, Berkshire Hathaway, at Business Wire’s NYSE Opening Bell luncheon on September 30th, 2011. Students answered the question “What is the future of public relations and communications?” See Jessica’ video by clicking here (5th one).

With a passion for public relations, Jessica is currently on her fourth internship and an active member is her school’s PRSSA organization.  Last year, as a member of PRSSA’s Bateman team, she helped design and implement a campaign in support of the 2010 census and received Illinois State University’s Civic Engagement Award.  She was also featured in her local newspaper The Pantagraph for the contest.

When asked why she would likes to meet Mr. Buffett, Jessica answered, “What really intrigues me is that it he is so diversified in his abilities. Not only can he run numbers and invest wisely, but he can write and communicate in such a way that few people can. I would love to be able to have the opportunity to meet such an inspiring and clever man.”

Beyond being a self proclaimed “social media nerd”, Jessica loves anything creative or adventurous – sewing, fashion, photography, writing, motorcycle riding, and dressing up like Lady Gaga? Indeed. With her admitted similarities to the musical icon, Jessica became Lady Gaga for the day on the streets of Chicago, stopping traffic on Michigan Avenue.  View the video here, created by Jessica’ s friend Sean Hagwell.

Show your support to all the top video finalists on our Facebook page and let our executive judging committee including Business Wire’s chairman and CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz and President Gregg Castano your favorites by commenting and “liking” them. You can also show your support on Twitter using hashtag #BWJESSICA.


Business Wire’s 50th Anniversary College Contest Highlight: Zixiang “Max”Chen

August 24, 2011

Zixiang Chen or “Max” as his friends call him is one of the top ten finalists for Business Wire’s college video contest with the winner to receive a trip to New York city to meet Warren Buffett, chairman & CEO of Business Wire’s parent company, Berkshire Hathaway, at Business Wire’s NYSE Opening Bell luncheon on September 30th, 2011. Students were asked to answer the question “What is the future of public relations and communications?”  Max is a sophomore at The George Washington University studying Business Administration.  View his colorful video by clicking below (10th video).


Max has studied both in America and China… and Greensburg, Kansas?  Yes, it’s true.  While other college kids were sunbathing on the beach, Max Chen spent his spring break learning about Greensburg, a town that was completely wiped out by a tornado in 2007 and rebuilt to become one of the greenest towns in America. Max taught himself how to film, interview and edit footage he took of the town and created a mini documentary that was featured on PBS Nightly Business Report this past June with the help from Planet Forward where he currently is an Online Communications Intern.

When asked why Max wanted to meet Mr. Buffett, it was no surprise his desire stemmed from a shared philanthropic outlook, “Despite his wealth, Mr. Buffett is someone whose motivations do not derive solely from monetary profit. His generous dedication to philanthropy and his vision of the future combine to illustrate the importance of positive change in the world. In the future, will everyone conduct business with this lens?”

It’s hard to say what the future will hold, but one thing is certain – Max Chen’s entrepreneurial dreams will surely lead him to a business that is both profitable and socially aware as he believes this is the best way for a company to sustain itself internally to better the world externally. His philosophy on life is “If you don’t have anything good to do, don’t do anything at all”.

When Max isn’t coming up with new ways to save the world, you can find him in his favorite place – the back of the Lincoln Memorial where he watches the sun set across the Potomac River.  You may even catch him reading his favorite book series Curious George because it reminds him that the key to learning is curiosity and open-mindedness.

Show your support to all the top video finalists on our Facebook page and let our executive judging committee including Business Wire’s chairman and CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz and President Gregg Castano your favorites by commenting and “liking” them. You can also show your support on Twitter using hashtag #BWZIXIANG.


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