And now the rest of the story …
I started college as a biology major … that did not last long (math is four letter word) … after several misstarts, I found my way into public relations. A major that allowed me to use my passion for writing and my talent for organizing. And I was lucky enough to use those skills as an intern for NASA for two summers… There I helped manage event logistics for staff attending the Oshkosh air show and helped with technology transfer media relations.
Eventually, I found my way to downtown St. Louis where I landed a position at a small PR agency, O’Connor & Partners. There, I learned what it meant to be a public relations practitioner. During my time there I was fortunate to lead several award-winning projects, including the Oscar of PR – the Silver Anvil for our work on the Missouri Y2K campaign … (yes, that was a real thing once upon a time) …
Soon motherhood called, and I transitioned from agency to corporate public relations when I joined Brown Smith Wallace, the largest regional accounting firm (no, the irony of me at an accounting firm is not lost). My decade-plus at BSW allowed me to explore the quickly changing world of communications in the new digital era. There, I learned how to build websites from scratch and use SharePoint to help us deal with information silos across the many practice areas, maintain weekly enewsletters and help transition the brand and identity. I also enjoyed working with the benefits team to help them find new ways to communicate with niche audiences.
While at BSW, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in digital and interactive media. The world was changing so quickly, and I knew I needed to find a way to keep up.
I did not intentionally start a teaching career. About a month after I finished my degree in I had a call asking if I could help cover a class at an area college … it started Monday … it was Thursday … so of course, I said “yes” … Then, since I was already on campus, could I pick up a few other day courses?
And so, it began … I was balancing my part-time position as a communications manager at a regional accounting firm and trying to learn how to teach. That went on for three years before I decided to throw myself into teaching entirely. So, I quit my corporate PR job … and Obamacare happened … I went from teaching five courses a semester to two. I found I had to work at multiple universities simultaneously just to try to keep my income level-ish … I added Lindenwood St. Charles, St. Charles Community College, Maryville, and Webster Universities to the resume.
As my background is in mass communication, I may be teaching anything from business writing to social media strategy to graphic design. I teach both online and in-person … I usually create classes with some kind of ongoing project that can be used in a portfolio rather than focusing on traditional papers and tests. I seek exercises that allow the students’ room to grow with what they are learning and to have the opportunity to go back and try again when they add new skills.
And then the world shut down … I went from being on Spring Break to teaching multiple sections of Visual Communications at two universities via Zoom and WebEx. And the transition was difficult. I was challenged to juggle the various approaches coming from two different institutions and trying to help college students produce a portfolio-ready piece. My students usually “check out” mentally after spring break, and having them never come back to the classroom provided an excellent opportunity not to check back in. Luckily, I had recorded and had most of my tutorials available on YouTube, so I was not caught as off-guard as others. Now trying to help take a very active boy-scout troop of 80+ boys online … that was a disaster.
Seeing how COVID changed the world of education brought me to explore a career in Instructional Design. I knew that once my kiddos moved into their college careers, it would be time to transition from the flexible but tenuous adjunct position to a more reliable one. I have loved my time in the classroom, but I also see the writing on the wall, and a full-time professor position is not likely to appear. … (Which is a frustrating conversation for another time.) … As an adjunct, I have had the opportunity to help develop and lead several online courses as a subject matter expert … I love the development process and how adding personalized attention and applying the right technology at the right time can make such a remarkable difference.
This brings us to today … I have a wealth of knowledge and a resume that isn’t exactly a straight line … I bring a fresh perspective to communication and storytelling challenges … I’d love to help your organization … aren’t you lucky to have found someone willing to say “yes” and figure it out as we go?
I look forward to meeting you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out … there is a real person on the other side of this screen …