TBT: Brittany Black
Throwback Thursday – To commemorate the 10th year of SXTXState, each Thursday we’ll be featuring past participants in the project. Check back each Thursday until SXSW to find out what SXTXState alumni remember from their time with the project and what they are up to now.
Brittany Black, attended Texas State University for her Master’s Degree in Mass Communication and graduated in May 2013. Brittany has since grown in her career from Internal Communications Specialist at HP to the Employee Communications Manager at Epicor.
I reached out to Black back in January to see what she’s been up to since graduation and she happily shared her successes and advice with me through this Q&A interview. Check it out!
Describe your background and interests. What led you to pursue a Master of Arts in Mass Communication?
I’ve always loved to read and write. As a child, I was always writing stories and poems. In undergrad, I learned more about the basics of communicating along with the creative, visual side. Once I graduated I had the desire to continue learning. I decided to pursue a Master of Arts in Mass Communication because I wanted to learn more about the technical side of communicating. It was clear that things in the industry were evolving and in order to land a job and succeed, it would be necessary to expand my knowledge and my skills.
Describe your career path since completing your Master’s degree in May 2013.
While pursuing my Master’s degree, I was also working at HP as a communications intern. Once I graduated my internship turned into the full-time role as the Internal Communications Specialist for HP Customer Support, an organization with 9,000+ employees. As the Internal Communications Specialist at HP I was responsible for planning, developing and executing communication strategies for the employee population by utilizing a variety of channels, including social media, internal websites and leadership forums. I was at HP for five years and moved to Epicor Software Corporation about nine months ago. My role at Epicor is similar but is more strategic and focused on company-wide communications. Employee or internal communications is much like marketing, but with employees as the audience instead of customers.
What was your overall favorite class in the graduate program? Describe how you use the skills you acquired in this course in your current job or freelance work.
I enjoyed all of my classes at Texas State and honestly each one of them has been applicable in my career. I’ve used the web design knowledge I received from Cindy’s class to help design and create better intranets, used the video production knowledge I received to create and edit videos. I think the most important skill I’ve learned is how to work with different types of people. In grad school you are thrown into group projects where you have to work together to achieve a goal. Everyone has different skill sets and you have to tap into those so that you have top-notch results. The same thing applies in the workforce. I have to work with so many different people who have a different way of saying or doing things. I have to get their input, translate it so that it fits within my overall plan and bundle it all up so that I’m communicating content effectively.
What advice would you give someone who wants a job in the digital/media field?
Be prepared for change and evolution. Think and work quickly and creatively. Never be afraid to share your ideas. Don’t wait around for someone to tell you what to do or give you more guidance, be proactive and make it happen to the best of your ability.
What is your role in your current job? Describe a regular day in the life of Brittany Black.
I’m currently the Employee Communications Manager at Epicor, a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail and services industries.
The first thing I do when I get to work is read through TheSkimm, my external news digest of choice and then I check Yammer, our internal social network. I recently managed the launch of this tool for our employees, so much of my time lately has been spent on promoting the tool and integrating it into our overall internal communications plan. Overall, I work with a variety of stakeholders across the business so that employees gain a better understanding of the company strategy and how they play a role in making our company successful. But everyday is different. There are days when I have to write several different communications for executives, or business units within the company and other days when I’m shooting and editing a video for our next communication campaign. There are also times I have to sit down and develop an overall strategy of how and what we need to communicate from a company-wide perspective. One of my big projects is to re-design our intranet so that it’s more intuitive and effective for employees now that we have Yammer as a main platform for communicating. There are also several initiatives I’m involved in to help engage our global workforce to ensure they are happy and feel like they are part of something successful.
What is your ultimate career goal? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Ten years seems so far away and honestly, ten years ago I had no idea I’d be where I’d be today. Ultimately, I want to say that I’ve been successful. I’ve done stellar work and I’ve built strong relationships with people. If I think about my specific career in employee communications, I’d like to help build awareness about the role and it’s importance at companies. I’d love to be a VP or executive who is focused on employee engagement and the employee experience, or maybe even something with customers down the road. Those are two things every company needs to be successful.