Hillary McCall (2011) - Director of Network Relations
My senior year at Westmont, professor Stern referred me for an internship at the Santa Barbara Foundation. I worked alongside the vice president of communications and marketing, applying my classroom knowledge to a real life setting.When I graduated, the SB Foundation hired me in communications and marketing, and we developed the Foundation’s first online platforms, implemented new branding strategies, and told the stories of philanthropy taking action across Santa Barbara.
Seeing the social impact of my work was of high, personal value in my professional development. Almost two years after joining the Foundation staff, I was offered a position as the communications and development manager for a growing philanthropic initiative, the Incredible Children’s Art Network (iCAN). The organization is dedicated to effecting social change through providing children with access to the highest quality arts programming that they would otherwise be without. I was honored to join their team in April of 2012. With a dynamic group of passionate teaching artists and a creative leadership team, iCAN serves 3,200 children in six of Santa Barbara’s most underserved, Title I schools.
In my current role as director of network relations, I am responsible for building sustainable partnerships and collaborations, managing communications platforms, public relations, and development opportunities. My communications degree prepared me with practical skills that I use every day in a fast paced environment. I learned how to challenge ideas and form logical opinions, use research methods to develop effective programs, build a healthy organizational culture via role clarity, effective use of physical space, and creating effective systems to communicate. Of course, I also learned to consistently speak the truth with eloquence.
If I had to give one piece of advice to students following a similar path, it would simply be, learn how to ask good questions. Whether you are building relationships, strengthening your skills, or gaining creative insight, good questions will inform your perspective as a life long learner.
My career has thus far allowed me to engage with some of the most innovative thinkers and organizations in our community and around the nation. My professors, peers and the Westmont community played an integral role in forming the foundation for my career, and I could not be more grateful.
Kristin Rushforth Ritzau (2004) - Author, Speaker, Spiritual Director
After pursuing many internships while at Westmont that ranged from the film industry to event planning to Amnesty International in the Czech Republic, I had an experience that led me to know I was supposed to work with college students. This has taken on many forms from being a Resident Assistant at Westmont, to attending Fuller Theological Seminary where I obtained my MA in Christian Leadership, to then working in a church with young adults. From there, I went on to work in Azusa Pacific University's Ministry and Service Office doing program coordination, research, student development, and community outreach for five years. My calling shifted a bit after publishing my first book which stemmed from my journey at Fuller, work I did with women after graduate school, and seeking certification to become a Spiritual Director. I was doing more workshops and teaching and felt called to the classroom. Therefore, I am currently back in school to work on my Doctorate so I can continue in my vocation.
The com major taught me to see life differently. Reading Noam Chomsky, debating how culture shapes us, diving into Aristotle, and doing projects on how organizations communicate showed me to peel back the layers to see (and wonder) "what is really going on around me?" I became a question asker in this major.
One project I continue to reflect on is when we interviewed the Santa Barbara Police Station about their organizational culture for a group project. In asking the officers and detectives our questions, they realized in the interview that they had their own distinct language and layout of their office which affected personnel issues and hierarchy. They had never considered that before. Understanding the way place, words, culture, and rhetoric all shape us into who we are is what I still love about my education at Westmont.
Joseph Campbell wrote, "We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." This was and still is the journey of my life. If you want to write a book, live into your story. You can't write if you don't fully experience the world around you. The other thing I would say is continue to work hard; be willing to start wherever you are needed and step in where you are needed too. This is true not just out of college, but at certain times when your life takes a turn - and there will be many turns. Also, remember to always have a vocational mentor (or two) as well as a spiritual one. Lastly, I would say two of my biggest gifts have been imagination and failure - learn to embrace both of them.
Jim Roach (2000) - Music Producer
The original score for Looking Up Dresses was composed by another Westmont alum, Jim Roach. We always knew Jim had talent -- from his Spring Sing band to his downtown performances. Jim most recently finished Listen Up by gold-selling artist Hoku. He's also produced recording artists Brett Young and Grove Hill, and the web cartoon Hey Ladiez! (produced with fellow alum Mark Fiore) in addition to his guitar work with This World Fair, and The Rosewood Fall. You can check out his discography, blog and bio on http://jimroachmusic.com
"I see my time spent at Westmont in the Communication Studies Department as indispensable to daily life in the music industry. My job as a producer means that I am the glue between the artist, the management, the label, the hired musicians, and of course the music. The ability to communicate ideas clearly, and with civility, is vital to maintaining a project's sanity! Most of the people that I deal with on a daily basis are generally less educated or have that famous artistic temperament (and all that comes with it). They can be difficult to deal with at times! I always say that making a record is really 50% baby-sitting, 40% arbitration or negotiation, and 10% music...if you're lucky. Without the set of skills and the life application tools that I got from my time at Westmont with Dr. Dunn and Dr. Spencer I'd be sinking in a sea of Top 40 drama."
Liane Koh (2008) - Marketing & PR Specialist
In my work I manage 5-8 accounts at at a time doing public relations, traditional and digital marketing, brand strategy, social media and content creation, reputation management, event planning and cause-related marketing activations, hiring, training and managing client brand ambassadors, business development, and mentorship of our interns. In the start-up environment, each member of the team must have a sense of ownership of the enterprise.
