Durée Mellion Ross, B.S.C. ’98

Durée Mellion Ross, B.S.C. ’98

By UM Alumni Association

Durée Mellion Ross, B.S.C. ’98

By UM Alumni Association
Award-winning PR entrepreneur brings skills to improve the community.

Durée Mellion Ross, B.S.C. ’98, began her career at the University of Miami as a double major in Journalism and Sociology. As the President of an award-winning PR agency, Duree & Company, Ross shares her passion for leadership, giving back to the community and inspiring change. Ross visits campus as much as possible and regularly speaks to students in communications classes. She has also hired numerous ’Canes for both internships and full-time employment and keeps in touch with many of her professors, who frequently refer interns to her company.

Hear more about Ross’s pride for the U:

How did your time at UM prepare you for your career now?

My time at UM prepared me greatly for my career now. I took a wide range of classes from journalism to graphic design to purchasing advertising, and all of them have proven incredibly useful, even if I didn’t know they would be at the time! The numerous internships I did while at school helped me learn the business with hands-on experience – and showed me that I was made for this crazy business.  

You combine many different skills into your agency – how does being multifaceted benefit today’s professional?

As the different areas of communications continue to blur, being multifaceted is incredibly beneficial. Increasingly, clients want to work with one agency to handle numerous initiatives so that may mean handling public relations, marketing, social media, events, e-communication, and much more. When an existing client asks you to handle a new initiative, you find a way to do it. Often times, this may mean expanding a practice area or focusing more heavily on an area that may be changing. It’s been a big part of our growth and I’m thankful for clients who continue to ask us to expand our work with them. 

You are community oriented and driven; what makes you so dedicated to helping others?

I feel it’s our responsibility to help others. There are numerous ways to give back and help so I don’t think there’s an excuse to not give back in some way. I am fortunate to be able to use my time and skills to give back to the community in which I was born, raised, educated and currently reside in. Many people have helped me over the years and giving back is something I truly enjoy. It’s good for the heart, mind and soul.

You’re a leader and mentor for many women – why do you think that is important?

It’s critical for women to believe that anything is possible – but it does take other women to help mentor, bring them along, and lift them up. I had several mentors and feel it’s only right to give back and help others the way I have been helped. I especially think of my daughter and love that she sees a working mother. I tell her she can do anything she wants to do – and I wholeheartedly believe that — even when at six years old she told me she wanted her name on the door along with mine!

Any words of advice for ’Canes who are ready to graduate and enter the job force?

Intern as many times and as many places as possible, even if aren’t receiving school credit. Sometimes the way we figure out what we want to do is by experiencing what we don’t want to do. Additionally, I would say be curious and hustle! The biggest skill I look for when interviewing for our office is drive and hustle. I can teach the rest but having that desire to succeed is critical.