In yesterday’s blog post I introduced Chris LoBue and shared the impact he has made on my photography skills, creative ability, and entrepreneurial spirit. Looking back throughout the years working at Centenary College and Rutgers University, my marketing knowledge from FDU has always stuck with me. On a daily basis, promotion, engagement, marketing strategy and branding keeps coming back to all the programming I have been a part of.
For today’s post, I’d like to share how in 2010, I started to come closer to finding my niche and the three influential co-workers that have supported me and always kept me moving forward.
About a year and a half into my job in Rutgers Recreation, I had already learned how to update our website on the backend, use iMovie to make promo videos, and found new ways to reach out to students. In late 2009, Facebook had just turned five years old and Facebook Pages began popping up everywhere. Based on my previous knowledge and ambition to learn new things, I was asked to lead a committee to build out a social media presence for our department. After looking at trends, best practices, and seeing what else was out there, we launched our Facebook Page for our department in Spring 2010. Mind you, this was all considered ‘other duties as assigned’ at this point because I was still managing all my intramural duties. I say this because I think these other duties should not always be looked at as a bad thing...and I’d like to share with you how those other duties shaped my career path.
As I led our social strategy, our Director allowed me to recruit and hire four students in the Fall of 2010. This first go around, I had a small outreach plan and not a lot of demand. However, one project lead to another. The need for video and photo followed and I bootstrapped any resource, camera, and equipment we could get our hands on.
Over the next two years, we built out this part-time project into a department of social media managers, photographers, videographers, and brand ambassadors. I saw a vision of what this team could accomplish and how it could help our department be innovative while breaking through the noise at Rutgers. Luckily, so did our Director and she extended an offer to create a full-time position to run our marketing and social media. You know that you are carving out a niche when someone creates a position for you. Don’t get me wrong it took a lot of 60+ hour weeks, but there was light at the end of the tunnel.
Since starting in the new role as Assistant Director of Marketing and Social Media in July 2012, we have built a unit run on the creative minds and efforts of 18-22 year olds. I am completely dedicated to this team and coming up with the best social media content and creative campaigns that will actually grab the attention of college students. This upcoming year I am proud to say, we had 65 students apply for 5 positions and we now have a team of 10 students hired for Fall 2014.
By far, this has been one of my biggest accomplishments in my career and it required a lot of work, savy, resourcefulness, and small wins. Throughout the last four years, I couldn’t have done it without three co-workers that are now close friends: Kristen Pettis, Kate Quinlan, and Meredith Stille. I keep coming back to this, but I view a lot of my friends as brothers and sisters and it is safe to say that Kristen, Kate, and Meredith are my big sisters.
Trying to build your niche and make a name for yourself requires long hours, extra effort, and a desire to learn new skills. When you have hard working people like Kristen, Kate, and Meredith around you, the long days turn out to be some of the most memorable.
What they have taught me:
Kristen taught me me to be selfless. No matter what she had going on (personal or professional) she would drop what she was doing and help get it done, with a smile on her face - time after time.
Kate taught me tenacity. She is the type of person that has an idea, doesn’t wait around, and does whatever it takes to execute it. #ladypower
When one of our student employee’s had a family tragedy due to Hurricane Sandy, Meredith went all in and did whatever it took to help her and the family out. She dropped everything in her life and served as more than a supervisor and more as a family member. Meredith taught me what it really means to be there for someone.
How they inspired me:
Here’s what they all have in common and how they have helped me get closer to finding my niche:
1. They are each hard working and when they have a vision they do everything in the power to carry it out.
2. They share a passion to make a difference in the lives of young adults.
3. They are never stuck on the status quo - every year I have seen each of them find ways to improve their jobs, programs, or trainings.
Don’t ever be too good for the ‘other duties,’ be the person that takes those additional tasks and makes them awesome. It’s also so important to be firm in your vision but flexible in your path. There were times where I would have loved to have more resources or go full time with the marketing position before the department was ready. However, I kept focused on the vision and found a way to make do with the cards I was dealt. Finally, find your people. Look for the coworkers that you like to be with and that inspire you to always do better. I’ll expand on this in my post tomorrow...stay tuned.