Samantha Arvin

Samantha Arvin

December 1, 2020

Samantha Arvin (2020)

Samantha is a 29-year-old Truman grad working in the advertising industry in St. Louis. She bought her first house at the beginning of quarantine and has been fixing it up ever since with her trusty steed (her dog, Belle) at her side. Samantha loves to cook, is Harry Potter obsessed (so much so that she recently wrote a Harry Potter themed version of Cardi B’s “WAP”), and is actively trying not to kill her plants. She’s just trynna’ live that Covid-free life (Wear a mask)!

What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?

I graduated with a BA in Public Communication and a BFA in Creative Writing in 2014.

What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?

I was an editor and Public Relations manager for Windfall Literary Magazine.  I also worked in the library at the IT Help Desk.

*I should mention I was probably of very little help, being very inept at all things IT. Shoutout to literally every coworker who helped me troubleshoot all of my callers’ problems.

Samantha (left) and friends at the annual International Dinner on campus (2014).

Did you go to grad school? If so, where?  Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait?  Why?

I did not end up going to grad school.

What was your first job after graduation?

I got an internship at Fleishman Hillard in the Corporate PR department. At the end of the internship I had secured an entry level position as an Assistant Account Executive at an ad agency called Group360 Worldwide (now called We Are Alexander).

What work do you do/What are you doing now?

I’m a Senior Account Executive at New Honor Society, a boutique advertising agency in STL, owned by FCB and a part of the Interpublic Group (IPG). As a Senior Account Exec, I own client relationships and manage a creative team made up of designers, writers and video editors.

Samantha (3rd from right) and her cowrokers celebrating the holidays at the office party (2019).

How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?

Honestly in so many ways – I was able to get two degrees, one in Public Communication and one in Creative Writing, and take so many classes that gave me a well-rounded education that really influenced my career. I have a brain that can be creative, but also knows how to deal with the business side of things. It’s so important when you are on an account team at a creative agency that you can do both things. Understanding the creative process/relating to your creative team members is just as important as making your clients trust you to keep their budget and their strategy top of mind.

Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?

I didn’t love taking Communication Law, BUT now I deal with communication law literally every week. I help manage the design process for all digital ads for my clients, and I’ve organized and been on set for several commercial video shoots. I have to know how usage rights work and what happens when they expire, how to make sure you have the right rights for the format, and so much more. In fact, I wish I could take the class all over again because it’s so relevant to what I do.

What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?

I loved editing and managing public relations for the literary magazine, Windfall. It was really my first experience at overseeing a piece of creative that was produced and got into the hands of real live people. Now I do that every day!

Samantha (4th from left on couch) hanging out with the office during a bar crawl (2019).

Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?

The teacher to student ratio is amazing – I really got to know my professors and we’ve kept in touch since graduation. They take a real interest in your development and want you to succeed.

What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?

If The Washington Center is still an active partner with Truman, I would say I 100% recommend applying for it. The Washington Center came my Junior year to Dr. Self’s class, and gave a presentation on it’s D.C. internship program. It’s fantastic – if you get in after you apply, they set you up with interviews in top communication departments in DC. I interviewed with The Human Rights Campaign, No Labels, and the Peace Corps. I ended up getting the job at the Peace Corps, in their Press Office.

Samantha (right) celbratingthe Fourth of July during her DC internship (2013).

The program is so much more than the internship – you live in a downtown apartment with all of the other students in the program, there are guest speakers (politicians, reps from Google, start-ups, etc), I took a class at the Associated Press (which was incredible) on media and the movies, and just had so many other wonderful opportunities that I’m grateful for.

(Editor’s note – For more information on internships in Washington, DC, check out the Truman in Washington Program.)

What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?

Get an internship! Get two internships! They are so valuable. In advertising, it’s key to get that internship level experience. Most agency internships are honest representations of what the job will be like.  I should know, I run my agency’s current internship program! We really try to give you the real experience of what that entry level job will be, which is why HR reps and hiring managers really look for prior internships when they get applications for entry level jobs.

What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?

I really miss living within walking distance of my closest friends. Seriously, treasure the time you have with your friends in college.

I also miss Pickler. How many times did I stay until they closed trying to write a paper in the coffee shop? Somehow, working in a library surrounded by books and the smell of coffee is so much more appetizing than working from home.

What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?

“COMM as you are, Leave Prepared” 😉

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?

Samantha (right) and a friend after graduation (2014).

I’d love to teach a class that really looks at unconscious bias and the need for diversity in advertising. There are so many examples of agencies and companies that get it wrong – that clearly did not have minorities in the room when decisions were being made. Campaigns that are targeting a large audience need to represent that audience – there should be a person on the team, in the room, that has lived experiences that can inform the client, and the rest of the agency, about how someone from their background would view the material.

What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?

Advertising can be a tough industry. Our workforce is dependent on our client roster, and if we lose a client, we potentially lose the team of people that were working on that client. Layoffs are not unheard of and I’ve witnessed a few – that being said, there is a robust ad industry in St. Louis (and in Kansas City and Chicago – to name a few more nearby cities) and we look out for each other. I have a network of former coworkers that I can look to if something happens – we’re all a family. It’s a great industry to be a part of, and I’m grateful to be accepted into it.

Check out the website and video the women in Samantha’s agency put together for International Women’s Day in 2018. Samantha noted “It talks about the importance of women remembering we don’t have to apologize for all the things we are constantly apologizing for. Spread the word!”



If you would like to learn more of Samantha’s story, you can follow her on Instagram as well as New Honor Society.


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