Anya OvermannFebruary 6, 2021
Anya Overmann is a freelance writer, a digital nomad, a Humanist, and an outspoken activist. Originally from St. Louis but now a traveling citizen of the world, she creates marketing content for businesses and ghostwrites books as she wanders. She is the President of Young Humanists International, a global humanist movement that defends human rights and promotes humanist values worldwide. Anya loves living a life off the beaten path, forming connections all over the globe, and being a strong voice advocating for what she believes in.
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 did not go to grad school because I was ready to see the world (part of the reason I accomplished a 4-year degree in 3 years) and boy, am I glad––I have had a much more enjoyable time not forking over thousands and thousands more dollars and instead getting the practical experience I needed to build on my degree.
What was your first job after graduation?
I went to work for my Uncle’s business in St. Louis at Team Central Gymnastics Academy/Olympia Gymnastics as a Marketing Assistant. Although my main job was marketing related, I wore many hats (partially so I could better learn the business’ ins and outs and partially so my Uncle didn’t feel like I was a nepotic hire). I also played the roles of gymnastics teacher, front desk staff, and administrative assistant.
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
I have been running my own business as a content writer for four years now. I provide marketing content services for companies, such as writing website content, blog content, email campaign content, etc. I also have shifted my business in the past couple of years to offer ghostwriting services for books. The first book I ghostwrote will be published in Spring 2021.
I am also living as a digital nomad––I gave up my apartment, sold my car and nearly all my possessions, and decided to pursue my dreams of working remotely as I wander the world. I left the US in August 2020, which was not what I had planned initially, but the timing worked out to create a safer distance from the epicenter of the pandemic and the tumultuous political situation.
I am an outspoken activist (a role that has only strengthened since I left Truman) and was raised as a Humanist. In October 2020, I was elected President of Young Humanists International, which awarded me a seat on the Board of Humanists International. I now weigh in on high-level decisions that affect human rights activism all around the world.
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
Because “COMM” is such a broad degree and accounts for our ever-changing means of communication, I’ve found my degree to be incredibly helpful. As a blend of English, Sociology, Marketing, the Humanities, and so much more, I have seen many more applications for my degree in the business world than I expected. I also believe that a Liberal Arts education is instrumental in navigating disinformation. Persuasion Theory refined my critical thinking skills and the ability to identify propaganda quickly.
Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?
Communication Law was a bear of a class. Naturally, the content in that class was much drier than, say, Family Communication or Advertising. But I’m very grateful to have taken it––knowing how to protect myself and others (and how to avoid legal issues) as a public communicator is vital.
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
Look––I’m a straight shooter: it was definitely graduating in three years while wrestling with depression and anxiety. And I graduated just in time to not have to take out any student loans.
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
Many of the professors are very supportive and genuinely interested in seeing their students succeed. When I reflect on my academic experience at Truman, I think fondly of several of my professors and the experiences they created for me. Truman is certainly not an “easy” school, but it makes the learning process far more meaningful when the professors want to build rapport with you.
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
Take Persuasion Theory. Our world is littered with dangerous propaganda and disinformation, and this class is essential in learning how to navigate what’s real and what’s a manipulation of the truth. It helps build your critical thinking skills––invaluable life skills.
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
Running your business is a challenge but it’s possible to get your own clients and have people pay you to write for them rather than work for an established business in a 9 to 5 setting. Build your experience with gig work––paid gig work.. You can start small and advocate your way into bigger and more lucrative opportunities. I write about why businesses should hire writers on my blog. Get a mentor, or even consider paying someone who specializes in helping people grow their business. When you build a reputation of producing qulaity work and promote that reputation amongst a network of people with whom you’ve built relationships, client-getting becomes easier.
What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?
The Aquadome––which I know is a relic of the past. But man, were there some fun events at that venue!
What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?
“A degree you’ll use everyday!”
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?
Advocacy – How to Advocate for Yourself & Ideas You Care About
What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?
Don’t stress yourself out with academic perfection. Most employers and clients don’t really care about what you did in school, they care if you can do the job (and frankly, how much work they can get out of you at the lowest rate). Learn as much as you can because education is truly valuable and our country is being ripped to shreds by people who don’t value education, but understand that work experience is far more valuable to the people who will pay you. And when do you eventually join the work force, advocate for yourself! Far too many employers and clients don’t pay professionals what they are worth.
Want more? Anya’s working on a project!
Anya is ghostwriting a book that will be published in Spring of 2021 called Zero to 100: The Gold Standard to Global Networking. It’s a book about how to effectively network to grow your career, business, and personal relationships through a relationship-focused, giver’s gain philosophy. Look for it soon.
If you would like to learn more of Anya’s story, you can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or her website.