Current Job Title and Employer:
Scholar Relations and Alumni Coordinator at The Kalamazoo Promise
Founder at Defined Lines Marketing
Describe your current job:
As the Scholar Relations and Alumni Coordinator for The Kalamazoo Promise, I am responsible for establishing, building, and maintaining meaningful relationships with students who have utilized The Kalamazoo Promise scholarship to obtain a post-secondary credential, certificate, or degree. This involves a lot of outreach and conversation with alumni to truly understand their needs and what we can do to add value to their personal or professional lives beyond the scholarship. Whether it’s through volunteerism, professional development opportunities, mentoring current Scholars, or connecting them to good jobs in the Kalamazoo community, we use their feedback to create processes and infrastructures that keep them engaged with The Promise community. Additionally, I'm responsible for most digital marketing efforts in the organization. This includes the strategy, creation, and delivery of all social media content, management and optimization of our website, and coordinating the efforts for our weekly blog.
As the sole proprietor of Defined Lines Marketing, I'm primarily responsible for creating digital marketing strategies for clients across their social media platforms, email campaigns, and online advertising to help achieve their business goals. Additionally, I am responsible for keeping up on all accounting, branding, administrative, and other day-to-day responsibilities within the organization. Defined Lines Marketing began 23 days after I graduated from Western Michigan and it has been the greatest decision I have ever made. Any free time I have away from my main work or family life is usually spent working on my business. I feel extremely blessed to have something I'm so passionate about!
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job would have to be the people I get to interact with. Almost everyday, I'm having a conversation with an Alum whose life has been changed because of The Promise. Over 5,000 people have utilized the scholarship, which means there are over 5,000 stories to be heard. Not only do I get to hear those stories, but I get to tell them to the world. The amount of gratitude that Alumni, families, and the community have for The Promise is incredible, and I get to hear about it every day! The most challenging part of my job would have to be remaining patient. Like I said, there are over 5,000 stories to be told, and we can't get to all of them at once. Much of my work up to now has involved taking a step back to understand how we should go about connecting with Alumni: How do we locate them? How do we engage them? How can we develop processes to make finding them/conversing with them/telling their story/etc more efficient? Taking a step back to understand the big picture has always been a struggle of mine as I'd rather just jump in and get it done. I'm continuously learning that patience will pay off.
I've always wanted to be my own boss, and starting Defined Lines has allowed me to do that. Helping businesses solve their problems and achieve their goals is something I'm incredibly passionate about and knowing that I can add value to others gets me really excited about my work! Starting a business on the side of a 9-5 can sometimes be overwhelming. Coming home after a long day just to jump right back onto a computer isn't always fun and most of the time is spent on client work. Trying to work on the actual branding piece requires an incredible amount of time and patience as well. Anytime I'm overwhelmed, I try to remind myself there's no deadline for what I'm doing. I started this project with the intention of it being a marathon, not a sprint.
What experiences impacted the choice of your career path?
My time at the Haworth College of Business was absolutely incredible. I came to campus everyday knowing that every professor, adviser, staff member, etc. were 100% committed to who I wanted to become and what I wanted to do. I am incredibly grateful for that foundation laid for me. I can point to 1 experience that helped me solidify what I wanted to do for a career. In my senior year, I took Digital and Social Media Marketing with Dr. Scott Cowley, a class that provided hands-on, real experience in digital marketing. Through that experience, along with the value Dr. Cowley provided me outside of the classroom, I knew that I wanted to work in digital marketing. Fast forward to now, I have a job that allows me to manage digital marketing efforts and a business that provides digital marketing services. That is incredible.
What advice would you offer students to help them decide on a career path?
The idea that you have to decide on a career path in your teens/twenties is ludicrous. If anything, it should be a time where you go out and experience as much as you can to better understand what you like, what you're good at, and how that can potentially transfer to a profession. If you're in a position where you feel your degree isn't aligned with what you actually want to do, that's okay. That degree won't lock you onto a certain path for the rest of your life. Every path is different and you get to choose how to pave yours. Be curious, gain a variety of experiences, ask questions, and talk with your professors. That will bring you tremendous value.