Commvergence showcases careers

Commvergence showcases careers

Dana Hockbein, Staff Reporter

Students gathered for the annual Commvergence conference Feb. 23 in Hyand Hall, which focused on career prospects for public relations and advertising majors.

The “Design and Detail” themed-conference’s gave students the opportunity to listen to keynote speaker, Bill Kennedy, president of Kennedy Communications, attend break-out sessions and test their knowledge of strategic communication.

Armida Markarova, founder of Marketing Strategy Hub, kicked off the event by giving a presentation on personal branding.  She highlighted the importance of establishing a digital footprint and advocated for the use of LinkedIn, a website used primarily for career networking.

“Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something,” Markarova stated, discussing her newfound passion for the business world.

Professor Kristine Kranenburg, a communications lecturer who is also an award-winning copywriter, pushed for her students to attend Commvergence, not only for the potato-bar lunch, but also for the important networking opportunities.

“They hear the reality of the workplace today and learn about trends and topics that they might not get in the classroom,” Kranenburg said.

The annual event offers valuable information on personal branding and communication that will better prepare students for job hunting after graduation.

“Advertising is all around us, whether we know it or not,” Junior Cody Reibold, a graphic design major said.

There was much real world expertise offered at this event by the many speakers working in various fields of strategic communications, which Reibold found to be useful for his future career goals.

Margaret Weber kicked off the breakout presentations, sharing her journey as an Search Engine Optimization (SEO) expert. Her father, Chuck Weber, is a professor in the Communication Department at UW-Whitewater.  She spoke of her experience in paid media and digital marketing intelligence.

Another presenter, Allie Johnson, also has a connection to UW-W. She graduated from the university in the spring of 2017. Her extensive internship experience helped land her a job as a Junior Art Director at Geometry Global.

Rochelle Mitchell is the Vice President and Marketing Director at Premier Bank right here in Whitewater. She is another a UW-W alum with many years of experience. She gave a presentation about the many hurdles she overcame when initially entering the business realm.

Art Aiello has a background in marketing communications and public relations. With over 30 years of experience, Aiello presented on the age of social media. He mentioned the advantages and disadvantages of clickbait, listicles and storytelling in the eyes of social media.

“Social media is a medium for communication,” Aiello said.

Attendee Kristen Holtan said she learned valuable skills at Commvergence that will set her apart when looking for a job.

“Take advantage of opportunities as they arise, even if they don’t seem like they’re for you or that they could benefit you,” Holtan said.