Erin (Cicotte) FrantaOctober 20, 2020
Erin (Cicotte) Franta is a communications professional based in St. Louis, MO. Since 2016, she has worked for FleishmanHillard, a global public relations and digital marketing agency. A member of the agency’s Talent + Transformation practice, Erin helps organizations drive employee engagement through effective internal communications. In her spare time, she enjoys going on adventures with her husband, Christian (’14), and their two pups, Calvin and Chester.
What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?
What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?
During my time at Truman, I was a member of the social sorority Alpha Sigma Alpha and honor society Cardinal Key. I was also a member of the American Marketing Association and Lambda Pi Eta. I worked on campus at Truman’s Public Relations Office and Student Recreation Center.
Did you go to grad school? If so, where? Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait? Why?
This August, I graduated with my master’s degree in Human Resources Development from Webster University. For me, it was important to wait a few years and gain full-time professional experience before starting my graduate program. A critical part of the curriculum was being able to share and learn from classmates’ real life examples.
What was your first job after graduation?
I started as a public relations intern at FleishmanHillard, a global public relations and digital marketing agency, in St. Louis, MO.
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
I continue to work for FleishmanHillard today as an Account Supervisor in our Talent + Transformation practice group. The scope of the work I do is focused on helping our clients communicate effectively to their employees through strategic planning, employee engagement initiatives, change management, editorial strategy and writing, and project management.
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
Being able to take complex problems and find a strategic solution is at the heart of what I learned at Truman. The critical thinking skills gained through my Liberal Arts/COMM education have given me the tools I need to think on my feet, ask smart questions, and deliver content in a meaningful way.
Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?
Public Speaking. Learning how to communicate topics clearly and practicing delivery is so key to a career in communication.
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
Completing my dual degree in four years. There was never a dull or light semester, but every credit hour was worth it.
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
The Liberal Arts curriculum, paired with a wide-range of extra-curricular activities, make the undergraduate experience rewarding for any student who is willing to get involved.
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
Get an on-campus internship or job to build writing and communication skills during the school year.
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
Start writing. Writing and editing are so important to a career in public relations or communication. Whether it’s an internship, pro bono work, or campus news media, practicing writing in different formats and on different topics will set you up for success. Asking for feedback on your writing from professors, supervisors, and peers will help improve your writing and open the door to learn others’ style.
What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?
The community. Whether heading to class, a service project, or local community event, you are never far from a friendly face in Kirksville.
What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?
How about “Communication: The degree that gives you the skills to pave your own path.”
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?
I would teach a class on Employee Communications to give students a glimpse into the types of communication and writing required for internal audiences, such as executive communications, change communications, HR communications and more.
If you would like to learn more of Erin’s story, you can follow her on LinkedIn.