I’m pretty sure the first time I walked into the then Town of Fishers’ City Hall I was in fourth grade. I decided that year I was going to enter the 4-H Science Fair’s community category and create a display board all about Fishers. Though the details are fuzzy to recall now, I think my presentation was about the different parts of my community. I included City Hall, the Fishers Police Station, the local barbershop, Archer’s Meats & Catering, and probably a few other things only my mom could recall on demand. Fast forward over 20 years (stop trying to guess my age!), and I’m quietly celebrating my third year working for the, now, City of Fishers.
To say I landed here by pure coincidence is putting it honestly. I had no intention of working for an organization that had any ties to politics. Ask my small group political communication graduate professor, out of the three students in that class, I was easily the most talkative socially and spent most of the semester in silence. When I started graduate school in 2011, the economy was still rebounding and job opportunities were scarce. Luckily, I had the opportunity, and desire to attend graduate school and pursue my master’s degree. It was during my first semester as a graduate non-degree student (where I opted to take one course and see how I enjoyed graduate school), when I realized I had the most free time I would ever have. At that time, outside of being a single mom, I was working two part-time positions and had more flexibility with my schedule since I was only taking one course. So I started reaching out to random, high-level communication and PR professionals around Indianapolis. Not having a clear career path in mind, I wanted to start seeing what real-world work looked like, and start exploring the kind of positions I could see myself enjoying. That experience connected me with one gracious PR professional.
Maura Leon-Barber was the then communications director for the Town of Fishers. She was a lean, mean team of one, who worked to share city happenings with the growing community. Maura kindly invited me to her office during one of her lunch breaks to talk about what she did. She shared information about her master’s degree in public relations and gave me a snapshot of her day-to-day life at Fishers. Let’s fast forward again to 2013 (I’m skipping some details, but you can catch up on those in other posts!), when I found out the Town of Fishers was hiring a part-time PR assistant. I decided I would apply, and when I showed up to my interview I smiled when Maura greeted me. I’ll be honest though, I left the interview unsure. I don’t have a PR background. I’m a communication studies scholar, and I wasn’t sure my resume fit the role she was hiring for. So you’ll imagine my shock when I walked back into my house after the interview and my phone rang with a job offer.
The universe continued working in my favor when a full-time opportunity presented itself within my first two weeks of working there. I laugh when I tell the story, but I know how rare it is to be hired for a part-time position, and two weeks later start in a full-time role. There’s so much more I want to say about what I’ve learned during the last three years and how my leaders, my role and my skill-set has evolved, but you’ll have to stay tuned for additional posts! I will say, working for the then Town, now City of Fishers has been one of the most rewarding professional experiences of my life. I work for a community I grew up in, I’m raising my son in even, and I’m able to use that passion as motivation every day. I’m a better employee and professional after these three years, and working for such a vibrant and innovative community, I couldn’t be more excited about what lies ahead.