One of my favorite article series is “Behind the Pencil (Skirt)” that Levo League does about once a week. The website – which focuses on providing useful information and resources for young professional women – uses this series to highlight 20-something women who are making waves in their respective career fields. I definitely recommend it for anyone interested in learning about the wide variety of careers that are out there and learning from your peers.
Whenever I read “Behind the Pencil (Skirt)”, though, I always wonder how my friends and network of 20-something women would answer these questions. After all, I know a great group of young professionals who are working in all sorts of fields, in the city and in the country. Wouldn’t it be neat to learn more about them and their careers? So, that’s what I’m doing.
My friend, Kelly Rivard – or, rather, “sister from another mister” as we like to refer to ourselves – kindly agreed to be my guinea pig for this project. I hope you enjoy learning more about her!
Rural northeastern Illinois
North Central College (IL), Interactive Media Studies Major
Job title and company:
SEO & Social Media Specialist, PlattForm
Brief description of PlattForm:
PlattForm is a full-service marketing agency with a specific focus on vocational and continuing education.
Where were you before PlattForm?
I was previously with AdFarm, a full-service agency that specializes in agricultural clients.
How did you become interested in SEO and social media?
As an Interactive Media major, I was always fascinated by developing digital communications trends. Even though my focus was graphics, I accidentally became involved in the “social media revolution” of agriculture, often referred to as “agvocacy.” I landed some really life-changing internships in agriculture that focused on social media, which led to my first full-time job out of college at AdFarm. As the social media coordinator there, I learned a lot of valuable skills. Eventually, my career took an unexpected turn and I got the opportunity to learn some new skills as an SEO and social media specialist for PlattForm.
Around the Office
Office culture in a few words:
Nurturing, empowering, and fun.
A day at work looks like:
Every day is different. Usually, my day is a combination of organized chaos and unexpected situations. The job is stressful, but rewarding beyond belief.
Favorite part of your job:
Working in education, I get to know that the work I do changes lives.
Biggest challenge you face at your job:
Time management. So much of my job is free-flowing, independent work with lots of surprises that sometimes it feels like fitting 10 gallons of stuff in a 5 gallon bucket — but it’s fantastic.
Apps (or other tech) you can’t live without:
My Outlook Calendar, my iPhone calendar, and my iPhone clock for timers, alarms, and reminders.
Your personal style in a few words:
A hot mess? The only shoes I like to wear on a daily basis are cowgirl boots and Chuck Taylor high-tops.
Office dress code:
“Smart casual.” Jeans and a t-shirt is acceptable most days; dress for the occasion for different types of meetings.
Go-to work outfit:
Jeans, boots or Chucks, and a t-shirt or cute top depending on my mood!
Clear or pink lip gloss, sunglasses, and a Swiss Army knife with a nail file.
Hit snooze as many times as I can get away with. Get up, get dressed, walk my dog, then pack a lunch and head to work. I talk to my boyfriend on the phone for a few minutes, and then listen to 96.5 The Buzz for the rest of my 30-40 minute commute to work.
Favorite spot for brunch:
My boyfriend’s apartment. We love breakfast food. His kitchen is bigger than mine so I love to go over there and cook omelets, French toast, and breakfast burritos for us!
On Saturday, you can be found:
On adventures with my dog and/or friends and/or boyfriend. Or, volunteering. I’m a chronic philanthropist.
Favorite spot for a 10-minute break:
Somewhere inside of a book. I’m currently reading Clash of Kings, the second book from the series that Game of Thrones is based on.
One thing everyone should do when visiting your city:
Kansas City is an AMAZING food city. Find a local favorite restaurant (or several) and eat yourself stupid.
Reading, painting, video games (I have a pink xBox 360 controller), and volunteering with the American Cancer Society.
Cause you’re passionate about:
Mental health awareness. Statistics say that as a bipolar woman, I should not be as successful, happy, and stable as I am. Yet, here I am, kickin’ ass and takin’ names. Anyone can succeed if they have the willpower and support structure!
At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A veterinarian/professional artist/a flute player in a world-famous symphony.
Someday I’d love to work in a non-profit setting. I have a very charitable soul, and making a difference gives me a deep sense of satisfaction in my job.
Encouraging Other Women
My parents (my mom, my dad until he passed when I was 12, and my step-dad) have worked hard to give me and my siblings a good foundation in our lives. My mom is especially inspiring to me. No matter how tough life gets, she smiles and does what we needs to for those she loves most.
Best advice you’ve ever received:
Have confidence. I struggle with confidence every day of my life; I KNOW I’m good at what I do, I KNOW I’m a good person, but knowing and feeling are two different things.
I have had so many! I’ve stood on the backs of giants to get where I am today, and I only hope I can pass on wisdom like I’ve received from them over the years. A few to mention: Katie Pinke, who was a supervisor for my internship with AdFarm; Libby Hall, who was my supervisor when I was Social Media Coordinator for AdFarm; Mark Gale, who gave me my first ever agency experience as a 20-year-old intern; Janice Person, who has more wisdom than any single person should be allowed to keep in their own head.
In 10 years…
I will be one of those crazy women juggling a family and a professional life.
Career wisdom for young professional women:
Don’t ever pigeon-hole yourself – don’t assume you can’t do a job because you’re a woman, you’re “too girly,” “too nice,” or “too young.” If you have the experience, drive, and passion to do it, go for it!