Credentials: Catholic Extension
Position title: Digital Development Associate
Major: Journalism (Strategic Communications emphasis)
Certificate: Digital Studies
Graduation Date: May 2016
How did you end up at Catholic Extension?
During college, I had the opportunity to work with Google Ads at Gio’s Garden, a nonprofit respite care center. After graduation, I began my career at a start-up direct-response digital marketing agency. The agency was interested in the digital experience I’d gained while at Gio’s Garden, and they brought me on as a digital strategist, optimizing and evaluating Google Ads. Later I moved into a client-facing role, working with start-up and growth-stage e-commerce start-ups to grow across various paid digital channels.
From there, I moved to The Digital Ring, a Middleton-based digital marketing agency, to manage paid digital ads. I had a blast working with small- and medium-sized businesses and growing at this supportive, high-energy agency. I worked closely with our SEO, UX, design and web development experts and learned a ton. Eventually I decided to leave the agency world for the nonprofit world. A faith-based nonprofit called Catholic Extension brought me on as a digital communications associate, eventually transitioning into a more fundraising-heavy position in the development (fundraising) department.
What does a typical day in the office look like for you?
I am the only employee at Catholic Extension with “digital” in my job title, which means I wear a lot of hats. My job is to steward our donors and convert new donors using digital channels, from email to social media. My day-to-day varies widely – one day I’m creating email newsletter automations, the next I’m knee-deep in Excel pivot-table data. Other days you might find me creating paid digital ads or finding new ways to engage our various digital audiences.
How has Digital Studies influenced your career path?
When I was at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the emphasis of the programs and classes were on mass communications through traditional channels (digital was still called “new media”). The Digital Studies program put what I learned at the J-School in a 21st century context.
Do you have any advice for current students?
The best way to impress potential employers looking at entry-level positions is to show initiative. Once you have a sense of the career you want, look at descriptions for job openings you’re interested in and heavily invest in yourself. There are so many free online resources to teach yourself the technical skills that will make you an appealing prospect in a digital world. Facebook Blueprint for digital ads, Google’s Skillshop for Google best practices, and LinkedIn Learning is a treasure-trove. Regardless of your position, learning the basics of Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and digital customer journeys will make you better-prepared for the world of digital communications.