iuprssa@gmail.com   |   601 E Kirkwood Ave, Bloomington, IN 47405

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Alumni Spotlight: Kathryn Vance


1. What year did you graduate from Indiana University? 2016. 

2. What did you study as an undergraduate? I majored in Journalism with a concentration in PR & Advertising and minors in Marketing and Gender Studies. 

3. What was your extracurricular involvement like at IU? My biggest involvement on campus was by far PRSSA. I served as a member of the Programming committee for two years and then the Director of Programming and Professional Development my senior year. I also served on the Miss Indiana University committee for two years, where I helped coordinate day-of media requests for contestants, judges, and directors as well as handling all social media for this preliminary competition to Miss America. 

4. Where has your career path taken you since graduating? After graduation, I took a position at an advertising agency in Louisville, KY called Sheehy & Associates as a media assistant. Earlier this year, I transitioned to a new position at another Louisville agency called Bandy Carroll Hellige. I had done agency tours with PRSSA to the Indianapolis office of BCH in college and had loved the agency so it seemed like a very natural fit when this opportunity presented itself. 

5. What does your current role entail? I am currently an Assistant Media Buyer for a Quick Service Restaurant (read: fast food) in several markets across the country. As I overheard someone explain recently: media buying is essentially purchasing time. We look at who the target demo is for our client and then create a media plan to reach their customers. With that being said, on a daily basis I am looking at Nielsen information and projecting TV ratings to determine where my target demo's eyes are, then working with stations to negotiate rates on those programs, trying to get the highest rated programs at the lowest cost. A big part of my job is staying on top of what is happening in the overall media landscape and my markets. Since I am not local to those markets, it is essential that I cultivate relationships with my reps at the local stations so that they can be my eyes and ears on the ground. 

6. What are your long-term career goals? While I currently work on all traditional broadcast media, I would like to learn more about the digital media landscape. While previously traditional TV and radio schedules would capture most of your target audience, we are now seeing that so much viewing/listening has moved to the digital world. Whether this be streaming music through Pandora or Spotify, or watching your favorite TV show through a Roku or Apple TV, these are major changes to how we consume media. 

7. What did you enjoy the most about IU PRSSA while you were a member? One of my favorite memories is the trip to Atlanta in 2015 for National Conference. If you have the chance to go to National Conference--do it!! It will create bonds that last so much longer than the trip and give you tools to take back to further your career goals. 

8. How should current PRSSA members prepare for a career in PR and communications? 

  1. Stay in the know: keep yourself up to date on current events in the communications world. Even if you're just following Twitter accounts like AdAge or AdWeek (two of my favorites), it is important to stay on top of what today's hot topics are. 

  2. Anticipate their next move: I cannot tell you how many hours I've saved myself just by anticipating the questions and thoughts of my supervisor. Once you work with someone even a short amount of time, you can determine how they like information presented to them and what their thought process is. Plus, if you can answer their question before they have them, that's extra brownie points for you. 

  3. Know that good things take time: whether this is finding your first job, or learning a new task in your position--it will come, even if it takes time. It's easy to forget this, but important to remember it.