Burgundy (Ramsey) HillApril 19, 2022
Burgundy (Ramsey) Hill lives in Quincy, IL, and serves as the Executive Director of Quincy Community Theatre. Burgundy majored in Communication at Truman State University and has a Master’s degree in Communication from Quincy University. She currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for Cornerstone: Foundations for Families and volunteers on the marketing committee at the Quincy Art Center. Burgundy is passionate about nonprofit marketing, development, and advocacy. She also enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with friends and family, including her husband Blaine who she met while they both attended Truman.
What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?
What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?
I was a writer, photographer, and graphic designer for Detours and a member of Tau Lambda Sigma.
Did you go to grad school? If so, where? Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait? Why?
After graduating from Truman, I went directly into the workforce, but I did end up going back to grad school in 2016. I graduated with a MA in Communication from Quincy University in 2017. I’m really grateful that I had a gap in between. Taking a little bit of time, made me appreciate the education I received and helped me feel more prepared to take on more.
What was your first job after graduation?
My first “grown-up” job was working as a production designer for the Quincy Herald-Whig. I got to help layout pages and prep everything for pre-press. It was pretty short-lived, but between that and my experience Detours, I was prepared for my second job which was marketing for a local nonprofit where the primary marketing piece was a bi-monthly magazine promoting local arts events. It was my job to put that together from start to finish. It’s where I started my career in nonprofits.
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
I am currently the Executive Director of Quincy Community Theatre.
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
I can draw a straight line from the skills I learned at Truman to where I am now, with those skills growing and building at each step of the way thanks to the knowledge I gained while there. First of all, my COMM education was excellent. I don’t think I realized at the time, just how much I was learning and how much it prepared me for a career in communication. It became very apparent when I was in grad school and I saw how much better of a foundation I had than some of my classmates. More than that though, the liberal arts education taught me to ask questions and look at the big picture. Those two traits were pivotal in taking the skills I learned from the Communication Department into the world of nonprofit leadership.
Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?
I despised Experimental Methods. No one told me I would be taking a stats class for my COMM degree. Looking back, I don’t know that I would say I was grateful, but I did learn a lot about data and surveys. More importantly, I learned to recognize bad data and how statistics can be manipulated to fit a narrative.
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
The biggest accomplishment was every time we finished an issue of Detours. We spent weeks working on it and to see your hard work come together, and culminate in this beautifully printed piece was incredible. It always felt very gratifying to open the boxes and see the cover for the first time in print.
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
Truman is a first-rate university where students can get an incredible education. I was challenged academically and forced out of my comfort zone. But more than that, it’s a place where your professors know who you are and are invested in your success. At Truman, I not only learned to pursue but to also persevere.
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
I think a must for COMM students at Truman is getting involved in TMN. That hands-on experience was critical to my success, even though I didn’t have any intention of going into journalism. It put me leaps and bounds ahead of other recent college grads when I was looking for my first job because it gave me practical experience. I left Truman with a portfolio of work that extended well beyond the classroom.
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
My advice would be to get comfortable being outside of your comfort zone. I’m always growing and learning. Working in a nonprofit means that each day is a little different. My role on any given day could be in administration, marketing, grant writing, finance, human resources, facilities, or information technology. Get comfortable asking questions and seeking out more information when you need it.
What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?
Most of all, I miss the community of people I was surrounded by in Kirksville. While at Truman, I found a chosen family. It’s a lot harder to see some of those friends now that we aren’t just across campus from each other.
What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?
“Caffeinate early, caffeinate often.”
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 would probably teach something in nonprofit management that focused specifically on advocacy and storytelling.
What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?
The worst anyone can ever tell you is no. Don’t be afraid to ask the question.