My career route was not linear! I started as a hotel front desk agent and concierge in Santa Barbara, then earned a diploma in culinary arts from Le Cordon Blue, then worked as a management intern for a major resort in Singapore and the Maldives, then went back to school to earn a Master's Degree in Communication Management from the Annenberg School for Communication (Dr. Dunn inspired me to go there!), and then found my path toward marketing and PR.
Some of the things that have stayed with me from my com courses are the power of words to transform relationships. I am grateful to classes in Rhetoric and Conflict & Reconciliation that make me a better friend, daughter, sister, etc. Westmont's com major equipped me to better speak the truth in love, especially in an industry where "framing" something for the media or client can often mean parsing the truth.
My advice? Keep reading industry and trade related books, blogs, websites, and newsletters. Only bring problems to the table with at least two suggested solutions. Don't be afraid to ask if you want to more involved.
Jared Ingram (2000) - Filmmaker
Jared is a filmmaker and screenwriter, most recently winning the Gold Prize for the best comedy feature in the 2010 PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. His co-author, Brian Sharp, is also a communication studies alum. The above photo is a shot of Jared directing Sam Huntington and Jlynn Johnson on the set of his short film Looking Up Dresses.
Jared Ingram is a filmmaker whose work has an emphasis on personal stories told with heart, humor, and depth.
Jared recently wrote and directed a 35mm short film called "Looking Up Dresses." It was awarded "Best Short Comedy" as well as the "Audience Award" at the First Glance Film Festival Hollywood. Jared was one of five directors to be nominated for "Best Director" at the Malibu Film Festival. The short was awarded Best Short Comedy and the Audience Award at the First Glance Film Festival in Hollywood, was a finalist at the USA Film Festival in Dallas, and was an official selection at both the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Vail Film Festival.
The short was made with the help of co-producer Todd Spence (Comm. major '00) and musician Jim Roach (Comm. major '00) who wrote the original score.
Jared shot his first short film ("Broken Hallelujah") during his senior year at Westmont.
"I came into Westmont wanting to be a doctor. But it wasn't until I switched to Communication Studies that I began to find a passion for learning. The beauty of Communication Studies is that it's all-encompassing. Becoming a better speaker, a better writer, a better critical thinker... These things impact your life everyday no matter what job you have. Unless you're the President. Or a pirate..."
See Jared's website for more details: www.lodgeboyproductions.com. Special thanks to photographer Andrew Hugh Purcell for these images.
Anita Perez Ferguson (1971) - Speaker, Author, Consultant
Anita Perez Ferguson, Westmont alumna of 1971 and winner of the Monroe Award, is a speaker, author, international consultant, and trainer in the areas of program planning, evaluation and leadership development.
From 1991 to 1995 she served as the president of the National Women's Political Caucus in Washington DC. She was appointed by President Clinton to serve as the Chair of the Inter American Foundation and the White House Liaison to the U.S. Department of Transportation. She has served as a Director on various national and community boards and as a Visiting Fellow for the Woodrow Wilson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey.
In 1999, Anita translated her experience and enthusiasm into her first book, A Passion for Politics, followed in 2004 by Women Seen & Heard: Lessons Learned from Successful Speakers.
In addition to her Westmont B.A. in Communication, Anita also holds an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Santa Clara, and an M.A. in Management from the University of Redlands. Soon she will hold her Ph.D. in Organizational Development from Fielding Graduate University. Her dissertation, From the Basement to the Boardroom, charts the social networks of the 172 Hispanic Americans who sit on the boards of directors for the Fortune 500.
Justin Zoradi (2004) - Social Entrepreneur
Justin is the founder and CEO of These Numbers Have Faces, an international education nonprofit dedicated to helping African young people attend college, become leaders, and transform their countries forever.
Westmont com majors spent an afternoon with one of the TNHF scholars, Anda, in May 2008 on their conflict & reconciliation trip. Below find a video update link, plus a link to footage from Spring Sing 2008 - the Rock Paper Scissors Tournament -- won by a com major, Vicki Williams.
Visit the website: These Numbers Have Faces
Joy Eggerichs (2004) - Speaker & Ministry Director
Joy is living in Portland, Oregon where she works for the marriage ministry Love and Respect. She conducts research to help understand and serve young people planning to marry. "When I began working for Love and Respect, I directed live conferences and my Communication Studies degree was far more beneficial than I could have imagined. With each church came new staff and new volunteers. Figuring out how to communicate and best energize each group was like figuring out a puzzle." Joy has used her knowledge and research skills to better understand young people (aged 18 to 35) and what they most need to be aware of both before and well into their marriages. After directing marriage conferences for 2 years, she heard many people remark that they wished they knew THEN what they know NOW (especially after a Love and Respect seminar). "I don't want us to be a generation that has to say that. Let's do the best we can to figure it out NOW."
Four major themes emerge in her work: 1) young people today have little or no time for introspection, and an unhealthy manifestation of this is narcissim; 2) because young people move, change jobs, and generally live transient lives, there is not much accountability to or authority from older, wiser counsel; 3) many young people have developed either overly indulgent or overly suppressive responses to their sexuality, and this will have a big impact on a marriage; and 4) from social networking to video games to a lack of media literacy, young people today live in a state of constant distraction, often mistaking an overload of information with learning, knowledge, and wisdom.