Kristyn PotterJanuary 30, 2018
Kristyn Potter graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Journalism. She relocated to Brooklyn, New York in 2012 after completing her Master’s degree at Webster University in St. Louis. Kristyn spent four years in Marketing at Sony Corporation of America, one year at New York Magazine as a Copywriter, and is currently a Senior Copywriter at Getty Images. Despite being surrounded by the best food and fun in NYC, Kristyn is still nostalgic for nights spent roaming the Kirksville Walmart, La Pachanga’s enchiladas, and spending countless hours in Truman’s Pickler Memorial Library. Kristyn is also struggling with the idea that her brother is now a senior at Truman.
What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?
I graduated in 2010 with a concentration in Journalism.
What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?
During the four years at Truman, I participated in a number of organizations, including Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, Society of Professional Journalists, Ad & PR club, Student Government, Women’s Resource Center, Association of Black Collegians, and serving as a mentor through the Multicultural Affairs Center. I’m sure there were others, but these are just the ones I remember off the top of my head!
Did you go to grad school? If so, where? Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait?
I ended up going to Webster University in St. Louis a year after I left Truman, as well as Regent’s University London (through Webster’s study abroad program). After Truman, I spent a year founding and building up an online magazine for college feminists (which has been defunct since 2013, unfortunately) – College Femme – but after a year of doing this and working at a bookstore, my mom insisted I go to grad school. Parents are always right (don’t tell her I said that!).
What was your first job after graduation?
My first job after graduating Truman (and then Webster) was in New York City at a division of Sony Corporation of America. I started out as an Executive Assistant for the VP of Marketing. After a year, I was promoted to the Marketing team as a Digital Marketing Specialist, and worked my way up from there, ending up as a Digital Marketing Manager. That was a little funny as I had a Marketing minor at Truman and dropped it, thinking I preferred Journalism to Marketing. As it turns out, there is a lot of writing involved in Marketing.
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
After working at Sony for four years, I went to New York Magazine as a copywriter. Now I am at Getty Images as a Senior Marketing Copywriter. Seems really fitting for my professional experience (especially from my time at Sony) along with my Journalism background.
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
The caliber of talent in the COMM department along with the variety of classes prepared me not only for the “real world” but helped me get a taste for various forms of communication/journalism jobs. Working on class projects in the TV (TMN-TV) and radio (KTRM-FM) studios, writing for the Index, classwork, everything has added up to where I am now. The writing-heavy courses (I’ll never forget my senior essay for Dr. Cianciola) made writing my thesis a BREEZE. Truman really prepares students for life – personally and professionally.
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
Take your professor’s advice, sign up to work for student media, and learn/experience as much as possible while there.
Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?
This question is going to get me into trouble. Let’s see … I would say each course in the COMM department was fun but challenging—professors were determined to help us grow intellectually and pushed us to do our best, and while there was no course I particularly disliked, I was challenged a great deal. Outside of the COMM department, I HATED accounting; however, as a full-fledged adult, I have to admit that my budget is run out of an Excel sheet I put together myself. So, in the long run, even that was a win.
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
Wow, good question. I would say without a doubt my greatest accomplishment was coming up with a website/blog idea for a class. That blog was a very early prototype of what would eventually become College Femme Magazine. I really feel like I made a difference with the magazine. I hired a lot of writers and really made a community of feminists. Without a doubt, having the freedom and mental space to come up with that idea—in class no less—was wonderful.
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
I can’t think of any school that is better than Truman. Out here in New York, a lot of my colleagues and friends went to NYU or Columbia (which are great schools), but as far as VALUE, Truman wins hands down. The tuition is reasonable/affordable. The town is small, which kind of forces you to grow individually and become close with your classmates.
The campus is incredible. The library is still my favorite place on earth. The professors are top-notch. The student organizations are varied and diverse, and the students are really lovely and intelligent. We end up growing in this small town over four years, testing boundaries, and being pushed incredibly hard intellectually. In the end, we come out well-rounded, strong, resilient, humble, intelligent people. Truman is simply the best.
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
I would say try to get an internship in copywriting or marketing. Read a lot of creative blogs (The Drum, Co.Create, Adweek). Follow ad agencies on Twitter. Lastly, don’t be afraid to take risks, whether that means moving to New York City or applying to an ad agency in a creative (read: unconventional) way.
What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?
The library and, oddly enough, Sodexo french fries with spicy sauce.
What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?
“Cultivating effective and multidimensional communicators.”
If you could come back to Truman and teach a class for a semester, what would be its title and what would it be about?
Copywriting – It would focus on the art of copywriting for multiple facets/layers of business: advertising copy, marketing copy, etc.
If I could teach another class, it would be Marketing Writing (or Content Marketing) – It would focus on white papers, social media, infographics, blogs, etc.
What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?
I think it’s important for people to know (and I speak for other alums as well) that Truman is invaluable for personal growth in its many forms. Its accessible education, partnered with genuine and intelligent students/peers, makes for an ideal learning experience. I wouldn’t be where I am without Truman. A lot of my best friends are from Truman, and we all have a similar foundation built on curiosity and the ongoing pursuit of knowledge. Truman offers so many opportunities, and I would recommend students take advantage of that. Learn and experience as much as possible, because it makes the “real world” so much more manageable.