Alumni share career advice at Media Career Day
Twenty-five media industry professionals, most of them Media School alumni, gave career advice to students as participants in Media Career Day on Friday.
Nearly 200 students attended the all-day, annual event, which consisted of panel discussions and informational interviews on careers across the industry.
By Jillian Waslawski
Three public relations professionals shared their career stories and gave advice to PR students.
Media School alumni Clare Krusing, BAJ’10, managing director at Reservoir Communications Group; Charnay Pickett, BAJ’15, senior account manager at Hirons; and Alicia Webb, BAJ’04, corporate communications director at Generation Bio, spoke about their experience finding a job after college, what they learned since being in the industry and the skills that would best equip students for the corporate world.
“Stay flexible,” Webb said. “It shows employers you’re willing to try something and keep learning.”
The panel also talked about how students must have a mixed skill set of general business and communications knowledge. These skills are critical to the success of a PR professional and will never go away, Krusing said.
In addition to what’s required at the corporate level, the panel gave students advice and tips for job interviews. The speakers agreed that although experience in the communications field is necessary, soft skills and personability are both important factors.
“Be confident in yourself and comfortable during an interview,” Krusing said. “Always be specific about what you have to offer.”
The panel wrapped up the discussion by talking about the importance of students expanding their professional network. Each panelist recalled times when they utilized their network to help them in their careers.
“Leverage connections with people, because they will come in handy again one day,” Pickett said.
Marketing and Advertising
By Jillian Waslawski
Four IU alumni shared advice gleaned from their careers in advertising and marketing.
The panelists were Colin Carter, BA’81, creative director and principal at Mode Project; Carolyn Hadlock, BFA’89, principal/executive creative director at Young & Laramore; Jamie Luke, BAJ’96, director of content at Meredith Corp.; and Morgan Taylor, BAJ’13, associate director at Zenith Media.
Panelists began the discussion by speaking about each of their experiences joining the workforce after graduating from college. Hadlock made a career switch from nursing and advertising — it was difficult, she said, but one of the best decisions she ever made. She said that although career changes may seem daunting, students should have confidence in what they are passionate about.
“Any experience is good experience,” Hadlock said. “Find your path and trust your process.”
Luke said she always loved storytelling and knew she wanted it to be central to her career function. She urged students to be aware of what they enjoy doing in advertising and marketing, because it will help them focus in on a specific job area.
Carter and Taylor also said their first jobs did not lead directly to what they wanted to do, but were steps in the right direction.
To wrap up the discussion, the four panelists spoke about the importance of teamwork in marketing and advertising. Taylor said that in college, she found team-oriented assignments and classes to be challenging. Now, she works in teams every day.
“Teamwork is so important and goes hand in hand with communication in a place of work,” Taylor said.
DEI in Media
By Blakely Gibeaut
Five alumni spoke about their career journeys and the professional inequities they have faced as people of color.
The panelists were Araceli Gómez-Aldana, BAJ’13, news producer, reporter and weekend host at WBEZ Chicago; Charnay Pickett, BAJ’15, senior account manager at Hirons; Morgan Taylor, BAJ’13, associate director at Zenith Media; Aaricka Washington, BAJ’14, freelance journalist; and Alicia Webb, BAJ’04, director of corporate communications at Generation Bio.
The conversation touched on recent and long-standing issues, corporate trends in DEI initiatives and the weight behind a company’s response to racism.
“A lot of people are wanting their workplace to take a stance on these issues,” Pickett said. “I don’t want to work for a place that doesn’t believe Black lives matter, because I’m Black.”
Each speaker explained their own individual experiences on diversity, and several of them, at one point in their career, have been the only person of color in the workplace.
“It was a shock to see that many people of color,” Gómez-Aldana recalled about the beginning of her time at WBEZ.
The panel discussed the difference between having diverse management and having diverse employees.
“It’s just as important to have Black reporters as it is to have management,” Washington said. “Without a diverse newsroom, you are not doing your audience justice.”
As the discussion progressed, each speaker noted the importance of being an ally for people of color in the workplace, and what that does and does not look like.
“The main part of being an ally is being an advocate,” Taylor said.
She also said the key to being a good ally is advocating when the person of color is not in the room. The panelists also emphasized the importance of advocating for yourself, and not being afraid to speak up.
The panel ended with career advice and tips on how to navigate diversity in the workplace.
“When you are out there looking for that first job, be who you are,” Webb said. “Because you want to make sure the company is hiring who you are, and not who you want them to think you are.”
By Sara Kress
Three alumni documentary filmmakers spoke about the filmmaking process, including budgeting, collaborating in teams and telling other people’s stories.
The panelists were Jerald Harkness, BA’91, CEO of Studio Autuer, LLC; Elise Jaffe, BA’99, executive producer of Big Teeth Productions; and Todd Gould, BA’88, MS’16, senior producer and director at WTIU-PBS.
All the panelists were directors of documentary films, with Jaffe currently in production for her documentary directorial debut. They all said that as producers, they each are working on multiple projects right now.
Harkness, Jaffe and Gould each spoke about their love of storytelling.
“People have fascinating stories,” Gould said. “It’s up to the documentary filmmaker to find those and present them in compelling ways.”
Harkness said it’s important to be flexible while telling other people’s stories because the story of a documentary often changes during production.
“Even though you’re directing, you’re being directed at the same time,” Harkness said. “So you’re always constantly surprised when you’re doing a documentary, because narratives can go anywhere.”
Harkness said students should jump into documentary filmmaking and start working on their own projects, but they should start with ideas that are realistic.
“Because we all want to make ‘Titanic’ or ‘Avatar’ or something that’s just humongous, right?” Harkness said. “We want to do these narratives of scale. But at the end of the day you want to have an idea that’s doable.”
Jaffe said she originally planned to finish her first documentary in one year, but later learned that was not a realistic timeline for her project.
The panelists also talked about budgeting in documentary filmmaking, which they all said can be a challenge. Jaffe said it’s important to be resourceful in order to make the most of your budget.
“Just being able to look at all the tools you have and put all the pieces together the right way is crucial,” Jaffe said.