Kelly Starling: Communication Alumna and Storyteller at AT&T

Kelly Starling (’85, B.S. Media Performance) is AT&T’s Lead Public Relations Manager for Florida, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. “I’m a storyteller,” she says. “I find creative ways to humanize AT&T and create brand love by sharing with journalists our employees’ stories and how our products, services, and technology and community engagement are shaping the future.” In addition to speaking with the media, Starling is a contributing writer for AT&T’s internal news source, AT&T Insider. Passionate about bringing a story to life through words, she enjoys finessing complex, technical information into writing that is easy to understand.

“My goal was to work for a local Entertainment Tonight type show at a local TV station, but by the time I graduated from college, the show had folded. Instead, I went to work at the same TV station as a news producer,” Starling says. “After nearly 6 years of broadcast journalism, I knew it wasn’t the right fit for me, so when I asked myself how else I can use my strong writing and organizational skills, public relations came to mind.”

After spending the first three years of her PR career in the nonprofit sector, Starling moved into the corporate realm with AT&T. Her role there has evolved over many years. “I started as a PR generalist but with each merger my company has undergone, my role has become one of a media relations specialist.”

Looking back on her time at FSU, Starling reflects on her experience with a television show called 1800 Seconds that was written, shot, edited, produced, and directed by FSU students. Airing on Tallahassee ABC and CBS affiliates, her involvement with the show provided her with invaluable hands-on experience. She says, “I consider myself lucky to have been surrounded by so many creative minds while I was at FSU’s School of Communication.”

One of those creative minds was John D. Chang (’85, Media Production). Known for his work with the Dallas Cowboys as a Director of Broadcasting and willingness to help students pursuing careers in media production, Chang was considered one of the most influential alumni of the School of Communication. After he passed away at the age of 38 due to a cerebral hemorrhage, his family established the John D. Chang Endowed Memorial Scholarship to continue honoring Chang’s legacy. “He was by far one of the most talented, inspiring, creative, and kindest human beings I met,” Starling says.

Utilizing the knowledge gained at FSU and her years of experience in the industry, Starling is passionate about telling stories to grow AT&T’s brand. When asked what the future looks like for her, she says, “In my next life, I would like to get back into a PR generalist role and contribute to the success of a nonprofit that serves animals.”