BETHANY, W.Va. – An award-winning communications professional and Bethany College alumnus discussed the importance of internal communications and the need to adapt to changing trends during the Department of Communications and Media Arts annual Keresty Lecture.

Grant McLaughlin ’91, executive vice president of client services at HudsonLake, told several dozen students and faculty that a business must have a well-aligned culture and must keep employees informed.

“The idea is that you take care of the client,” McLaughlin said. “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.”

Too often, he said, employees find out news of the company after a press release is sent to the media.

“The importance of making your employees smarter is more important than the relationship you have with journalists. It is more impactful,” McLaughlin said.

He also discussed the importance of competing with an evolving digital presence that capitalizes on loyal customers.

“People don’t trust companies,” McLaughlin said. “They don’t trust corporations. They don’t trust CEOs. They do trust their peers. … They want to hear about their peers. They want to be able to hear about your interest stories and be able to do it actively.”

The Keresty Lecture is the signature event of the annual Communications and Media Arts Week.

More Communications and Media Arts Week photos

While McLaughlin outlined the highlights of his career and offered lessons he has learned along the way, he turned the lecture into a question-and-answer forum and addressed topics such as how to start a marketing firm, his favorite classes at Bethany, and his favorite part of his job.

Before joining HudsonLake, McLaughlin spent more than 20 years at Booz Allen Hamilton, a management and technology consulting firm. Starting in 2015, he led the firm’s efforts to reimage its cooperate communications strategies and to build a digital-first communications system to empower Booz Allen’s employees, drive overall user experiences, and promote a unified global brand.

McLaughlin is the founder and principal of the communications and engagement consultancy called Engaged Leadership.

The Keresty Lecture series was established in 2009 to honor the memory of John Gregory Keresty, a 1963 graduate of Bethany College and a business executive who loved the printed word. A bequest from his estate and additional gifts fund the lectures, which examine current topics, trends, and issues pertaining to the changing face of journalism.

In addition to the Keresty Lecture, Communications Week includes the unveiling of the latest class of the department’s Wall of Fame. McLaughlin joined Jennifer (Thomsen) Clark ’92, April Starinsky ’02, and Casey Swaney ’93 as the latest honorees.

Bethany College senior communications fellow Victoria Magnotti and junior fellow Drew VonScio organized the 60th annual Communications Week with Department Chair Pat Sutherland and members of the Bethany faculty.


Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.