When I joined Waggener Edstrom Communications as an intern seven years ago, I was a recent college graduate eager to start my career with a company that was so well-respected and successful in the industry. Everyone around me was so smart, creative and agile. They represented huge companies like Microsoft, T-Mobile, HTC — just to name a few — and were on the front lines launching products, telling stories, managing news cycles, and delighting clients simultaneously. They were master storytellers, problem-solvers, trend spotters and creative thinkers.
At the same time, I was completely intimidated by the agency and my new client, Microsoft. I knew nothing about technology and had no experience doing communications for huge corporations. Most of my early days were spent asking questions and reading endlessly just to keep up. It wasn’t easy to constantly be out of my comfort zone, and I certainly thought about quitting a time or two. But, I knew that I could not give up this amazing opportunity to stretch my skills and learn from the smart people at Waggener Edstrom. Armed with the motto, “fake it ‘till you make it,” I was determined to figure out this world of tech PR.
As I look back, I see that the same factors that intimated me on my first day have kept me satisfied, fulfilled and excited to come to work seven years later.
I still think that I work with some of the smartest, most strategic and creative people in the industry. They span multiple continents and have expertise in fields ranging from tech to healthcare to education to automotive and so much more. The most fulfilling part of my job is working with people who I trust, respect and am inspired by — from the amazing team I work with every day (and sometimes spend more time with than anyone else in my life) all the way up to our most senior leaders. They are my partners, teachers, friends, sounding board and — on occasion — karaoke partners. I love working with them, but more important I have so much fun with them!
I ask questions and hear new ideas every day. In fact, asking “why,” learning new ways and seeking fresh perspective are not only encouraged but required. Curiosity is woven into our agency culture and an important part of what we offer our clients every day. I know that I will never have all the answers and embrace the fact that tomorrow will bring a new problem to solve, trend to uncover, concept to grasp and an opportunity for us to bring new, smart ideas to the table.
Embracing the unknown and pushing beyond my comfort zone is now normal to me. Now I can say that I’ve been on the front lines, in the press room, back stage, in the green room and on the red carpet. I’ve driven product launches, event management, 360-degree media campaigns, crisis communications, executive communications, and wrangled celebrities and so, so much more. Sometimes I was extremely successful, and sometimes things went terribly wrong (and that will happen to everyone at some point). I’ve learned valuable lessons from each experience and look forward to new career opportunities.
Today, I am still awe-struck by the amazing work happening all around me at Waggener Edstrom and feel lucky to have a hand in some of it.
Happy 30th anniversary, Waggener Edstrom!