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Archive for May, 2011

Our third GOLD Professional Profile is on Sara Cullin – a Public Relations professional and College of Arts & Sciences graduate. Read more below and consider submitting your own GOLD Professional Profile.

Sara L. (Witt) Cullin

Grad Year: 2003

Your fun EMU fact: I worked at the Eastern Echo all four years at EMU. The Echo has been around 125 years and is still independently funded through advertising revenue.

E-mail: saralwitt@yahoo.com

Twitter: @saracullin

Tell us about yourself and your career. What is your greatest achievement so far?

For the past three years I have worked as a public relations coordinator for family-owned waste and recycling firm based in Cincinnati. I am fortunate to be part of a growing team that includes the company’s first director of corporate communication, two other coordinators, a graphic designer and an intern. In my previous job I was a one-woman, marketing-PR machine, so I am thankful to be surrounded by professionals with whom I can share ideas and challenges. Last year our team was recognized as Corporate Communication Team of the Year by the Cincinnati Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

I enjoy the opportunity to work on a variety of projects. I spend a significant portion of my time writing and editing but I also provide several tours or presentations each week, in addition to media relations. Last year I spent nine days at a landfill in Indiana where I gave numerous interviews (both live and recorded) to media from Indianapolis and Louisville covering a homicide investigation. Those were some of the most difficult days I have had on the job, and I consider the handling of the situation to be a real achievement.

Share three career-related lessons you have learned after graduation from EMU.

Lesson No. 1: never forget where you came from. Staying connected to family and friends is important (and easier than ever) as careers take us to new places and down different paths.

The second lesson, which I’m still working on, is creating a work-life balance. Like anyone else, family, career and other interests compete for my time. The real lesson came with the birth of my son four years ago. He is a constant reminder of what I am working for.

Another important lesson I have learned is to never lose sight of my goals. It’s easy to become wrapped up in day-to-day tasks. I remind myself to keep my eye on the prize, so to speak, and keep working toward things I ultimately want to accomplish.

What challenges are you facing professionally? What support would be helpful?

Social media has evolved dramatically since I have graduated. I try to stay on top of these changes by reading articles about trends and attending webinars when possible. It would be great to see similar resources developed from EMU. It would also be great to hear how academic programs have shifted focus over the years. (For example, what courses are being offered on social media, and what are current degree requirements?)

How has your EMU degree influenced your career decisions?

When I enrolled at EMU, I declared a major in journalism because it seemed like the most practical path to doing what I love, which is writing. I stumbled into the public relations program later and it was a great fit. My goal has always been to work for an organization that I strongly believe in. Educating people about the importance of proper waste disposal and recycling is a job I am proud of.

GOLD Professional Profiles offer graduates an opportunity to share a bit about themselves with our alumni community (the post is shared in the LinkedIn Alumni Association group), offer career advice and provide feedback to us about what form of career programming would be helpful. It’s quite simple… fill out the information above, answer the four questions and provide a picture to Dan Mathis at dmathis@emich.edu.

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By: Dan Mathis (GOLD Guy in the Office for Alumni Relations)

Meta. blogging. It’s rarely done here, I am perfectly aware. I have been adept at developing relationships with an assortment of incredibly talented individuals to tell the stories of Graduates of the Last Decade. Through EMU Love Stories, GOLD Professional Profiles, and a variety of other carefully crafted solicitations, alumni have offered their post-EMU experiences. Here, in this post, I offer my own thoughts for EMU’s alumni (for 5/27/11):

1) Diversity is absolutely, positively, without a doubt – no joke. We are the strangest group of alumni of any college or university. Why? It boils down to… difference. We are all different. Race, ethnicity, religion, experience, rich, poor, first-generation, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, Huron, Normalite, Eagle – we are here and we are relevant.

2) We, as alumni, are available on social media… so connect with your peers, the Office for Alumni Relations, and EMU. You can do so on our Facebook page, our Twitter account, or on LinkedIn. (P.S. Follow me on Twitter at Dan_EMUAlumni).

3) It’s Homecoming on October 22, 2011… and we expect you, yes, YOU, to be in our tent on the front lawn of Rynearson Stadium cheering on the Eagles.

That’s all for now… I will try to re-visit and share a couple of thoughts.. or two… in the future.

Thanks,

Dan

Dan_EMUAlumni – dmathis@emich.edu

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Our second GOLD Professional Profile is on Amanda Decker – development associate and burgeoning graphic designer. Read more below and consider submitting your own GOLD Professional Profile.

Name: Amanda K. Decker

Grad Year: 2009 (Master’s)

Your fun EMU fact: I am one of the biggest track and field/cross country fans here at EMU. Ask me a question. I’m confident I can answer it.

E-mail: a@michaelamandadesigns.com

Tell us about yourself and your career. What is your greatest achievement so far?

