Credentials: Slate Communications
Position title: Marketing Specialist
Major: Journalism (emphasis in Strategic Communications)
Certificate: Digital Studies
Graduation Date: December 2016
How did you end up at Slate Communications?
I have truly loved each step of my career path. While still finishing up my degree, I landed a summer internship with the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center as their first ever ‘Marketing Intern’. (It was a random post in the Journalism Jobs Newsletter – thanks Pam Garcia-Rivera!) I lived above a cabin that was home to 3 moose and 2 foxes. Needless to say, my internship at AWCC gave me great experience getting out of my comfort zone and not being afraid to learn new tools.
After I returned from Alaska, I had the privilege of being connected to an internship with Forte Research Systems, a software company in Madison while I finished my last semester. This is really where my career “took off.” The marketing team was composed of many UW grads and we all really clicked. I accepted a job there as a Marketing Specialist after I graduated and was eventually promoted to Product Marketing Manager. I loved working with an in-house marketing team, and Forte was very committed to, and successful at, inbound marketing, which pushed me to develop my skills in email, writing, and learning the in’s and out’s of a technical industry. I was also mentored by many great colleagues and really appreciate how they trusted me to take on more and more during my time there.
I left Forte in 2018 to support my partner’s pursuit of a Masters Degree in Colorado, and somewhat randomly ended up at Slate Communications as a Marketing Assistant. Slate works with local governments across Colorado and the western region and it has been really interesting to go from an in-house team to an agency setting, but I’ve loved getting to know Colorado really well and assisting communities during this tough time. Through each position, it has been really important for me to have hands on knowledge and technical skills to combine marketing strategy with actual execution.
What does a typical day in the office look like for you?
Like most marketing folks, I wear a LOT of hats. My role is a hybrid between helping our ‘marketing clients’ (ex: tourism efforts for cities and towns) and organizing the marketing of our firm to future clients. On a day-to-day basis I spend a lot of time writing web content, blogs, social media posts, and organizing media buys and ad placements. I also lead strategy development for those same projects. I enjoy having influence over the strategy, but also get to be hands on in implementing it. Lastly, I work really closely with project managers and graphic designers – another important part of any marketing career!
How has Digital Studies influenced your career path?
The fun part about marketing is that you’re always learning. A big part of that is being reactive to the platforms and tools that you need to use in order to reach your target audiences and execute your strategy. This is where I feel Digital Studies has really assisted my career so far. My digital studies courses were my first experiences with databases, Adobe Creative Suite, CMS, Google Analytics and more. It gave me practice learning new tools and gave me confidence that I could use them. In general, I wish more classes offered that hands-on approach, because especially for entry level positions, you’re really the one ‘doing’ it all, and understanding digital concepts and tools really helps.
Did you have a favorite Digital Studies class?
I really enjoyed my professors in the Journalism School. Right off the bat, I think of Katy Culver and Debra Pierce. I took a course with Katy Culver where we had to design our own business marketing pieces and got hands on experience with designing and web design. I loved that course because it forced me to practice learning new skills, and mixing design with messaging. Katy really pushed many people who thought of themselves as ‘non-creative’ or ‘non-designers’ like me to push themselves and get excited about this work. In my current role, I also work on UX planning and design. I’m no designer, but those skills help me to be more strategic, and understand my co-workers and work well with them on solutions.
Do you have any advice for current students?
This one might seem a bit silly, but seriously, get to know your professors! It is easier to show up to class and leave, but take the time to introduce yourself, get to know them, and ask them questions! They are your advocates for opportunities in school and beyond, and connections really matter. Plus, it’s just more fun and you get to be a lot more engaged in your education. I remember being terrified of Katy Culver in J201. The next course I took with her, I was a senior and I went right up to her and straight up admitted that I was nervous about the course and that started a great relationship that I really value.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career thus far?
It’s not quite an ‘achievement’, but it still makes me proud. In each of my roles (whether they’ve been internships or full time positions), I’ve been asked to take on a higher role within a year of starting them. I put in a lot of work really getting to know the industries I’ve been involved in and stayed dedicated to making strategic decisions. I feel grateful for the amount of trust each team has shown me and allowed me the space to achieve my potential. I don’t really know what step comes next for me, but I feel prepared!