Alumni Spotlight: Brady Ruffin (’20)

Brady Ruffin, a 2020 graduate of the Clinton School of Public Service, currently works as a public relations, media, and strategic communications consultant for social impact and clean energy clients.

Ruffin, who was recently named to a list of Nashville’s 30 Under 30, most recently led media relations and community affairs at Bantam Communications, a public affairs firm working with utility-scale wind, solar, and battery-storage projects across the United States.

His previous work includes time as a Program Manager for Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, and as Director of Research and Policy for Cooley Public Strategies.

Currently residing in Nashville, Ruffin serves on the Nashville Pride Board of Directors, is a member of the Nashville Young Leaders Council, and previously served as Chair of the Clinton School Alumni Advisory Board.

As a Clinton School student, Ruffin was selected as a McLarty Scholar and completed a fellowship with Vital Voices Global Partnership (VVGP) in Washington, D.C., conducting research and an evaluation of the interaction, strength and effectiveness of the VVGP global network of women leaders. He also worked with Every Child Is Ours (ECIO) in Tuckerman, AR, as well as the Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE) during his time at the Clinton School.

Originally from Clinton, Miss., Ruffin earned a degree in integrated marketing communications from the University of Mississippi and was a Innovation Scholar with the Grisham-McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement.

What do you most enjoy about your current consulting work?

What I most enjoy about my current consulting work in public relations, media, and strategic communications is the opportunity to use storytelling as a means to make a positive impact. Working with clients in the social impact and clean energy industries allows me to craft narratives that not only promote their missions but also drive tangible progress and push for social equity.

My time at the Clinton School was instrumental in helping me understand the power of storytelling. There, I learned how compelling narratives can influence change and foster a sense of community and shared purpose.

Moreover, I love the relationship-building aspect of my work. Serving as a bridge between organizations and their communities is incredibly fulfilling. I get to connect with diverse stakeholders, understand their perspectives, and create strategies that align with their values and goals. This role allows me to facilitate meaningful dialogue and collaboration, ultimately helping to advance causes that are important to me and to society as a whole.

What does public service mean to you?

To me, public service is a multifaceted practice that demands attentively listening to the needs and aspirations of a community and diligently working to meet those needs. It requires a steadfast commitment to listening more than speaking, continually learning, and setting aside biases and preconceived notions. Public service is fundamentally about strengthening communities and empowering individuals by amplifying impactful voices and developing sustainable, long-term programs and projects that are equitable and transformative for those who need them most.

At its core, public service is about creating an environment where every community member feels heard and valued. It is a dedication not only to addressing immediate needs but also to building an infrastructure for enduring positive change.

What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?

If you spend any small amount of time with me, this will come as no surprise. But I would say that most people aren’t aware that I am a Beyonce super fan–and have been my entire life! I can pretty much divide my life through Beyonce albums. Not only is she an incredibly talented entertainer, performer, entrepreneur, and producer, but her steadfast commitment to constantly improving and reinventing the wheel is such an inspiration to me in both my personal and professional life.

What was your favorite class in your time as a Clinton School student?

It’s really going to be hard to choose just one, so I would have to say my two favorite classes at the Clinton School where Dr. Roberts’ Communication and Social (Ex)Change course and Dean Rutherford’s 2018 Midterm Madness elective. Both taught me invaluable lessons and practices that I still utilize in my work today.

What skills did you learn at the Clinton School that you still put to use in your job or life today?

I truly think that each one of the classes that I took at the Clinton School equipped me with a refined set of skills that are pertinent in any realm of work. However, I frequently reference the theories of democracy, civic participation, and public issue and policy formation that I learned in the Communication and Social(Ex)Change course. A majority of my work involves working with multiple stakeholders that sometimes have competing goals. That course helped me develop a foundation to understand the complexities of creating and maintaining positive relationships.



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