How Whitney Gelnett ’10 Landed a Full-Time PA Job in Los Angeles


Whitney Gelnett (BA, Film Production, 2010) took a leap of faith this year when she packed her bags and headed west to Los Angeles. It took some dogged determination but after four months Whitney landed her first full-time gig. She shares her story and some advice for those looking to follow in her footsteps with SCAN:

I need to preface this by saying that this is by no means all you need to know about getting a PA job. This is just how I did it. I was asked to answer these questions in an interview with a friend of mine and figured I’d post them to spread a bit of what I’ve learned out here so far to those of you back in St. Louis or those of you who are curious. Hope it proves useful 🙂

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Prints to benefit Joplin tornado victims


There is always a way to help.

After seeing the destruction left behind by the tornado that swept through Joplin earlier this month, a handful of the folks at St. Louis-based Moosylvania are putting their talents to use and raising funds for victims. Rachel Hamblin (BA, Advertising and Marketing Communications, 2006) is one of those involved.

“Moose is the kind of place where if you have an idea and the energy, we’ll push you and give you support and let you fly,” Hamblin told the Maplewood-Brentwood Patch.

Moosylvania’s idea? Design and produce 16 original prints devoted to Joplin, sell the prints and send the profits to Southwest Missouri. The artwork already has been available online for a week and 200 prints have already been sold. Prints are $25 each and can be viewed and purchased through PayPal.

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Jaime Williams ’03 Releases Latest Single


Jaime Williams (BA, Media Communications, 2003) always enjoyed music and singing in her church choir, but she never really thought of it as a way to make a living, or even as a subject in which to earn a degree.

“[Singing] is something that I’m naturally good at, but if there’s too much structure around it I lose that passion,” she said. “I didn’t want it to be something I had to do. I just thought music would always be sort of a hobby for me. It was something I did at church.”

Williams instead enrolled at Webster University to become a marketing professional. And she did become one … marketing herself to a successful singing career. “Because of my background at Webster, I’m very, very picky about my personal branding,” Williams said. “It’s just me.”

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Promoting St. Louis’ Quirks

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently interviewed brothers Randy and Jeff Vines (MA, Media Communications, 2006) about the company they both own and operate, STL Style.

The company produces T-shirts, posters, messenger bags and paraphernalia that focus on the people and places in St. Louis. Here’s a copy of the conversation as it ran in the Post-Dispatch:

Your tagline is “You can’t spell Style without STL.” What do you say to people who make fun of St. Louis:

Randy: Most of the negative comments come from ignorance. A lot of people who are down on the city are maybe suburbanites who don’t take the time to know and love the city. There are a lot of misconceptions out there.

But you both grew up in Creve Coeur …

Jeff: Yes, but we fell in love with the city early. We would take the bistate bus into the city in the early ’90s when the city wasn’t so great. We ended up producing an hourlong Saturday TV show on Double Helix television Channel 21 called the “XYZ” show. It included live interviews, comedy skits, call-ins and it was all about the city. That was a unique experience as high schoolers that solidified our love of St. Louis. Continue reading

48 Hours and Bevy of Awards



A pair of teams comprised of several Webster University alumni and students took home some of the top awards from the 2010 St. Louis 48 Hours Film Project earlier this week.

Altered Image Productions — led by alums Zach Ginnever, Stephen Jones and Aaron Wiesen — nabbed the award for Best Directing and its film “Under Construction: The Charles Crosby Story” was named Runner Up for Best Film. Webster student Conor E.K. Dagenfield earned the Best Actor award for his role in the film. Current students Austin Childress, Matt Freeman and Matt Wills also helped produce the film.

Caffeine Tambourine Productions, which included Webster students Thom Murry and Josh Miller, won the audience award for its film, “Delivery to Apartment Q.”

The 48 Hour Film Project is a wild and sleepless weekend in which teams of filmmakers make a movie—write, shoot, edit and score it—in just 48 hours. On Friday night, the teams get a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre, all to include in the movie. 48 hours later, the movie must be complete. Then it is shown at a local theater, usually in the next week.

In 2009, nearly 40,000 filmmakers made 3,000 films in in 76 cities, including St. Louis.

Mother/Daughter Duo Making a Name for Themselves


Webster University alumna Taran Hensley will grace the red carpet later this month at the 37th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards in Las Vegas, Nev. — and it’s a gourmet pretzel that got her there.

Hensley (BA, Media Communications, 2003) is a marketing professional, an entrepreneur and president of Mom’s Originals, a local business specializing in gourmet pretzels, treats and more. Hensley and her mother Jody will travel to the ceremony to distribute their treats to stars traversing the red carpet.

An estimated 1,400 guests are expected to depart with an Official Emmy Gift Bag.”I don’t think the paparazzi is going to be all over us or anything, but who knows what’s going to happen?” Hensley said. “We’re pretty excited.” Continue reading

Educating Refugees from Her Home in Thailand


Part of Webster University’s educational mission is to seek out and fulfill unmet needs. It’s a mission Lisa Nesser (BA, Photography, 2000) took to heart and applied halfway around the world.

Nesser is the founder of Thai Freedom House, a school she operates out of her home in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The school caters to refugees and indigenous people living in the area, providing educational opportunities to those who may not be able to secure them otherwise.

“While working through other organizations I saw a need that wasn’t being addressed – education for the street kids that are usually refugees or indigenous (hill tribe) people,” Nesser said. “There was nowhere for them to get an education, no where for them to feel safe and be kids. Continue reading

Rob DesHotel ’88 Named 2010 Outstanding Alumnus

televisionRob DesHotel earned a bachelor’s degree in media communications from Webster’s St. Louis campus in 1988. The native St. Louisan moved to Los Angeles in 1989 with his drums and electric typewriter, determined to make it as either a drummer or a writer.  DesHotel landed his first job as a production assistant on the NBC daytime soap opera “Santa Barbara,” and was promoted to a writer’s assistant after a year.

After two years on “Santa Barbara,” he got a job working at Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions (“Soap” and “The Golden Girls”), where he was a writer’s assistant on two shows that quickly came and went: “Good & Evil” and “Nurses.”

During this time, he and his then-partner wrote a “Simpsons” spec, which eventually helped them get their first jobs as staff writers on “Hope & Gloria.” They then quickly landed an agent at Creative Artists Agency, and more jobs — writing shows like Nickelodeon’s “The Adventures of Pete & Pete,” and USA’s “Duckman.” Continue reading

The Chicken and the Egg of Marketing

The following guest blog was written by Colin Pennington (BA, Public Relations, 2009), a member of the St. Louis -based public relations team at Brighton.

logoWe’ve all heard the cliché “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” Well I’m going to put a little marketing spin on it. What came first, the ad or the PR story? The answers to the question can vary, but no mater what, it has impact on the marketing industry.

In today’s struggling economy, there are a lot of ideas out there about the best marketing strategies to get the highest return on your investment.

Is there one particular strategy that works best? Probably not. Different marketing strategies work for different companies in different industries. It is, however, important to keep in mind how each marketing function relies on the other to thrive and how different companies rely on those functions. This is especially true in B2B marketing where traditional media is still relied on heavily. Continue reading