Arcadia Helped Hewitt Pursue Career in PR, Writing

By Purnell T. Cropper | March 8, 2011

By Larry Atkins

As a Public Relations professional, Sandi Hewitt ’07 uses her writing and organizational skills to touch the lives of many people.

Hewitt works as a Social/Therapeutic Recreational Director and Event Planner for the Hollinger Group, which is located in Mechanicsburg, Pa. She develops programs, plans therapeutic sessions, does marketing and media relations, coordinates volunteers, writes company newsletters, and plans events such as art and fashion shows, a Philadelphia Eagles pep rally, and a Red Cross blood drive.

As an event planner, Hewitt has planned and organized several events involving the Philadelphia Eagles, Abington Memorial Hospital and the Alzheimer’s Association.

“Most of my patients love their Philly sports teams and would like to see them play,” Hewitt says. “With many medical challenges facing these seniors, it is difficult to attend games. I decided that if they can’t go to a game at least they should see the team practice, so we took a bus full of seniors to the Eagles practice. The best thing that happened was getting there late. I approached a player who was walking to his car and explained that I had a bus full of seniors that traveled almost two hours to see them. He came to the bus, met, took pictures with the seniors and signed autographs. When we got to the field, the PR people were great. They arranged for a shaded area for us to sit and wait for the afternoon practice. We exchanged business information. Some of the players signed autographs for us. Within two months, I received a call from the Eagles organization with an invitation to hold a Pep Rally at our facility. I worked closely with the organization in using their logo to publicize the event in the community newspapers and on TV. The Eagles Pep Band, cheerleaders, members of the Eagles PR department and former players attended. It was a great day.”

As for the best things about her public relations career, Hewitt says, “These seniors and their families I work with daily have made me a much better person. I give them credit for the wisdom and life lessons I’ve learned.”

Hewitt moved to the United States years ago from her native island, Trinidad and Tobago, with her family. She helped start a family construction firm, but she decided construction was not her dream and went back to school. She earned an associate’s degree from Manor College, earned a United States National Achievement Award, and then earned two scholarships from Arcadia, all while working a full-time job and raising a family. She graduated from Arcadia in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. She currently is earning a master’s in public health education.

As to how she managed to juggle going to college and raising children, Hewitt says, “My three boys were in school when I was a student at Arcadia. I was in my early 40s. Returning to school was special. It was also the first day of school for my last son, and my two older boys were in college. We compared notes. I was on two scholarships; therefore, I was full-time. I also worked part-time and my children, my siblings and parents pushed me along….It was very difficult to juggle everything, but the support of my family makes my life a lot easier. They knew and respected my dream.”

Although Hewitt’s job focuses on Public Relations writing, she also has engaged in other types of writing. She was a staff writer and Culinary Editor for the Arcadia Tower, and had articles published in Montgomery Newspapers’ Times Chronicle. She also owns a trademark for a community magazine that she would like to start in Cheltenham Township. In addition, she currently is consulting with some publishing companies on arranging her collection of poems into a book and writing her first novel for young readers. “Today, in addition to working and still raising my kids, I manage to maintain my love for writing,” Hewitt says. “I sit at a computer screen at 4 in the morning to work on my novel. But it’s fun work…the absolute best part of my day.”

Larry Atkins teaches journalism at Arcadia.