Andrew GrojeanOctober 30, 2018
Andrew Grojean is a Manager of Innovation at a marketing agency in Kansas City that specializes in healthcare. He helps develop artificial intelligence technologies for the pharmaceutical industry. In 2015, Andrew was named Medical Marketing and Media’s Young Marketer of the Year.
Andrew’s hobbies include keeping up to date on pop culture, cheering on Kansas City sports teams, and playing chess. In 2016, Andrew earned the opportunity to play chess against the world chess champion, Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen. While he didn’t prove victorious, he earned a moral victory by outlasting Bill Gates’ performance against Magnus.
What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?
What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?
All of my co-curriculars were COMM-related. I was a member of the Truman Forensic Union, Truman’s speech and debate team. I was also President of Pi Kappa Delta (the honor society for debate) and VP of Lambda Pi Eta (the national honor society for Communication). My jobs included working as a TA for Dr. Clark – the COMM Department Chair at the time (now the Dean), a TA for Dr. Scholten, and working in the COMM Department Office. You could say I lived in Barnett Hall.
What was your first job after graduation?
After graduation, I became a Social Media Coordinator for Intouch Solutions, a marketing agency in Kansas City that specializes in healthcare/pharma. I led the social media technology and support efforts on the social media insights and analytics team at Intouch. My team ensured the organization used the most secure, efficient and relevant methods of executing social strategy while remaining FDA-compliant.
My responsibilities included creating content, managing social listening analysts, and being the social liaison for our development department.
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
I’m still at Intouch, but my roles have changed over the last six years. I’m now Manager of Innovation, where I help develop artificial intelligence technologies for the healthcare industry. I also lead the organization’s ideation/crowdsourcing initiatives.
I love what I do, because I get to help clients understand how to bring fun, innovative platforms to life to benefit patients, caregivers and healthcare providers. We focus on technologies like AI, virtual/augmented reality, blockchain, and other new and exciting channels.
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
Truman’s liberal arts program fostered a desire to continue learning and asking questions about how things work. There weren’t any classes about social media marketing, AI, or blockchain while I was in college, so I’ve had to learn a lot of that along the way. The analytical thinking skills and learning techniques that Truman imparted helped me develop the skills needed to grow into my current role.
Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?
I don’t think I disliked any class, but I’m especially grateful for Media Writing since it teaches story structure and the elements of proper storytelling. I use those fundamentals every day, even on the AI team.
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
My greatest accomplishment at Truman was winning state and national championships with the speech and debate team.
As most speech kids know, it takes a lot of effort every week to be successful, from writing and practicing speeches to traveling long hours and competing. I really enjoyed visiting colleges across the country to speak about topics I was passionate about, such as funding for local libraries and preventing discrimination the workplace. Winning individual and team championships made the effort worth it.
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
There’s plenty of opportunities for students to get involved. COMM students have Ad & PR Club, radio/TV/newspaper, speech and debate, and honors organizations to become a part of. I’d encourage everyone to join at least one of those!
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
Check out one of the organizations mentioned above. These groups give students the opportunity to apply the skills they’re learned and test their interests before they join the industry full-time.
Also, students should absolutely get a bike. Barnett can be a long walk! (Editor’s note – It’s not THAT long of a walk.)
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
Do as many internships as you can. I found my job at the Truman Career Fair as an internship my junior year. That gave me the experience needed in social media marketing to get hired full-time upon graduation.
If someone would like to enter the innovation field, I’d recommend lots of self-taught lessons about tech subjects that they are passionate about. The field is constantly changing, so while some Truman classes may touch briefly on these topics, experience only comes from exercising that passion in the “job world.”
What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?
Dorm life. I don’t miss the small rooms or communal bathrooms, but the people I met my freshman year are still some of my closest friends today. Shout out to Missouri Hall, 2 North!
I enjoyed hanging out with friends in the dorm lounges until 2 a.m. and using all my meal swipes at the Student Union Building. Super late nights and pre-paid meals are less frequent post-college.
What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?
I usually charge for this kind of creativity (Editor’s note – Rats! We were hoping. . .)
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?
Applied Game Theory on Reality TV – Studying game theory and analyzing strategic gameplay on shows like Big Brother and Survivor.
If you would like to learn more of Andrew’s story, you can go to his personal website or follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Here is an example video from Andrew’s YouTube channel: