Successful In Every Field

Critical thinking. Strong writing and public speaking ability. Leadership and collaboration skills. It is often said the skills learned through a communication major are applicable to almost any industry. Meredith alumnae who majored in communication are proving this every day in a variety of professions — from event planning and arts management to public relations and strategic communication.

The versatility of the communication program has made it a popular major at Meredith, with enrollment growing by 29% since 2011. Along with Exercise and Sports Science, the program will have a new home in an academic building that will soon be under construction. Post-baccalaureate professionals can now build skills through Meredith’s new digital communication certificate program.

“When you review the skill set the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) looks for, you see an outline of what we’re trying to achieve in the communication program,” said Professor of Communication Teresa Holder, who serves as department head. “Problem-solving, oral and written communication, teamwork, collaboration, digital technology, leadership, professionalism, intercultural fluency, and career management. All of those are strategic elements in our program and what we want all of our majors to have.”

Holder said communication is intentionally broad-based so graduates are able to adapt their skills to fit their career goals. The alumnae profiled in this feature are examples of Meredith women excelling in the communication field.

Jessica Rouse, ’10
Manager, Special Events & Marketing, Warner Music Nashville
B.A. in Mass Communication

“Those group projects that seem like a pain now will help you immensely in the future and in dealing with others who work differently than you.”

Jessica Rouse

Meredith College felt like home to Jessica Rouse from the first time she visited. But when she arrived on campus, she had no idea what she wanted as a career.

“I only had the direction of entertainment [as a career path],” Rouse said. “Mass communication seemed like a broad enough net to cast in that direction.”

With this goal of working in entertainment, Rouse’s communication degree has taken her from Meredith all the way to Nashville’s music industry. Her job with Warner Music Nashville (WMN) involves planning numerous events for the company.

“Planning events includes everything from inception to setup and breakdown. These events range from corporate events to artist events, including artist showcases, album and video release parties, and fan events.,” Rouse said. “I also plan all logistics for our CMA (Country Music Association) After Party, Summer series: Pickin’ on the Patio, events surrounding the ACMs (Academy of Country Music awards) in Vegas, CMA Fest, and more.”

She loves the fast pace of the events world.

“My days are filled with site visits, conference calls, brainstorm meetings, booking vendors, and researching event ideas and assets,” Rouse said. “Event days, of course, consist of setting up the event and breaking
it down.”

Rouse has worked in the music industry for nine years, including two years at Raleigh’s Curtis Media Group in Raleigh. In 2013, Curtis Media’s music director recommended Rouse to Warner Music.

“The advice I got when I started was ‘get in where you can get in’ if you want to work in entertainment,” Rouse said. “That includes the mailroom, as a receptionist, etc. You should fight and grind as hard as you can until you reach your goals.”

Interpersonal communication skills are also important. “Those group projects that seem like a pain now will help you immensely in the future and in dealing with others who work differently than you,” Rouse said.

She has continued to learn, including through work sessions on the Enneagram, which helps identify different personality types. “The author of The Road Back to You [about the Ennegram] came to WMN to do workshops with us and it has transformed the way we think in the office and in our everyday interactions.”

Rouse’s name has been included in album credits over the years, but her work is not what some people imagine.

“I don’t just hang out with artists all day and go backstage,” Rouse said. “The reality is I sometimes see the artists, but we all work together as anyone does with co-workers. It just so happens our ‘co-workers’ are famous.”

Josette Roten, ’16, ’19
Marketing & Public Relations – Broadway
Durham Performing Arts Center

B.A. in Mass Communication, MBA

“I was attracted to communication as a major after observing Doug Spero’s Introduction to Communication course during my campus tour,” Roten said. “In the major, I was exposed to all aspects of the field, including interpersonal and mass communication.”

Josette RotenAt the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), Josette Roten helps build the Broadway touring season audience for one of the region’s most successful entertainment venues. In fact, DPAC has frequently been recognized as one of the top five venues in the country by industry publications.

Roten started at DPAC in the corporate partnerships department after working as an intern and then in a part-time position at Duke Energy Center in Raleigh.

“As marketing and public relations manager,
my main responsibilities include promoting all the Broadway shows that come to our theater, and serving as the main point of contact for all local and national media outlets.”

Her job is enjoyable but it requires balancing a large number of responsibilities, and no one day is the same as the next.

“Some days, I am working to design creative advertorials and playbills for upcoming shows,” Roten said. “Other days I am conducting press runs around the Triangle where actors speak to local media outlets about their roles.”

Other responsibilities include organizing budgets for each show and meeting with national agency representatives to strategize about how to market the shows in the region.

“My job also requires me to stay up-to-date with current trends in the arts and entertainment industry, which has allowed me to form strong relationships with local TV anchors and reporters, radio DJs, editors and writers, and businesses in the area.”

While some people imagine her job consists only of traveling to see Broadway productions, Roten says the reality includes a lot more work behind the scenes to ensure DPAC’s audiences have a great experience.

“Currently, I am working on at least 20 separate shows that will be coming to DPAC between now and 2021,” Roten said. “It is a very demanding industry, and you have to be willing to work long hours. On show days, I arrive in the building at 7 a.m. and I may not leave until after 11:30 p.m.”

A career in the arts was what Roten wanted
to pursue while at Meredith and she chose communication as her major because of the breadth of the program.

“I was attracted to communication as a major after observing Doug Spero’s Introduction to Communication course during my campus tour,” Roten said. “In the major, I was exposed to all aspects of the field, including interpersonal and mass communication.”

The skills she gained at Meredith have made her successful in her field. “In my day-to-day work at DPAC, I rely on my public speaking skills, my knowledge of the media, and my verbal and written skills that I honed during my time at Meredith.”

