SCAN highlights School of Communications alumni who recently landed jobs in their field. Mandy Ellis (BA, Public Relations, 2007) works as a communications/project coordinator for Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls in St. Louis.
SCAN: How did you land your job?
Mandy Ellis: I started at my internship and then, thankfully, I did such a good job while working for them they offered me a full time position without me having to ask!
SCAN: When did you realize this was the career for you?
ME: After I realized that teaching was not the right career. I had a few majors while I was in school and I finally decided after taking classes at Meramec that PR was a good fit. With PR I knew I could shape my career to whatever job I would want — meaning I could use my writing, speaking and people skills no matter where I have a job.
SCAN: What’s the best way to prepare for an interview?
ME: Make sure you are dressed professionally no matter what job you are interviewing for and do your research.
SCAN: Any advice for those looking for a job?
ME: First find out what makes you happy and then pursue a job along those lines. Nothing is worse than waking up everyday and dreading going into work.
SCAN: What classes taught you the most about your chosen industry?
ME: Cultural Diversity at Webster with Natasha Casey. She was interesting and really knew her stuff. Everyday I walked out of there learning something new. I work with people everyday of different cultures, races and religion. She helped lay the groundwork for the type of job I am currently working.
SCAN: Best on-the-job experience so far?
ME: Being able to meet and listen to important people talk about subjects that are so important in the world right now. I have to say that so far meeting Eboo Patel (Executive Director of Interfaith Youth Core) has been the best experience so far!
SCAN: Worst on-the-job experience so far?
ME: Someone placed an ad in a program book that I was working on for fundraising. I was in charge of all the thank you letters that went out to those who donated and I completely misspelled the name of the woman who made the donation, as well as the name of her law firm. Thankfully the ad was printed correctly, but failing to double-check the spelling resulted in a not so nice phone call and letter. I was able to rectify the situation and now it’s just water under the bridge, but wow did I feel like a moron.
SCAN: Company you’d love to work for?
SCAN: Person you most admire in your field?
ME: There are two fantastic people in my field that I admire. The first being Beth Damsgaard-Rodriguez who is the director of Service Learning and Projects with Interfaith Partnership/ Faith Beyond Walls. She just gives off this energy that makes you want to do great things in the world. She has been my mentor for a long time and she helps me to see that peaceful change can take place. The second is Eboo Patel, just because he is an amazing individual.
SCAN: What Web site do you visit just to kill time?
SCAN: Best way to fuel creativity?
ME: Listen to music and dance!
SCAN: What’s on your desk right now?
ME: Postcards of places I have traveled, fake rubber lizards, picture of my family, AP style book, business cards you know the regular odds and ends of a cubicle.
SCAN: How many hours a week do you work?
ME: It depends. If I have projects or events it’s anywhere from 50–60. On a regular work week it’s about 45.
SCAN: Favorite fringe benefit of your job?
ME: Having a flexible schedule and comp time.
SCAN: Is your current salary more or less than you expected to be making at this point?
ME: It was definitely higher than expected, which was a good thing!
SCAN: What do you plan to do on your next paid vacation day?
ME: My next paid vacation will be spent in Cape Town, South Africa, working with Habitat for Humanity for two weeks in February. We will be helping build concrete homes for people in need. I am really excited to be making a difference in the world and meeting 20 different people from all around the United States that I have never met before.
SCAN: Things you miss most about Webster?
ME: What I miss the most is the social part of going to school. Right now I work in an office with 7 women and 1 man who is the executive director, so sometimes I miss being around people my age. Oh, and being able to take naps in-between classes.