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Louise Sutton


Hazel J. Cole, PhD is a critical scholar, corporate trainer and communications consultant, servant leader, motivational speaker, and mentor. At the University of West Georgia, Dr. Cole is a tenured faculty member and administrator in the School of Communication, Film & Media (SCFM) where she serves as Associate Professor and Public Relations Head. She is the second African-American woman to receive tenure in SCFM’s history. She is a published scholar, strategic thought-leader, and co-founder of bluestone: the Student-Run Public Relations Firm (which provides experiential learning opportunities for students). Her research interests focus on diversity, corporate crisis and response strategy, media studies (on representations of race and gender), media framing and news, image repair and critical race theory, as well as celebrity and hyper-reality theory. In addition, she conducts corporate training on topics such as customer service, boundary setting, diversity, conflict management, self-awareness, and leadership development.


Dr. Cole presents research internationally and nationally, has co-authored the textbook, Race, Gender and Image Repair Theory: How Digital Media Change the Landscape (2018), and has published in other books and scholarly journals. She is an award-winning professional with over 28 years’ experience in strategic planning and media relations, crisis response strategy, executive media training, and leadership development. Her professional work has been recognized by numerous professional organizations.


Dr. Cole earned three degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and has held leadership positions in various organizations and nonprofits, including the Rapha Clinic and the Rouse Foundation, and served as a board member for 10+ years with the George Cochran Innocence Project (formerly the Mississippi Innocence Project), founded by author/attorney John Grisham, at the University of Mississippi Law School in Oxford, Mississippi. Her passions are social justice, mentoring women and girls to become leaders, travel, interior decorating, preparing great food and collecting fine wines. She has consulted on special event execution for economic development and aerospace initiatives at the International Air Shows in Paris, France and Farnborough, England for several years. Dr. Cole’s greatest accomplishment, however, is being a mother to her blessings: Kimberly and Sterling.

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