If you’ve followed this blog since inception you already know a few things about me. I love flamingos, I’m a proud mom, I’m a workaholic – all undeniably true. But today I’d like to shed some light on my professional journey thus far. So, let’s briefly rewind…
In 2006, I graduated with an Honors Diploma from high school, with my infant son in the audience. I was blessed with the opportunity to continue my education at IUPUI, and started as an undergraduate in 2006. I started pre-nursing, and after a terrible semester in anatomy (no offense, Dr. Yard, you were great!), I decided I just didn’t care to memorize the bones and muscles in our body. So, I did the obvious thing, switched to pre-business. My thought was, business is transferrable, so upon graduation, I could apply any business degree to any given industry. Wrong again! It was in an elective course in communication studies that I found my calling. I wanted to be a communicator. (Yeah, yeah, funny… I know I talk a lot!)
Once I landed in the communication field, I felt at home. Cliché as it sounds, my education clicked, and I felt invested in my coursework. When I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in December 2010, I wasn’t sure what the next steps looked like. Locally, markets were still crawling out of the recession, and companies weren’t hiring much, let alone hiring graduates fresh out of college. When I discovered I had the opportunity to continue pursuing my education, I did just that.
You see, I loved what I was studying! When I started graduate school, as a non-degree student, in 2011, I only took one course because I wasn’t sure it was for me. About halfway through this one course per semester load, I came to the realization that grad school is an incredibly expensive hobby, and decided to buckle down and get my Master’s Degree. I was hooded in May 2014.
During my education journey, I worked as a student mentor on campus, education coordinator, part-time dance instructor, part-time promotions team member and team leader, and even an adjunct faculty member. I also had opportunities to intern in group event ticket sales, as an event planning intern and with an online marketing company – and I loved every experience.
I have never been a person that knew what I wanted to be doing with my life. I didn’t see my career going in one specific path. And to be honest, that realization terrified me for the longest time. I always wondered how I could ever be happy, successful or fulfilled if I wasn’t doing whatever it was I set out to be doing. I fought the fear by trying everything! I dove head first into jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities with hopes that as I figured out what I liked about jobs and companies, I could also find out what I didn’t like, and use those to guide my future choices.
And then I landed in Fishers in 2013. My role grow (you can read more about that here) exponentially year to year, and provided some of the most invaluable experiences working with some of the most talented people I know. Until December 2016, where I was called back to a former company in a new role as a promotions director over two stations. I assumed my career was taking a step in a new direction, and I was excited to see how things would unfold.
Fast forward a few months to April 2017. April 10th, 2017 to be specific. I got an email that morning from the City of Fishers requesting a call later in the day. I was happy to talk, especially since the City partnered with one of my stations, and we set a call for 3 p.m. It was the Monday after my 29th birthday, so to say the day was dragging is the understatement of the century! I might have had a little too much fun over the weekend, and wasn’t thrilled about being another year older, plus, Monday! But that 3 p.m. phone call changed everything.
When Fishers called, they were calling me with an opportunity to return at a higher level in the organization. I’m pretty sure I zoned out after I heard that, and the rest of the conversation remains a blur. In May, I returned to the City of Fishers as the Assistant Director of Public Relations, and I still find myself struggling to believe this opportunity fell into my lap.
Outside of the brief months away, today marks my four-year anniversary with Fishers. My role has evolved from a public relations assistant to a marketing and public relations director to an assistant director of public relations with support and leadership from some of the most talented people I’ve encountered. I feel energized coming to work and diving into the projects I oversee, and I see no shortage of excitement on the horizon.
So, this is my unsolicited advice to all the college students heading off for their very first class, or new professionals entering the workforce, or just to professionals feeling stuck in a rut: try something new. While change often means discomfort, it can propel in unforeseen, amazing directions!
Take me for example, had I never left Fishers, I’m not sure I would have ever worked my way into this position – heck, this position didn’t exist during my first round with the organization. Take a calculated risk. Ask a professor or high level leader in your office to coffee. Attend a networking event. Create a new project for yourself at work that gets you excited to dive in! Pinpoint things you love or don’t love, and use those to guide the next step. Hopefully, by following what you love, you find yourself smiling all day at your four-year anniversary and reflecting on how much you’ve grown along the way!