Denishia Sword: Comm Alumna and Bureau Chief at Florida Department of Financial Services

Denishia Sword graduated with her bachelor’s in Communication in 2007 then went on to receive her master’s in Integrated Marketing Management and Communication in 2008. She is now the Chief of Education, Advocacy and Research at the Florida Department of Financial Services.

Since receiving her degrees, Sword has immersed herself in public service and community efforts in order to enhance the lives of the people of Tallahassee, Florida. She is a co-founder of Pro-Tique, a professional clothing giveaway, as well as a current member of the Board of Directors for America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend┬áin Tallahassee. Sword has received several awards for communication and marketing initiatives including the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC) Award for Excellence in Public Health Communication. She has also been the recipient of multiple Prudential Productivity Awards for projects that increase efficiency and conserve state spending.

In her role as Chief, Sword oversees four units with responsibilities including directly educating, informing, and empowering consumers about finances and insurance. “My day-to-day changes every day; there is no typical day,” she explains. “That’s something I love about my position.”

While the specific career path wasn’t always clear, Sword knew she would end up working in the communications field. Through her classes at FSU, she learned how to be an effective public speaker, instructor, and trainer. She credits one professor in particular in assisting with her academic success. “Mark Zeigler had a lasting impact on me. He continuously encouraged and motivated me. He helped me to improve my writing and public speaking skills. He believed in me when I doubted myself.”

Sword encourages students who are figuring out what they want in their professional careers to do their own research and experience as much as they can. “Research careers, shadow, intern, and speak with people in a variety of fields,” Sword advises. “Take advantage of out-of-the-box opportunities.”