What did you study at IU? What was your extracurricular involvement like?During my time at IU, I studied journalism and political science. I loved the thesis program in the political science department because I got to combine the two programs and do a thesis on how voters interact with political campaign branding.Extracurriculars were such a massive part of my four years in Bloomington. As soon as I knew my journalism degree would have a focus on public relations, I joined PRSSA. Among other things, I was also really active in the College Republicans which gave me a ton of experience in working with political campaigns. I also did a ton of internships to get as much real-world experience as possible.
What has your career path been like since graduating?
Since graduating in 2012, I moved out to Colorado and worked on the Mitt Romney for President race in 2012 managing a field office. After the Romney campaign, I moved to running the marketing for a healthcare consulting non-profit. Since January 2015 I've been with Choozle, a digital advertising platform. When I joined we were less than 10 people and I came on to build all of our scalable customer education, but we're now 60 people and in my present role I'm opening our first international office in London and doing everything from client onboarding to partnerships to pre-sales work.
Can you tell me about a typical day for you at work?
I work in a client-facing role for a startup, so I learned really quickly that no two days will ever be the same. While we're still early on in the opening of our London office, I'm doing a lot of client-facing work that is reactionary with our wide book of business, so when I arrive in the morning, I usually have emails from HQ that came in during my overnight as well as client emails waiting from those Middle East and Eastern European accounts that I'm supporting. Mid-morning to early-afternoon is usually filled with client calls, follow-up tasks and email communication, partner meetings and fitting in proactive projects or management work before the headquarters signs online in my mid-afternoon. I'll spend the late afternoon on calls with my team at HQ and on other internal calls, and then "after hours" is when I get to wrap up and prep for the next day. The days are long right now, but it's a lot of fun because it's taken me back to when we were first growing our company in early 2015 (I remember the days of double-digit accounts and we have nearly 2,000 globally now!) and I know that the hard work will pay off if we diligently lay a great foundation for this new market.
What is your long-term career goal? I'd prefer to keep an open mind about where my career can take me, and I feel like I've benefitted the most in my career by just saying, "yes" and trying a lot of things. I've always really enjoyed how joining a software company so early in its development has allowed me to contribute to the product evolution, but I'm really enjoying the projects I'm working on here that have to do with our partners here in London. And throughout my time at Choozle, I've found it really rewarding to impact the education of our new team members and clients. I'll definitely stay in tech, but for now I'm enjoying getting to contribute in all three of those ways to our company's growth!
Do you have any favorite memories from PRSSA? PRSSA was so hugely beneficial to my growth at IU, so it's really hard to name just one thing. The Bateman competition definitely provided some of the most beneficial PR experience I had in my college years, the tours and sessions with alumni were always really insightful and gave me a great opportunity to see the wide applications of my journalism degree, and then being on the Board gave me so much leadership experience that was really invaluable. I guess the moral of the story is, just get involved!
What advice would you give to current PRSSA members? It's so cheesy, but I love that Sheryl Sandberg quote from Lean In, "If you're offered a seat on a rocket ship, get on, don't ask what seat." Truly, it was the first thing that came into my mind when my CEO asked me about relocating to open our London office. I've tried to keep that same philosophy while I've been here in London, in personal and professional settings, and I think I've subconsciously always just said "yes" to things. I've never regretted things I said "yes" to, I've only been disappointed later by things I passed on, so just jump two feet into whatever you're doing or wherever you are.