#ELGLInspire is coming to Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) West Allis campus on March 3rd! Learn more about our event speakers in these brief profiles, and connect with them before and after the event! To find information about all of the speakers, visit the #ELGLInspire homepage.
Communications Strategist, City of West Allis
What was the very first paying job you held (that you paid taxes on)?
I worked in a small candy store for my first job. Sounds fun, but it was a weird, rundown shop. Training including the phrase “Don’t worry about the rats in the basement” so needless to say, I didn’t stay long.
What was your: undergraduate institution? Graduate institution? What was/were your degree(s) in?
Carroll University, Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with a Minor in English
What class(es) (if any) are applicable to your job today?
All writing classes have benefitted my career. Writing is a strong skill of mine and has helped me stand out in candidate pools as an applicant. My theatre training comes in handy daily. In theatre we learn to see other perspectives, understand where another person is coming from, and we master the art of pretending – fake it ‘til you make it – and those are crucial business skills!
What book are you currently reading? Would you recommend it?
“Firestorm at Peshtigo,” by Denise Gess and William Lutz. It’s a must-read for Wisconsin history or environmental history buffs.
What’s the best networking advice for job seekers you’ve heard or shared?
It can be hard for younger job seekers or job seekers transitioning to a new career to build a network. If you struggle to do so in person, do so online. Use LinkedIn actively. I cannot stress this enough. Connect with people. Engage in dialogue. Work on your profile. You will stand out to recruiters and hiring managers if you do these things.
What’s the fastest way to NOT get a job or internship with you? (e.g. what should potential applicants avoid doing if they were to ever interview with you for a position).
In communications and marketing, you will not get hired if your materials are full of typos. The ability to proofread is important for graphic designers, account executives, website designers, social media managers, and of course, copywriters. Go over your application materials and cover letter carefully before submitting. If the position you are applying for requests a writing sample, make sure yours is free of grammatical and spelling errors. This sounds so basic, but the majority of applications we receive are full of these errors. It matters, and it can cost you an interview.
Why should an undergraduate student consider a career working in local government?
Local government is at an exciting turning point. The days of the drab public servant biding time until they can receive a pension are gone. Government professionals are passionate, vibrant people who love problem solving, innovation, and finding unique, forward-thinking solutions to the problems facing their communities. Our organizations move fast because our communities’ needs change daily. We have to be responsive and agile. There is a lot of opportunity in this industry for people who like being challenged to problem solve and love seeing their solutions come to life to benefit others.
Do you have a work or life motto? What is it?
I once interviewed a 30 year+ HR veteran and asked her what advice she had for people just starting their careers. Her answer: “Assume the best intentions.” That has stuck with me for years. As we go through our careers and work with customers and colleagues, conflict is unavoidable. However, no one is out to get you or sabotage the work you’re doing. Most people are good, and are doing what they think is the best thing at the time. Give others the benefit of the doubt, and give them credit for trying to do what’s right, even if you don’t agree with the approach.