A Look at Three of the Steelers’ 2017 Draft Picks

Steelers' 2017 Draft Picks pic
Steelers’ 2017 Draft Picks
Image: steelers.com

Named an honorary battalion chief for New York City Fire Department in 2014, Joann Baney is a Columbia University professor and the vice president of the communications consulting firm Professional Development Company. Outside of her professional endeavors, Joann Baney is a passionate fan of the National Football League’s (NFL) Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers added eight players to its team in the 2017 NFL Draft, including first-round pick T.J. Watt, a linebacker from Wisconsin University. Pittsburgh added three players on the offensive side of the ball.

1. JuJu Smith-Schuster. A wide receiver out of the University of Southern California (USC), Smith-Schuster was selected 62nd overall by the Steelers. He caught 213 passes for 3,092 yards and 25 touchdowns in three seasons at USC.

2. James Conner. The Steelers would have been able to keep a close eye on Conner, as he played the past four seasons with Pittsburgh. In 2016, the running back rushed for 1,092 yards and scored 16 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 21 passes for 302 yards and four touchdowns.

3. Joshua Dobbs: The 135th overall pick in the draft, Dobbs is a quarterback who threw for 2,946 yards and 27 touchdowns with the University of Tennessee in 2016.


ChildFund Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill

ChildFund  pic
Image: ChildFund.org

An MBA graduate of Columbia University, Joann Baney now belongs to the faculty of the institution’s School of International and Public Affairs, providing instruction in the Executive Master of Public Administration program. Outside of her academic career, Joann Baney supports a number of charitable endeavors, including ChildFund International.

Last March, high school students from Mississippi had the opportunity to meet legislators in Washington, D.C., as part of this year’s annual ChildFund International Advocacy Day. These youth were part of a specialized program to promote civic involvement organized by a local group called Operation Shoestring. Additionally, Procter and Gamble provided the funding for the students’ trip to the nation’s capital.

The youth expressed excitement at the opportunity to meet with their representatives and discuss the issues that are important to them. They feel their voice is just as important as anyone else’s. At the end of the day, the students attended a special reception event held at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill.

The Malala Fund Names New Chief Executive Officer

Malala Fund pic
Malala Fund
Image: malala.org

A graduate of Columbia University’s MBA program, Joann Baney later returned to the institution, where she currently serves as an associate professor in the Executive Master of Public Administration program for the School of International and Public Affairs. Outside of her teaching role, Joann Baney supports several children’s charities, including the Malala Fund.

Established in September 2014, the Malala Fund aims to provide children with access to free and high-quality primary and secondary education opportunities by the year 2030. The Malala Fund’s goal is based on Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai’s vision of providing 12 years of education to children, particularly girls. Since it began, the organization has provided over $8.6 million for girls’ education programs in areas including India, Kenya, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, among others.

In February 2017, the Malala Fund announced the appointment of a new chief executive officer, Farah Mohamed. She is the founder and CEO of G(irls) 20, an organization dedicated to furthering girls’ education and the participation of females in the labor force. Before starting the organization, Farah Mohamed held leadership positions at VON Canada and The Belinda Stronach Foundation.

Steelers’ Best Decade – The 1970s

Steelers pic
Image: Steelers.com

A faculty member at Columbia Business School and the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, Joann Baney supports the Pittsburgh Steelers. Steelers fans like Joann Baney have been rewarded for their loyalty with six Super Bowl victories.

Most of these victories came during the 1970s, which proved to be the strongest decade in the history of the franchise, and one of the strongest of any team in the history of the NFL. The Steelers’ luck changed when they were able to draft future hall of fame member Terry Bradshaw, moved to the AFC Central, and changed stadiums. These alterations led to a division title in 1972, after 40 years of drought.

After that, the hits kept coming. The team defeated the Minnesota Vikings in the 1974 Super Bowl, then beat the Dallas Cowboys in the following year’s Super Bowl, and became the third team to come out on top two seasons in a row. The two seasons after this were comparatively weak, but were followed in turn by two more Super Bowl victories, including one over the Los Angeles Rams and one over, yet again, the Dallas Cowboys. These strong performances earned the Steelers the designation of Team of the Decade in the 1970s.

The Malala Fund – Working to Ensure All Girls Have Access to Education

Malala Fund pic
Malala Fund
Image: malala.org

A graduate of the University of Chicago with a bachelor of arts in English, Joann Baney teaches communications as an associate professor at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. A supporter of charitable organizations, Joann Baney contributes to the Malala Fund.

The Malala Fund is named after Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl who wrote a blog with her father about the Taliban’s efforts to block young girls from going to school. Although Malala was shot by a Taliban member for speaking out in support of education for girls, she survived the attack and moved to the United Kingdom.

Today, the Malala Fund sponsors programs in Pakistan, Nigeria, and Kenya with the goal of giving all girls access to 12 years of education. The fund also serves Syrian refugees, having financed a new All-Girls School founded by the Kayany Foundation. The school serves adolescent Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.

To learn more about the work of the Malala Fund or to make a donation, visit www.malala.org.

Strategies for Confident Public Speaking


Confident Public Speaking pic
Confident Public Speaking
Image: lifehack.org

As an associate professor in Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Joann Baney helps leaders to build their public speaking and professional communication skills. Joann Baney has also presented coursework in communications and speaking in the University’s executive MBA program as well as within its Graduate School of Public Health and speech department.

To be effective as a public speaker, one must be able to present himself or herself with confidence. Doing so may prove extremely difficult for the 75 percent of adults who struggle with a fear of public speaking, but a number of specific techniques can reduce both the outward manifestations of anxiety and the inward processes that cause it.

Experts suggest that all journeys toward improvement begin a growth mindset. If the speaker does not believe that he or she can become more confident, that negative belief will become self-fulfilling. The speaker can then carry this positive mindset into a more specific realm and set what psychologists term approach goals, which include objectives such as “I want to make these two points” or “I want to make sure that my audience understands,” rather than “I want to stop feeling nervous.”

A speaker can also draw his or her focus away from inner experiences of anxiety by concentrating instead on feeling the emotions that he or she wishes to convey. By turning the mind to the pride, disappointment, excitement, or sadness that the speech conveys, the speaker replaces nerves rather than trying to suppress them.

Emotional engagement may become easier if the speaker engages visually with the audience. In looking at listeners who are nodding or smiling, the speaker begins to feel reassured and more comfortable on stage. If nerves do make their way into the experience, the speaker can acknowledge them with slow breathing and turn attention back to the content of the speech itself, which is the purpose of taking the stage in the first place.

Three Tips for Effective Public Speaking

Public Speaking pic
Public Speaking
Image: inc.com

Professor Joann Baney serves as vice president of the Professional Development Company, a communications consulting service based in New York City. As a coach to leading senior executives, Joann Baney helps high-profile professionals develop their public speaking skills.

Delivering presentations in front of an audience can be nerve-wracking for some, but an effective speech is a powerful and important tool for professionals. To improve public speaking skills at any level, consider the following tips.

1. Remember that you are having a conversation with real people. Create a stronger connection by making eye contact with audience members in turn, rather than passively scanning the crowd. Try to make connections with specific people throughout the entire speech.

2. Slow down. Many speakers make the mistake of speeding through their presentation, often losing the audience in the rush. Speak slightly slower than usual, and do not be afraid to pause and draw a deep breath occasionally.

3. Be passionate, and be genuine. When a presenter is obviously excited about a topic, the audience will notice and pay attention. For new or wary speakers, it can be beneficial to channel nervousness into excitement.