Katelyn CasserlyJanuary 12, 2021
Katelyn Casserly is a project manager in St. Louis, MO. Her career path led her through a local grocery chain as a pricing coordinator, a consulting firm supporting the Monsanto/Bayer IT integration, and her most recent role as a project manager at Centene. As a project manager at Centene, Katelyn supports the product lifecycle of Centene’s commercial solutions product, Ambetter. She uses her combined education in Communication and Business to build stakeholder relationships and support cross-functional communication. Katelyn lives in St. Charles, MO with her fiancé Nathan Lamp (Kirksville native) and two dogs.
What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?
I graduated in 2016 with a concentration in Public Communication and a double minor in Business and Psychology.
What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?
During my time at Truman, I was an active member of Alpha Sigma Alpha. I had an on-campus job at the Recreation Center and HyVee grocery.
Did you go to grad school? If so, where? Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait? Why?
I attended Lindenwood University in 2017 to pursue my Masters in Business Administration with a project management focus. After I graduated from Truman, I was not sure if going to grad school was for me. After working for a year or so and having extra time, I decided it would be the best way to advance my career. Having an MBA and my Bachelors in Communication was a combination that opened more doors for me when I wanted to change career paths.
What was your first job after graduation?
After I graduated from Truman, I got a job as a pricing coordinator for Save-A-Lot Foods in St. Louis. I gained valuable experience in working in a corporate setting and the importance of taking ownership of my work. I was responsible for collecting the prices from competitors of our top 100 items and that reporting influenced the pricing decisions moving forward.
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
In 2019, I got a great job at Centene as a project manager supporting their commercial solutions product, Ambetter. As a project manager for Centene, my work includes managing the scope, risks, and status of deliverables throughout the lifecycle of the Ambetter product. I manage stakeholder relationships, develop process improvements, and manage dependencies across the various functional teams.
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
The liberal arts education I received at Truman taught me how to approach any new situation or problem with a critical lens. The ability to develop innovative solutions to problems is a skill necessary to advance your career.
Outside of work, the lessons I learned in the Communication Department taught me how to think critically about the media and to develop my own opinion. Critical thinking skills are discussed so frequently at Truman, that it is easy for students to take it for granted; however, that ability to think critically is what sets Truman graduates apart from others.
Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?
Public Speaking was always a nerve wracking class for me; however, the confidence gained from being in that uncomfortable position carried me through my future class presentations and career. Now, I lead meetings of 30+ people weekly. I’d say the lesson from that class that I carry with me now is the importance of over-preparation. It is always clear when you are in a meeting what presenters prepared the most and who barely prepared at all.
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
I am proud that I was able to balance my studies, working two jobs, and a social life.
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
Truman is a small community that provides you with the same opportunities of a big school. The student to professor ratio is small which gives students support when they need it, but also the pressure of accountability that is a good lesson to learn young. As a student at Truman, you’d be hard pressed to find a class where you’re one out of a hundred students. At graduation, you’ll have a hard time finding someone who you haven’t bumped into at a dining hall or had a group project with.
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
Develop relationships with your professors and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
Be like a sponge and absorb all you can. The first job I had out of college was not directly related to my major or project management, but I use the knowledge I learned there about communicating in a corporate environment every day. Also, it’s okay to admit that you aren’t sure about something. It’s better to not know something and go figure it out rather than pretend that you know and make a mistake.
What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?
I’m actually in Kirksville often because I’m engaged to someone from there! Still, Kirksville isn’t the same without my best friends there. Living in Kirksville was a special time in my life where I was able to live with my best friends and share experiences together.
What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?
The COMM Department . . . “You’re going to need a bike or a parking pass.”
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’d love to teach a class on project management! It’s technically a function of business but it is interlinked with my communication studies. It’s important to share with communication students what you can do with a communication degree outside of public relations and journalism.
What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?
When I was looking for a job, having “graduated from Truman State University” on my resume got me through the door more than anything else. Studying at Truman is hard work, but it’s worth it in the long run.
If you would like to learn more of Katelyn’s story, you can follow her on LinkedIn.