Alumna shares non-traditional experience

Amanda Atkins, head of digital communications manager for Gap Inc., has found the job she loves, despite not following the field in which she earned her degree.

Atkins graduated from the University in 2003 with a degree in Print Journalism, but her career took a different direction after not finding an internship in the newspaper or magazine industry.

She told that story Tuesday evening to a group of journalism and public relations students.

“I wanted to graduate as soon as I could,” Atkins said.

So she took an internship at Owens Corning in Toledo, where she held many roles, but her original role was as an internal communications specialist.

That position opened up a whole new world for her she said.

“When I got the internship at Owens Corning I really didn’t understand what I was applying for,” Atkins said. “I realized I could not only write, but I could stretch my mind and do things I didn’t know I could do before.”

She stayed at Owens Corning for four years and while that wasn’t a newspaper or magazine that job opened doors to what she called her “career love.”

Her speech focused on one thing: how to love your career.

Though there was one common theme she broke it down with three keys: marry what you’re good at with what you love, embrace what scares you and build the best relationships.

“When I reflect on my journey and the journeys of so many people that I have encountered in my career these three things are at the core of finding the career love of your life,” she said.

These journeys and jobs that Atkins has had is the reason department of public relations lecturer, Julie Hagenbuch reached out to bring her to the University.

“I think it is cool that she didn’t follow this straight trajectory,” Hagenbuch said. “I also like the fact that she talked about how she writes everyday. I think that is a really good message for our students to hear. You don’t have to have 27 internships to land a job. It helps of course, but I think she has had a non traditional path but done incredibly well.”

Throughout her speech and explanation of her three keys she told different stories from her career.

Though many of those stories were about different positions she held, she touched on the fact that things “evolve over time.”

“She took plenty of time to figure out where she wanted to be and she found the career that she loves,” said sophomore multi-platform journalism student Jessica Speweike.

Atkins ended her speech informing the students in the audience that “you will fall in and out of love with your career and that’s okay,” but once you do it is important to reflect on the principles she spoke about.

Speweike said that with two years left at the University, Atkins’ speech put her at ease.

“It kind of took some pressure off of my shoulders because it’s like you kind of have to roll with the punches,” Speweike said. “As long as you are willing to work hard and you put in your grunt work, but still keep your eye on the prize you will find your happy medium.”