Greg BallesterosSeptember 8, 2020
Greg Ballesteros is from St. Louis, MO. After graduation, he moved to Kansas City and worked at AMC Theatres in the corporate headquarters in a variety of different roles for the Film Programming department. Recently, Greg moved to Los Angeles to work as a marketing manager focusing on theatrical releases for Warner Brothers Pictures. Key points of interests within the film industry include diverse storytelling, digital marketing, and program management that bridges entertainment both on and offline. Outside of work, Greg enjoys swimming with the US Masters team and cooking Asian cuisine.
What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?
I graduated in 2014, with a concentration in Public Communication.
What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?
I was a highly involved student. I fulfilled an internship with the International Center for New Media and a semester at Salzburg College in Austria. Not only did I complete electives for my major but I enjoyed the cultural immersion and ability to travel throughout Europe.
My favorite group was SAB (Student Activities Board) — simply, the best organization I joined in my college career. To this day, I still use these skills in my career that I developed during my time with the board. Additionally, I was a part of Greek Life, Lambda Pi Eta, Blue Key Honor Society, and for a couple semesters I was a radio host on KTRM and TV reporter for TMN-TV.
I had scholarship and campus jobs, like I was an Orientation Leader for Admissions, Teaching Assistant, Communication Lab Assistant, Study Abroad Ambassador, and Special Events and Social Media Intern at the Rec Center. (Editor’s note: When did you have time to study? )
I tried to get the most out of my four years at Truman to say the least.
Did you go to grad school? If so, where? Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait? Why?
I did not pursue grad school as I wanted to get industry experience to try and apply my degree. It’s a consideration that I have for my future career development.
What was your first job after graduation?
Consultant at Cerner in Kansas City.
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
I’m a manager of exhibitor marketing for Warner Brothers Pictures. My role is to work with theater chains like AMC Theaters, Regal, and Cinemark to promote WB films.
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
My liberal arts education in communication provided me with a well rounded background that has specifically aided me in my career. I have a variety of different projects that I’m involved with, such as delivering social media assets to partners for debuts, putting together presentation decks, tracking the success of marketing campaigns. In an industry that’s ever evolving and changing, my interdisciplinary education at Truman has help me work cross functionally throughout my career.
Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?
Survey Research and Communication Theory. These classes were challenging at the time; however, I think being able to cultivate a more analytical and logical mindset has strengthened my ability to be a better communicator both personally and professionally.
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
Something that I was very proud of while at Truman was creating my own SAB event. It was called Ice Cream Creations where students made ice cream on the quad. It was an event that was my own concept and it was a hit due to an amazing turn out. It’s an event that I referenced when I first began interviewing for jobs off campus as it showcased my ability to build an idea into a successful program.
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
For me personally, the connections that you make with your colleagues are some of the most memorable experiences and profound relationships that I’ve cultivated in my lifetime. Truman to me is a place where I was able to surround myself with other brilliant, genuine, and creative individuals.
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
Be specific. I always knew I wanted to do marketing, but it wasn’t till after college I discovered what I truly wanted to market. If you’re studying Public Communication and you want to do PR, ask yourself what kind of PR clients do you want to focus on? I think finding an industry and cultivating your skills makes you more marketable and having the liberal arts background supplements that specialization.
In retrospect, my passion for the Student Activities Board makes sense with interest in the entertainment industry. I’d recommend finding an activity that brings you joy. Something that you enjoy the process of and not just the outcome. Commit yourself to it and hone your craft.
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
Within the entertainment industry, relationships are key. I came into the industry without any contacts but I was able to network and meet people through concentrated efforts and time. Make sure to tap into your major’s alumni network as well as organizations you are a part of.
What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?
The cost of living!
All jokes aside, the best thing is the community. You’re able to walk and bike nearly everywhere. People at Truman know how to have fun whether it’s through the Student Activities Board or making it themselves. There’s a creative spirit and people who are around 24/7 to hang out and make memories happen.
What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?
“Communication — Find the perfect medium.”
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?
The Evolution of Entertainment. I’d love to explore the changes in the film industry over the past decade, the role of social media content, and streaming.
What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?
Hmmm…a couple pieces of advice.
The best place to study in my opinion is Pickler Library on the couch on the second floor. My favorite spot for sure.
It’s OK to change…I began my career at Cerner and I thought I had an idea of what I wanted to do. At the time of graduation, I was interested in health communication/HIV prevention campaigns and I thought that I wanted to pursue work in the health industry. But I found that my passion, skills and energy was better suited for the entertainment industry and I’m lucky that I’ve been able to carve my own path. I hope to help others by sharing my story.
I’d highly recommend studying abroad! Once you start working, it can be difficult to travel internationally so take advantage of the time and flexibility that you during the semester or after you graduate…post COVID, of course.
If you would like to learn more of Greg’s story, you can follow him on LinkedIn.