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Wattpad executive to present prestigious Aspire Award to ASU Cronkite student

Ashleigh Gardner, Wattpad

Ashleigh Gardner, Wattpad’s head of writer and publisher partnerships, is the featured speaker at the Cronkite School's annual Public Relations Lab Mentorship Lecture. She will present the Aspire Award to ASU student Morgan Rath.

March 17, 2016

The head of content at Wattpad, an innovative storytelling app creating new paths at the intersection of literature and technology, is the featured speaker of the annual Public Relations Lab Mentorship Lecture at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Ashleigh Gardner, Wattpad’s head of writer and publisher partnerships, will discuss the power of mentorship and present Cronkite senior Morgan Rath with the 2016 Aspire Award at 7 p.m. Monday, March 21, in the Cronkite School’s First Amendment Forum.

Established in honor of Enid R. Pansky by Scott Pansky, co-founder of the global public relations firm Allison+Partners, the PR Lab Mentorship Lecture and Aspire Award brings a nationally recognized communications thought leader to the Cronkite School to meet and mentor a senior-level PR student.  

“Morgan is a shining example of a student that has a vision for where digital communications is heading,” said Pansky. “My family and I are honored that ASU recognized how my mother motivated and mentored thousands of people in her career. This program embraces her heart and spirit, providing mentoring opportunities with public relations and marketing luminaries.”

Prior to the Mentorship Lecture, Rath will spend the day with Gardner, discussing career goals and her experiences at the Cronkite School as well as reviewing her portfolio. Gardner also will tour the campus.

“A lifetime lover of reading, I was ecstatic to hear that Ashleigh Gardner was selected to be my mentor,” Rath said. “As the head of content for a company on the forefront of digital publishing, Ashleigh is sure to have very interesting insights into the future of the industry. I am forever grateful to Scott Pansky and everyone at the Cronkite School for providing me with this phenomenal opportunity.”

Rath is working in the Cronkite School’s PR Lab, an immersive learning environment in which students plan and execute professional marketing and communication campaigns for clients that range from Fortune 500 companies to nonprofits. Students work under the guidance of Cronkite Associate Professor Fran Matera, the founding director of the PR Lab.

“The Lab’s innovative approach coupled with Scott’s support helps our students move further along their career path,” Matera said.

At Wattpad, Gardner works with publishers and writers to seize new engagement opportunities with the growing app and online platform. With 40 million users, Wattpad helps people around the globe discover new stories to read and offers writers the opportunity to share their work.

Previous PR Lab Mentorship Lectures have featured John J. Nicoletti, vice president for internal communications at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts; Gail Adams-Jackson, director of communications for the International Association of Geophysical Contractors; and Glen Broom, professor emeritus at San Diego State University. 

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