Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I was born and raised in Ann Arbor. I did my undergrad at John Carroll University in communications, and then moved back to Ann Arbor and worked in marketing and public relations for about four years. I was mostly at agencies around metro Detroit. 

I went back to grad school and got my Master's in Educational Studies at U-M through the MAC (Master of Arts in Secondary Education with Certification) program (and) became a high school teacher. I taught English and a little bit of American history. And then I had a bit of a break -- I had two boys who are now eight and six. I’ve spent the last four years working at Motawi Tileworks, which is a ceramics studio and art gallery here in town. I was their marketing coordinator for about four years. 

I have loved teaching and working in educational environments, and I have also always loved communications, especially writing, and helping other people tell their stories. To be able to do that in an educational environment is a merging of both of those interests and career paths. 

Are there specific things you took from that [teaching] experience [that] translate back into an office environment? 

If you've spent any time teaching and trying to help others learn a concept or absorb a concept, it changes a lot of things about the way that you think and go about your delivery, even the way that you assess whether or not you're being successful in your communications. I like to know what the end goal is and work backwards, which is very much the concept of backward design in education. When I was student teaching, my mentor teacher would say, just because you say something doesn't mean anything happened. You need to convey the same message in different ways that are going to reach different kinds of learners. That’s true in teaching, and it's also absolutely true in communications.

Do you have any major end goals or long-term priorities as DAAS Communications Coordinator? 

My goals reflect DAAS' institutional priorities. Primarily, I see my job and my mission as being a part of the conversation about what the department wants to achieve. Where are they hoping to go, and what do they see for their future? I think a lot of my time and effort will be about learning, listening, and understanding what the priorities are for leadership and figuring out where and how I can contribute to that. 

Are there skills or specific experiences or skills from your corporate background that you feel will help you in this position?

If you're working in an agency setting, you're providing services to many different companies, so there is a lot of splitting your time between multiple client accounts. Having to figure out how you're going to accomplish multiple to-do lists for multiple different companies was a good training ground for later on. I like being internal somewhere because you can get to know the organization more and focus on building and growing a marketing program over time, but it is still helpful to have that client service mentality. 

Do you have any fun facts to share with the newsletter’s readers? 

I love to read and I love to write. I like theater and film. At the height of the pandemic, one of our quarantine projects was getting chickens. So we have some chickens in our woods, and we've been enjoying farm-fresh eggs for a number of years now. I’ve only been here for a week, and already I've had conversations with at least one person who also has chickens. It has its own world, for sure. 

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.