Reflecting on a Year of Growth

One year at Vanguard! How do you feel?

It feels strange. This year has been a whirlwind of growth and opportunity. I can’t believe that much personal and professional development fit into 12 short months.

Was it difficult to transition from student to young professional?

Moving to a new city and becoming financially independent was a learning experience. I spent a lot of time on the phone with my parents asking them how to Adult™.

Figuring out how to make friends outside of work is next on the list.

Which project was your favorite?

I learned something from every project, but Lon Johnson’s congressional campaign was definitely my favorite. You can’t find faster paced work than a political campaign. It really stretched me and made me grow.

You’ve had three different job titles here. How has your role changed?

Yes, I’m extremely lucky to work at a company where there is room for entry-level employees to grow.

I started as a general communications associate. My focus was tracking and coordinating events for the Lansing Pathway Promise millage campaign. After a few months, I asked if I could help manage the social media feeds and small graphic design projects. TJ agreed and quickly realized digital PR was my strength. I was promoted to digital media manager and my focus shifted to social media, graphic design, web design and video production.

My role expanded during the Lon Johnson campaign when I started contributing to strategy meetings, delivering results on tight deadlines and managing two interns. Then, in October, we decided to add Megdi Abebe to the digital team and I was promoted to senior digital media manager. I now oversee Megdi and devote more time to strategic planning.

What are you looking forward to in 2017?

Delving further into visual storytelling! We have several projects on the horizon that will involve video production and in-depth reporting. I’m excited to break out my camera and lighting equipment.

What advice would you give to college students who want to pursue a career in public relations?

Develop a secondary skill set or specialty. Writing is the bread and butter of PR, but there are 10,000 other PR practitioners who can write a press release. Distinguish yourself from the crowd by learning to produce videos, speak a second language, design graphics, manage social media, plan events or fundraise. Industry-specific experience is also helpful. Add a minor or complete an internship in the industry you wish to enter after graduation.

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