Olivia LoudermanMay 4, 2021
Olivia Louderman is an experienced event professional with a background in sports, nonprofit, international travel, and overnight summer camp! Olivia’s dynamic background across multiple industries and critical eye for process improvement has guided her toward following a passion for organizational development and change management. She is currently is a Meeting Event Manager with Maritz Global Events as well as an adjunct instructor at State Technical College of Missouri. Olivia earned her B.A. in Communication at Truman State University and her M.A. in Organizational Development at Webster University.
What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?
I graduated in 2016 with a concentration in Public Communication.
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! One of my favorite courses at Truman was Organizational Communication with Dr. Michelle Kleine. I think I was one of the few students who loved this course, and I developed a passion for organizational communication theory along with organizational psychology. I found myself reading the many books of Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, and Brene Brown. In the summer of 2019, I started taking courses to attain my Masters in Organizational Development at Webster University. I successfully graduated in December 2020. I plan to eventually get my Ed.D. in Organizational Learning and Leadership!
What was your first job after graduation?
After graduation, I moved to New York City to take an internship which later turned into a fulltime job with JDRF International. It was a marketing role, and I quickly learned marketing is NOT my thing. In January of 2017, I took a “cool” job with the 2016 World Series Champions Chicago Cubs, and worked in a variety of roles around their front office (sorry to my Cardinals and Royals fans!). It was an amazing experience, and I absolutely loved my time in the Windy City. After helping plan an 8,000 attendee convention for Chicago Cubs fans, I faced the truth that my passion was more than just sports or marketing, it was events! As a member of the Student Activities Board and head of Greek Week Committee at Truman, I knew the stress that event planning caused, and I told myself I didn’t want to do this in my professional life… yet, here I am. You can’t avoid your passions!
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
In 2018, I moved back home to the great state of Missouri and worked for an organization called Maritz Travel, helping plan and execute events all over the WORLD – yes, the world – traveling to places like Thailand, Japan, Ireland, Poland, Hawaii, and so much more! It was so thrilling and adventurous. Unfortunately, the pandemic caused the traveling to cease and my job no longer became necessary. I was laid off – words I never thought I would say.
I took the layoff as an opportunity to better myself: went back to school, started my own event consulting, and even renovated a house.
After taking on a variety of odd jobs, I’m pleased to say that I’m back with Maritz Global Events as a Meeting Event Manager. I help clients design and execute corporate events around the world. Events have been a part of my life since helping plan my 6th grade Valentine’s Day Dance. There is one event that I will never forget being a part of, and that’s the 2016 Iowa Caucuses. The unique experience of attending the 2016 Iowa Caucuses, thanks to Dr. Self and Dr. Yaquinto, helped me understand all the moving parts involved in large-scale events – political or not.
(Here is the link to the blog Olivia wrote while covering the caucuses in 2016)
I also teach a Job Search Strategies class at State Technical College of Missouri. It is so great to be helping students with the job search process as it’s become more daunting and demeaning than ever. I help teach not only resume building, but also the importance of self-confidence and mental toughness.
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
Critical thinking is KEY! My liberal arts degree has taught me that there are many ways to evaluate and assess a problem. It also helped me understand the importance of being vulnerable and open to other ways of thinking. At Truman, I came across a diverse array of personalities, and learning to work with people of all different backgrounds has proved so beneficial in my career.
Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?
Ugh, I hated Experimental Methods and Survey Research. At the time, I remember thinking “Why does a COMM major have to learn about research?” I am SO grateful to have learned the basics of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies because I used both research practices when writing my thesis for my masters degree!
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
Never getting a parking ticket! Haha!
But in all honesty, I was really proud when Dr. Self asked me to be a discussion leader in one of his classes. I also take pride in graduating early with Departmental Honors. (Editor’s note: Well, you were kinda a big deal.)
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
I remember calling my mom after two weeks on campus and saying, “Mom, everyone is smarter than me.” It was extremely intimidating, however, Truman taught me to embrace who I am and bring my guard down to learn and discover the things I didn’t know. Truman taught me what it means to be a life-long learner.
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
Take a course outside of your major that interests you! I dabbled in political science and learned many transferrable theories and concepts from Dr. Candy Young. I also had the amazing opportunity to take a course with (former president) Dr. Troy Paino that I will never forget.
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
Never stop learning and never stop exploring. Find mentors in the field and use your connections.
What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?
The hill to Barnett…. NOT! I don’t miss that treacherous, terrifying, ice-covered path whatsoever.
As cheesy as this sounds (and I don’t think you can find this elsewhere), I miss the feeling and sense of wonder, determination, and aptitude to learn that EVERY student and faculty member embodied. There is nothing that compares to this, not even living in New York City.
What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?
“Man is a CYMBAL-using animal.”
I can’t remember the exact phrase from Kenneth Burke, but this image and quote has been ingrained in my mind thanks to Dr. Self.
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?
Changing the Business Landscape through Organizational Communication Theory: The class would teach the importance of communication, social learning, and perspective taking to build a positive, productive work environment.
Dr. Self – if you ever need a guest lecturer, let me know! (Editor’s note: Got it!)
What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?
I studied communication because I took COMM 170 with Prof. Ed Rogers and quickly realized I enjoyed learning about public speaking and communication whereas none of my classmates did… I came into Truman as an undecided major, and today, I am still undecided on what life will bring. The biggest piece of advice I can give is find what you love to learn about and what stimulates your brain then pursue that path of learning until the next door opens. Happiness will follow.
If you would like to learn more of Olivia’s story, you can follow her on LinkedIn.