Giving Back to the Beacon
Nearly three years after her MCLA graduation, Kaitlyn Bonneville '10 returned to campus to share what she's learned with a group of students in a round table-style discussion on topics ranging from career networking and her job in marketing to making the jump from journalism to marketing writing.
Since she left MCLA with her Bachelor of Arts degree in English/communications, Bonneville - who concentrated on journalism, public relations and creative writing - has worked in several positions in New York City and Boston. This includes as a journalist in both newsroom and agency environments, holding marketing positions as a content marketing strategist, and serving as a marketing manager for a global language services provider.
"Building a career is all about forming relationships, and that can only be done by networking," Bonneville said. "The most important takeaway - especially when students are first starting to get comfortable with it - is that you are ever expanding personal and professional relationships. You never know who knows who and how it could help you, or vice versa - now, or in the future."
The group, comprised of students on staff at the Beacon, MCLA's newspaper, as well as public relations students, also discussed the roles that digital media and the Web play in journalism. And, they talked about what the Beacon could do to strengthen its Web presence and social strategy.
"Just because a brand is online or on social platforms doesn't mean they're successful," Bonneville said. "Developing a strategy or calendar that everyone understands is key."
Additionally, she advised the students to focus on some particular skills.
"Those who can write and edit, shoot video, understand design principals, are comfortable with digital and Web, and understand basic marketing principles when applying to jobs will find they have a competitive edge," Bonneville said. "They shouldn't be 'jack of all trades, master of none,' but these concepts shouldn't be totally foreign, either."
Both a Hardman scholar and a Beacon staff member while at MCLA, it was important to Bonneville to give back to the College and its students.
"My four years couldn't have been the same at a larger school," she said. "I was able to hold leadership positions which gave me invaluable professional experience. I often liken projects and discussions at work to situations I faced on the Beacon, at Admissions, the Center for Service or other organizations at MCLA. My peers who graduated from other institutions just didn't have these same experiences."
Bonneville said that, one day, she's love to work at the executive or vice president level of a marketing communications division, or to serve in a more emerging role that some companies have added - as a Chief Content Officer (CCO).
"I'm a creative person," she explained. "Journalism left little room for creativity, and my voice was constantly coming through - and then being edited out - in my articles. Marketing communications allows me to use my writing skills while leveraging my creativity in a variety of styles.
"It's a very engaging industry and I enjoy interacting with people, writing blog articles, corporate content and social media posts all in one day. It keeps you on your toes and I know this is the field I want to be in long-term."