At the Buffalo History Museum, Cheyenne Ketter-Franklin, BS ’17, MBA ’18, led all aspects of the organization’s communications and marketing, including social media, event promotion, email marketing and writing.
She says the breadth of responsibility she had there was one of the major advantages of working for a nonprofit organization, and it allowed her to find her true career passion — public relations.
“I think every MBA student should work at a nonprofit for at least a year. It’s a very enriching experience,” says Ketter-Franklin. “I got to try everything at the museum, and one of the things that really solidified my interest in PR was our Chronicling COVID-19 project.”
Ketter-Franklin developed the Chronicling COVID-19 idea during quarantine and the entire organization embraced it. Through the project, the Buffalo History Museum invited the community to complete digital surveys and submit postcards, photos and journals that documented how the virus changed their daily lives as a way to provide valuable insight for future generations.
“We weren’t sure how people were going to feel about this, but we issued a news release, and I ended up doing seven or eight media interviews,” she says. “There was a lot of interest because it was a positive story during this difficult experience no one could escape.”
Ketter-Franklin has taken that passion for connecting people through storytelling to the national civil litigation law firm Goldberg Segalla, where she now serves as senior public relations coordinator. Managing PR there is a big task, as the firm has over 400 lawyers in more than 20 offices across 10 states.
She says that while the business-to-business communications she’s doing at Goldberg Segalla differs in timing and audience, the base skill set is the same.
“Regardless of the publication you’re pitching a story to, there’s a person on the other end and they have a beat they cover, and you just have to adjust to the different audiences,” she says. “I learned so many useful, transferable skills at UB that it was easy to take it in stride. It made the transition to working in a completely different environment a lot easier.”
Ketter-Franklin’s drive and determination doesn’t stop at her career — she’s also passionate about historic preservation, sustainability, arts and culture institutions, and empowering others through diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion.
She also serves as a board member for The Tool Library, a nonprofit that lends tools to community members to help them maintain their homes in Western New York.
“I was born and raised with the understanding of race and societal inequities, and the fact that we have an obligation to right the wrongs for people today while making things better for the next generation,” she says.
As the world slowly emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Ketter-Franklin has been able to return to one of her off-hour passions, going to the movies. She particularly enjoys seeing a variety of films at the North Park Theatre in Buffalo because of its historical ties. She also enjoys video gaming, reading and local travel.
Ketter-Franklin encourages those still earning their degree from the School of Management to use the skills they’re building to support the community.
“Everyone can do something,” she says. “There’s always somewhere you can contribute, and if you’re someone who was fortunate enough to go through higher education and be in a time and space where you have the time to even consider volunteering, you should do it.”
Written by Kevin Manne