Originally from New Hampshire, I came to the Midwest eight years ago to pursue my undergraduate degree in Sports Management, which I received in 2007 from BGSU. I came to EMU about a week after graduating in August to start grad school and my position as a graduate assistant in the Sports Information Department (now Athletic Media Relations). I was the contact for all things track, cross country and tennis. I truly enjoyed what I did and the relationships that I build during my years here.

I currently work for EMU (well, kind of). I work at the Foundation where I am their go-to-gal for all things design and technology related.

Professionally, I’m still a newbie, but I’ve been designing for years. Even in high school, I found a way to create elaborate presentations in PowerPoint. I’m a self-taught graphic designer and focus primarily on designing for print but am looking towards doing more web-related design.

I started my own side design business, Michael Amanda Designs, with a colleague of mine. I do the design related tasks and he’s the web developer. It’s really a great partnership because together we make up for what we individual lack.  We specialize in print and web design and have hit the ground running. From websites to brochures to logos, we do it all. It’s still a work in progress but we look forward to the future that this opportunity has brought us.

Track and cross country are the loves of my life. I’ve spent over 14 years working in some fashion in the sport. While working for EMU during grad school, I spent a lot of time on the history of the track and field programs here at EMU. I created the first-ever women’s track and field media guide, did the first men’s track media guide in over ten years, and completely revamped the cross country and tennis media guides.

Share three career-related lessons you have learned after graduation from EMU.

1) Create a network of professionals who you can go to when you need help/advice. You don’t and won’t know everything, so it is so important to build those relationships now so that down the road, say you have a technology question, you know who to go to.

2) Learn to not take things personally. It’s something that I have struggled with for years and I take it one day at a time.

3) Do what you love. You’ll be a lot happier and less stressed.

What challenges are you facing professionally? What support would be helpful?

Starting a business can be very difficult. We are both pretty lucky that other than some business cards and a website, we have very few start up costs. I fear that will change in the future as we grow, so making sure that we can sustain our costs is going to be key. Our business is going to rely heavily on word-of-mouth recommendations from friends, family and clients. This is the kind of support that we are going to need to help make us grow.

How has your EMU degree influenced your career decisions?

EMU has made me realize what I really want to do with my life. It has helped reinforce where I am meant to be and what I want to do down the road.

So if you’re in need of some web design or print design, feel free to give us a call at 734.365.6623.

Check us out online at: www.michaelamandadesigns.com

Or on twitter: www.twitter.com/M_A_Designs

My blog: www.akdecke.com

GOLD Professional Profiles offer graduates an opportunity to share a bit about themselves with our alumni community (the post is shared in the LinkedIn Alumni Association group), offer career advice and provide feedback to us about what form of career programming would be helpful. It’s quite simple… fill out the information above, answer the four questions and provide a picture to Dan Mathis at dmathis@emich.edu.


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Our first GOLD Professional Profile is on Bilal Saeed – an entrepreneur and College of Business graduate. Read more below and consider submitting your own GOLD Professional Profile.

Name: Bilal Saeed

Grad Year: BBA08

Your fun EMU fact: I claim to be one of the biggest EMU Hoops fans around.

E-mail: bilal@pakmode.com

Twitter: @bsaeed

Tell us about yourself and your career. What is your greatest achievement so far?

In 2008, during my last semester, I teamed up with another EMU alum, Tim Adkins (2006) to start Pakmode Publications, LLC.  We began publishing emYOU! The Magazine and have worked on a number of projects over the years including the College Survival Guide, uSurvive.com, the Ford Lake Frozen Leap, Discilanti Open and iSPY to name a few.  Since then, Pakmode has really went from a college start up to a recognizable small business brand in the Ypsi/Ann Arbor area.  We currently are expanding and launching Pakmode Media + Marketing as well as Pakmode Sports + Entertainment.  Our greatest accomplishment has to be the fact that we have positively impacted the Ypsi and EMU community by employing students from EMU, managing EMU Athletics Corporate Partnerships program as well as having our headquarters in Downtown Ypsilanti from day 1.

Share three career-related lessons you have learned after graduation from EMU.

1) How you measure success directly reflects your character.
2) When in doubt, google it.  If you don’t know something…teach yourself!
3) And my life and business moto: Less Talk. More Action.

What challenges are you facing professionally? What support would be helpful?

Being a young entrepreneur in Michigan presents many challenges but like anywhere, there are pros and cons.  For me, these are challenges I can overcome myself, but more than anything I hate seeing young people leave Michigan.  We need more EMU businesses to hire our grads and we need to network stronger in the b2b EMU community.

How has your EMU degree influenced your career decisions?

Although I always knew I would be an entrepreneur, I never thought I would have started doing things on my own while still in school.  I always imagine starting my own business when I was a little older and more established.  However, all of my friends who had graduated in 2006 and 2007 before me were not finding jobs AT ALL.  If they were finding jobs, it was in sales (mortgages, financial, insurance) and that is not why I went to college.  I decided to put my degree to better use.  It was the advice of Pradeep Chowdhery, my favorite Prof at EMU, that helped me realize the entrepreneurial route wasn’t out of my reach and that if I wanted to, I could do things on my own…the right away.

