Jessica ChiodiniNovember 17, 2020
Jessica is a St. Louis native and communication professional. As both a Communication and English major, Truman developed her skills and passion for working with people. Jessica is currently a Director of Client Services at Sapper Consulting, a growing marketing firm in St. Louis. Outside of work (and quarantine times) she and her partner Dan love to find great coffee, host dinners, and soak up everything St. Louis has to offer.
What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?
What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?
Did you go to grad school? If so, where? Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait? Why?
I decided not to pursue grad school after leaving Truman and haven’t found the need to go back to school in my current career path.
What was your first job after graduation?
Immediately after graduating, I started a job that found me in local Sam’s Clubs trying to sell products like hair straighteners and magic pillows. It was not what I imagined I would be doing after graduation, to say the least. I lasted for about the length of the summer and then quit to go figure out what my next step would be and accepted that finding a job would be my job for a while. Luckily I had a great support system at the time that allowed me to do that. And that first job….well, it’s something I look back on and laugh about now!
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
I currently work at Sapper Consulting, which is a growing marketing firm in St. Louis. Sapper aims to replace the cold call for other B2B businesses all over the country and deliver qualified sales leads through email. I started there about 3 years ago and fell in love with the “start up” culture and the opportunities that it brought along. I’m currently a Director in the Client Services Department and manage a team of people!
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
I don’t think I realized it at the time, but the liberal arts approach instilled in me the belief and confidence that I could do new, or hard, or uncomfortable things and succeed. It was non-negotiable at Truman. In the COMM department, we were encouraged to at least dip our toes into topics, activities, classes, etc. that would stretch you and, in the process, build your critical thinking skills. That allowed me to say “yes,” to things I might not have, even if I had to figure it out along the way. That “just say yes” mentality has never steered me wrong in my career so far and has opened up more doors than I could’ve imagined. I know I wouldn’t have felt as optimistic in those situations had I not had 4 years of good practice doing the same thing at Truman.
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 it, but Communication Law was a lot of work! I’m so grateful for it now because it’s a topic that has only gotten more and more important/interesting since graduating and in our current landscape.
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
My greatest accomplishment as Truman was completing both my English and Communication Senior Capstones at the same time (although, that was maybe bad planning on my part). They were both huge, time consuming projects. By the end of the semester, both were projects I was really proud of.
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
There are so many opportunities for students to get involved, both in the classroom and in other organizations. The community is there to be a part of as long as you’re willing. Your dollar can go far at Truman in terms of work and life experiences!
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
Get a mentor in your area of study . . . which probably means utilizing office hours early and often!
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
I’ve already alluded to this, but my best advice would be to say “yes” and trust your gut when presented with new opportunities. The job you take right now doesn’t have to be your “forever,” but if it’s going to grow your skills, knowledge, or understanding of yourself in some way, then it will serve you for whatever is next. I couldn’t have told you exactly where’d I’d be working at this point in my life when I graduated, and that’s OK. It may not come in the trajectory or timing you expect, but work hard, be kind, and remain open-minded.
What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?
I miss the literal closeness of everything–friends, learning, the incredible library . . . the HyVee! Living and learning in a community like Kirksville and a campus like Truman was something that was very special.
What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?
“The Communication Department: If you do this right, you can spin it into anything”
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?
This might academically be a stretch, but my class would cover all things Enneagram and Myers-Briggs. I’d spin it so that students could deep dive themselves to help understand the qualities of a career they might thrive in.