Kristie Aylett, a Fellow of the Public Relations Society of America, has taught public relations courses for SoPA since 2006. When she’s not teaching in the classroom or online, she provides strategic counsel and senior-level expertise to clients across the U.S through her consulting firm, The KARD Group Public Relations/Marketing.
An accredited public relations practitioner, Aylett has been elected to leadership positions with local, state, regional and national communications organizations, including president of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi and the four-state Southern Public Relations Federation. In recognition of her contributions to the profession, the Public Relations Society of America inducted her into its College of Fellows, an honorary organization of approximately 300 industry leaders. She is a member of the Universal Accreditation Board, a governing body with representatives from nine PR organizations charged with oversight of the APR, APR+M and other PR credentials.
The Fort Worth Business Press selected her as a member of its inaugural class of “40 under 40” community leaders in 2002, and the Mississippi Business Journal named her one of the “50 Leading Business Women in Mississippi” in 2014.
Aylett earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.
What's the first career you dreamed of having as a child?
I was always attracted to the communications profession and wanted to be a storyteller in some way. In elementary school, I wrote poems and short stories. In middle school, I helped start a campus newspaper. I served as editor of my high school newspaper and started preparing for a career in broadcast journalism. I envisioned reporting from the front lines and breaking news with my insightful interviews with world leaders. An internship led me to public relations instead of a career in journalism. Today, I'm still a storyteller at heart, as I help organizations craft their message and share their news with the media and other audiences, such as donors and members.
What is your favorite thing about SoPA?
Every student I've met at SoPA is here because of a personal desire to learn and improve their lives. No one is forcing them to spend nights and weekends in the classroom or doing homework. I respect that passion and drive. It's a privilege to be part of my students' journey toward a better future.
What advice would you give to someone who's considering finishing their degree, or starting for the first time as an adult?
My mother started college when I was in high school, and we did our algebra homework side by side at the kitchen table. I was so proud of her, and she set a great example for me - to work hard, follow my dreams and resist the temptation to quit when times get tough. I see that same drive in my SoPA students.
If you want a college degree, it's never too late to get started. It's not easy, but you are not alone on your journey. The faculty and staff at SoPA are committed to the success of each student, and your fellow classmates are working toward similar goals of their own. Let's Do This!