GOLD Professional Profiles offer graduates an opportunity to share a bit about themselves with our alumni community (the post is shared in the LinkedIn Alumni Association group), offer career advice and provide feedback to us about what form of career programming would be helpful. It’s quite simple… fill out the information above, answer the four questions and provide a picture to Dan Mathis at dmathis@emich.edu.

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Written by: Dan Mathis (GOLD Guy in the Office for Alumni Relations)

The Alumni Association is trying to “beef-up” our career-oriented social media efforts. If you aren’t aware, we have over 4,000 professionals connected through our Alumni Association LinkedIn group. This has evolved over time – with little effort from us – as an emphasis on maintaining professional networks online has increased. To add to this developing community, our first step is to tell the story of EMU graduates who are professionals in a variety of fields through a new blog series called “GOLD Professional Profiles”.

GOLD Professional Profiles offer graduates an opportunity to share a bit about themselves with our alumni community (the post is shared in the LinkedIn Alumni Association group), offer career advice and provide feedback to us about what form of career programming would be helpful. It’s quite simple… fill out the short profile below, answer a few questions and provide a picture to me at dmathis@emich.edu.

Keep in mind – what you share will be public and the office reserves the right to edit for clarity. So, please, share your professional journey… Thank you, Dan

GOLD Professional Profile: YOUR NAME HERE

Name: (Please provide your middle initial)

Grad Year:

Your fun EMU fact:

E-mail:

Answers to the following questions:

  • Tell us about yourself and your career. What is your greatest achievement so far?
  • Share three career-related lessons you have learned after graduation from EMU.
  • What challenges are you facing professionally? What support would be helpful?
  • How has your EMU degree influenced your career decisions?

Include a photo of yourself – preferably a headshot or picture of just you…

E-mail all of your information and photo to Dan Mathis at dmathis@emich.edu

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The Student Organization for Alumni Relations (SOAR) presents the stories of couples who fell in love at EMU. Read about our fifth spotlight couple David and Marj Patrick.

Names: David and Marj Patrick

Relationship Status: Married

Anniversary Date: August 23, 1975

Do you have children? How many? 4 children (all EMU graduates) and 6 grandchildren

How did you meet? Alexander Music Hall gossip!  Marj was the only black female freshman selected soloist after attending the choir camp.  Dave’s roommate, Wayman Ezell, the choir’s accompanist came home to tell Dave how he should have heard the new freshman sing.

Dave failed on several attempts to see/hear for himself a glimpse, as Marj would be leaving Alexander Hall.

Well, the meeting finally took place at a birthday party held in Alexander Hall.  Music students gathered, friendly exchanges took place and when it was discovered Dave & Marj were born on the same day (Feb 23), a five-part harmonious rendition of not just ‘Happy Birthday’ but ‘Here Comes the Bride’ was sung prophesying that which was to come.

Do you have any favorite memories at EMU? We enjoyed singing and performing together.

If married/engaged did the proposal happen  on campus? If so, where? The proposal took place in the Eastern Highland Apartments.

Years attended Eastern:  David has a BS in music (1975) and Marj has a BS in communications (1976)

What is currently going on in your lives?

We have been on a missionary trip for the past 18 years where we continue to sing.

Any romantic advice you would give to students: Marriage is more than finding the right partner – it is being the right partner. Married is not 50/50 it’s both individuals giving 100/100.

To share your EMU love story, e-mail emulovestories@gmail.com. We look for couples who met at EMU – preference is given to couples where both partners are alumni.

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Written by: Dan Mathis (GOLD guy in Alumni Relations)

Tomorrow evening, we celebrate the 50th Annual Alumni Awards Dinner at EMU. It is remarkable to read through the past recipients and learn of all of the accomplishments of our winners. All told, the EMU Alumni Association has honored nearly 300 alumni and community members for their service to Eastern and distinction in their careers and communities. Collectively, the past recipients invited to this year’s event have contributed almost $1,500,000 to EMU – an incredible number – especially when you consider that these awards aren’t based on their financial contributions but on SERVICE and DISTINCTION.

I have learned so much about this year’s recipients by reading countless letters of support for these individuals. In context, with numerous applications, these six individuals rose to the top:

Bobby Murkowski – incredible student leader, now lawyer

Brandon Jessup – a social justice activist, non-profit pioneer

Dave Coverly – amazing cartoonist, humble connoisseur of humor and wit

Erik Henriksen – the smartest man on Earth, professor at the University of Arizona

Earle Higgins, Sr. – basketball star, community leader

Kathy Tinney – loyal EMU supporter, communicator extraordinaire…

Looking forward to meeting each award winner in person – and knowing two of them personally (Bobby & Brandon) – will make for an incredible night.

As we wrote in the Alumni Awards script…

“Go Green and Goodnight” — I’m trying to make that saying happen… just hope it’s not like “fetch” 🙂

Dan Mathis

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