Her experience as an undergraduate prompted Roten to earn an MBA from Meredith. “My coursework at Meredith built the foundation for my success in the MBA program. I’m very thankful for my Meredith experiences and still hold true to the “Going Strong” motto each and every day.”

Megan Greer, ’03, ’12
Assistant Vice Provost and Managing Director, NC State Entrepreneurship
B.A. in Mass Communication and Spanish, MBA

“A good communicator is a highly valuable asset within any organization. These skills are not innate, and they are highly sought after.”

Megan GreerAt Meredith, Megan Greer served as class president for her junior and senior years, gaining leadership skills she still uses.

“Meredith taught me how to be a leader, and I take that with me each day of my life,” Greer said. “I have fond memories of working with my classmates in service to the greater Meredith community. I still believe in the ‘organization above self’ and operate that way at NC State.”

After a career that started in the call center at the College Foundation of North Carolina right after graduation, then included working in retail sales at Kellogg’s and in admissions at Meredith College, Greer now serves as assistant vice provost and managing director of NC State Entrepreneurship.

“In my current role, I am leading teams, setting strategy, communicating the vision, developing partnerships and writing proposals – all related to the communication theories and skills I learned at Meredith.”

Greer oversees the operations of many campus-wide initiatives for student entrepreneurship, which include startup spaces like the Entrepreneurship Garage and large-scale programs such as the Lulu eGames annual startup competition.

“I lead external relations, community engagement, and strategic partnership development efforts all in support of entrepreneurship at the university,” she said. “I also play an integral role in setting the vision and direction for the NC State Entrepreneurship Alliance, a consortium of more than 20 NC State entrepreneurship units and programs.”

Greer enjoys being able to use her strategic communication skills to support student development in a university setting.

“I love having a front row seat to watch what our amazing student entrepreneurs create and develop to impact our world,” Greer said. “The most challenging aspect is operating on somewhat of a blank canvas. There are truly an infinite amount of initiatives/programs we could undertake, but we have to do our due diligence in selecting the areas that make the most sense.”

Greer was drawn to communication as a major because of its versatility. “My classes and professors were wonderful. I appreciated the variety of topics each class focused on – from writing for the media to interpersonal communication to communication theory.”

She originally intended to work in broadcast news, but internships helped her realize that wasn’t the right fit for her. “At Meredith I learned about my strengths and weaknesses, which enabled me to become self-aware,” Greer said. “Having this self-awareness helped me navigate areas in my career that seemed unclear. For instance, when I realized broadcasting wasn’t for me, I was able to pivot into a sales position that afforded me another path in the communication field.”

Today, Greer relies on interpersonal communication strategies to deal with challenges
and misunderstandings. “I explain what I’ve observed and propose a solution for moving forward. I don’t like to bring problems without solutions,” Greer said.

She wants women who work in communication to value their skill set. “A good communicator is a highly valuable asset within any organization. These skills are not innate, and they are highly sought after.”

Lindsay Beavers, ’03
Senior Marketing Specialist | Go-to-Market Lead, Learning, SAS
B.A. in Mass Communication

“I could not have asked for a better experience that would prepare me for my career. It has been gratifying to watch the program grow and expand, with a new level of recognition and experiences for students.”

Lindsay BeaversLindsay Beavers made the choice to attend Meredith after her first visit to campus. “After taking a tour and speaking with current students, it was clear Meredith provides a very supportive environment where women are set up for success.”

With her Meredith education, Beavers has succeeded in marketing and advertising. After graduation, Beavers worked in marketing for a small health food company outside of Greensboro, N.C. In 2005, she moved back to the Triangle and began working in advertising.

“The world of advertising allowed me to work on various projects and campaigns for several brands within industries such as healthcare, technology, education, and retail,” Beavers said.

For nearly five years, she worked in account management at Clean, Inc., a Raleigh-based integrated branding agency. Working in the agency setting allowed her to work with a broad range of marketing organizations.

“The agency setting really diversified my portfolio and gave me the opportunity to create campaigns on behalf of some really fantastic brands,” Beavers said.

Beavers recently took a new position at the global headquarters of data and analytics technology company SAS, where her title is Senior Marketing Specialist | Go-to-Market Lead, Learning. Now, instead of working on several brands, she is able to focus her strategy and marketing efforts on supporting one large brand.

“It’s my job to perform strategic activities associated with generating demand and planning of go-to-market efforts aligned to SAS’ overall sales and marketing strategy,” Beavers said. “I serve as a liaison to internal business teams in the learning and education space, communicating marketing results and strategic direction, upcoming campaigns, and key events.”

She is enjoying the challenge of a new opportunity to use her communication skills.

“SAS is a global giant, so just learning the business and jumping in to support the overall business goals will be a fun new adventure for me,” Beavers said.

She found her career focus at Meredith.

“I initially intended to go into television news after graduation.

But when I started marketing classes for my minor course of study, I realized that engaging in face-to-face interaction with people and building relationships with them was more appealing to my personality type,” Beavers said.

She’s very appreciative of the support of her own mentors among the Meredith faculty. “The things I am most grateful for [at Meredith] include the support from my incredible communication professors, who helped me secure an internship, supported me through my thesis, and congratulated me on graduation day.”

At Meredith she learned everything from video editing to research practices and interpersonal communication skills. She values the hands-on nature of the classes at Meredith, and the diverse backgrounds and professional experiences of the communication professors.

“I could not have asked for a better experience that would prepare me for my career,” Beavers said. “It has been gratifying to watch the program grow and expand, with a new level of recognition and experiences for students.”

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330
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