San Diego State University College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts

JMS Alumni Celebrate 30 Years of Partnership by Forging New Paths for Students

Alumni Scott Allison and Scott Pansky continue to leverage their industry knowledge for the betterment of the next generation of JMS graduates

JMS Alumni Celebrate 30 Years of Partnership by Forging New Paths for Students

by Baylee Akins and Taylor Harris

May 20, 2022

Alumni Scott Allison and Scott Pansky embody the phrase “Aztec for Life.” The two, who graduated in 1986 and 1991 respectively, have shared many titles: students, alumni, colleagues and co-founders. But the most important title shared between the two is friends; a friendship that transcends decades of expansion and innovation in the field of public relations. With no intention of slowing down, their growth has brought them full-circle to where it all began, allowing them to give to current students the necessary tools that once helped them launch their careers.  

Building Relationships Through JMS Beyond the Mesa

Their introduction to each other would come after Pansky’s graduation, their alumni status catching the attention of the other. Allison interviewed Pansky for a job, marking the beginning of what would become a decades-long friendship. The two stuck together through positions at the Gable Group and Connors Communications, and continued to grow alongside one another until their formation of Allison+Partners, a global public relations agency driven by innovation and creativity. Their goal was to create an environment with the values they believed led to success at the C-suite level while also empowering its employees. Financial success wasn’t immediate, but founding partners Allison, Pansky and Andy Hardie-Brown remained dedicated to their promise and absorbed the impact in order to continue building the company they believed in. 

“It was about believing in our people and creating a company with a culture that would surpass us and would bring in great people,” says Pansky. 

It is with great pride that Allison+Partners celebrated their 20-year anniversary in 2021; and as Allison and Pansky celebrate their 30-year work anniversary with each other this month, May 2022, they can’t help but reflect on their journey and what their shared foundation, beginning with the School of Journalism and Media Studies (JMS), provided them. 

Continuing the Cycle of Mentorship

Allison and Pansky know firsthand the value of mentorship from JMS as both received invaluable professional advice from Dr. Glen Broom, who taught at San Diego State University (SDSU) for more than 30 years. They also both credit Dr. Broom for being the reason the two met in the first place, with Pansky saying that he wouldn’t have applied for the job that connected the two of them if Dr. Broom hadn’t urged him to do so. 


“It’s often who you know, right?” says Allison. “[Dr. Broom] was great at connecting fellow alumni and would always go out of his way to let us know when there were really promising graduates coming through.”


"We're a continuation of the mentorship values that Dr. Broom instilled in us, and it's fulfilling to see the impact it has on these students firsthand,” Pansky says. “Part of our legacy at SDSU is providing some of these opportunities that we had to fight for 30 years ago. JMS is what we have in common and we're proud of that."


It’s this mindset that has prompted both Allison and Pansky to devote time and financial resources to the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations (Broom Center), named in honor of Dr. Broom. Whether it’s creating internships, funding professional growth, or simply making themselves available as a resource, Allison and Pansky are committed to providing similar career-sparking opportunities for current students that JMS had afforded them. 

The hands-on nature of the JMS program empowers students to have confidence in their abilities, while also building their resumes with experience they can leverage after graduation. Knowing how impactful those hands-on experiences were to his growth, Pansky has spent more than 10 years working to create similar programs for JMS students, and hiring countless students both as interns and then for positions at all levels within the company.


“It is not always about getting a job,” says Pansky. “It is also about getting those experiences and making connections.”


In collaboration with JMS and the Broom Center, Pansky helped launch the Pansky PR Professionals Tour series where students get to travel to big brands such as Disney, Google, Netflix and Taco Bell. Due to travel constraints, the inaugural 2020 tour partnered with PRSSA National and was converted to a webinar series. The series goal remained the same: to serve as a catalyst for students to seek new mentors, do informational interviews, learn more about the public relations industry as a whole, and network with professionals they may otherwise not have crossed paths with. 


Allison+Partner’s support for JMS continues beyond physical opportunities, positioning themselves as advisors for not only students, but the School as a whole to continue to grow its programs. 


“I have found a true partner in both Scotts,” says Dr. Temple Northup, director of JMS. “In fact, as we prepare to launch our next series of strategic initiatives, they have been instrumental at every step of the way in preparing the School for growth and new opportunities.”


As the next generation of storytellers graduate into the professional world, Allison and Pansky have advice on how to succeed and what they would like to see in students who are entering the profession. 

“I’d love to see people that are inquisitive and want to think out of the box, which are both qualities that [Pansky] had when I interviewed him 30 years ago,” Allison remarks. He also emphasized the importance of thinking differently, the power of an entrepreneurial spirit, being curious, and getting involved with your community. 


Pansky highlighted the importance of building and creating relationships with companies and mentors, and leveraging those relationships to bring your own perspectives and experiences to the table. 


Expansion on the Mind

Allison+Partners doesn’t plan to slow down anytime soon. In their early years, the company focused on building a foundation here in the U.S., then shifted their focus to expanding offices globally in Asia and Europe. Now, the company plans on continuing to partner with big brands and synchronizing and streamlining their offices around the world. 

“We think that we will see seismic growth over the next 10 years and really challenge some of the biggest firms in the world today, and a lot of it is because we are going to continue looking for smart, talented people with real diverse backgrounds,” says Allison. “I don’t think we are anywhere near our peak yet; I think we are continuing to thrive.” 

There is no doubt that relationship building played a pivotal role in Allison and Pansky’s successes, both as young JMS graduates and seasoned public relations professionals. Allison and Pansky encourage JMS students to seize similar opportunities to stay in touch with alumni because you never know who you’ll cross paths with and how that relationship may forge your career. Both Allison and Pansky can be found on LinkedIn, and encourage you to take the necessary steps to continue your journey beyond JMS.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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