Paige HowardNovember 4, 2020
Paige Howard grew up in St. Louis and is currently working there as well. She has worked in multiple industries and spent time at marketing agencies and in-house as well. She lives with her best friend (adopted from the Adair County Humane Society 5 years ago). Self-described as an INFJ intent on creating, impacting, learning, and seeing as much as possible in life.
What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?
I graduated in Spring 2016 and my concentration was Public Communication.
What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?
As an undergrad – I participated in Tau Lambda Sigma, spending time as the Executive Board Vice President, the Executive Board Service Chair, and active member as well. I was a member of the AD/PR Organization and spend a short time as the Executive Board President. I served as the Fundraising Chair as well as a regular member of Alpha Kappa Psi. I was honored to join Lambda Pi Eta in 2017 and serve on committees. And finally, I was selected for Truman’s Homecoming Committee as Philanthropy Chair.
Did you go to grad school? If so, where? Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait? Why?
I did go to grad school. I stayed at Truman immediately following my undergrad experience to earn my MA in Leadership. I had been told by my friends and family how hard it was to try to do it later, so kept at it. I knew that grad school would not result in a higher salary in the job positions I wanted, but I still felt a need to learn as much as I could, while I had a chance to.
What was your first job after graduation?
My first job after graduating was the result of an unpaid internship I had as part of my grad program. I worked as an Account Executive at Think Tank PR & Marketing in St. Louis. I had not planned to work at a creative agency, but I learned a lot and enjoyed my time there. I got to see how talented the local marketing community was, which got me hooked.
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
I have spent most of my time since graduation working in marketing and advertising. I started out on the creative side of the spectrum, doing a lot of graphic design, photo shoots, video production, social media, content creation, etc. Since then, I’ve shifted to the technical end of the spectrum, doing more web design and development, SEO (technical, content, and local), PPC advertising, display, shopping, web analytics, and technical reporting.
Currently, I am working on the Client Marketing team at a custom software company named Unidev. The marketing team is not large, like the agencies I worked at, but the clients are challenging, making the work extremely fulfilling. I love being able to send clients reports each month showing them how each campaign is driving their business goals forward.
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
Being a liberal arts student had me prepared to work will all types of people, businesses, and projects (the ones I was and was NOT excited about). My COMM education in particular helped me be able to speak to clients in ways they preferred, helped them make sense of miscommunications with superiors, and generally build a rapport with each of them on a personal level.
Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?
I wouldn’t say I disliked the class because of the course itself, but I struggled with the Political Communication course at the time I took it. I had always been active in my community through volunteering, but I never took an interest in public policy. The class forced me to apply a different lens to everything I cared about and really sparked my interest in politics (one I really had no clue was buried deep inside). Now, it allows me to speak to people with differing opinions in a productive manner, see every side of an argument, and understand how our laws govern so much more than just our communication.
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
My greatest accomplishment at Truman was serving on the Homecoming Committee as a Fundraising Chair. I never saw myself as one to lead groups of any size, so this gave me the chance to develop those skills. Our fundraising events resulted in $14,000+ for local charities.
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
Truman is a great place for a student to study because it pushes you out of your comfort zone. Kirksville is a small town, so you tend to get involved in organizations and clubs to keep busy. These are the places where you make unforgettable friends and memories.
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
I think every COMM student should get involved in the Truman Media Network (TMN). Sadly, switching majors so late kept me from joining, but I believe the experience from TMN is something most people won’t get an opportunity to have outside of college. Friends that participated in TMN spoke so highly of it, which is why I don’t want anyone else to feel they missed an opportunity like I had.
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
For anyone wanting to go into the industry of marketing, I’d recommend they speak to as many marketing professionals as possible before applying for their first jobs. You don’t know if you will love a job until you try it. I thought the creative-side would be what I loved, and while I did like it, it wasn’t until I found myself working with the data that I found the part of marketing that I loved. Try the job you aren’t sure about, take the internship, because you won’t know unless you try.
What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?
The biggest thing I miss about campus was seeing friends every single day. I live in the same city as plenty of my friends from school, but so many of us took for granted the amount of time we had together while at Truman.
What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?
“Communication: The major everyone needs in their toolkit.”
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?
My class would have to be SEO: What the hell is it? I have worked so much in this area and people still refer to it as internet magic and I hear clients working from common myths all the time. I wish I had more of an understanding of it before going into the industry because, so few professionals know how technical it is, yet how fundamental it is to all marketing efforts.
What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?
I think it is especially important in Communication to experience other cultures. I spent a summer abroad while at Truman and it still resonates in my work and conversations. Just last week we were contacted by an international client and they needed writing done in Spanish. My boss had completely forgotten that I knew Spanish, so we were able to offer that and understand the nuance needed for writing to that audience. Every experience is important and will help at one point or another in your career!
If you would like to learn more of Paige’s story, you can follow her on LinkedIn.