The following is an interview with Katie Bell, ‘07, associate director of regional initiatives.
What did you study at University of Richmond and what were your post-graduation plans?
I double-majored in journalism and leadership studies. I really chose those majors because I enjoyed the faculty and the coursework (and writing for The Collegian!), without paying much mind to what I would do post-graduation.
I worked at the Speech Center and the Phone-A-Thon on campus, and I had a summer internship at the American Cancer Society doing some writing and communications work. I guess I had planned to look for a marketing or communications role, although that’s not exactly where I ended up…
What did you actually do post graduation and what is your current position?
My first job after graduation was a sales role at Ikon Office Solutions (now Ricoh). I figured out pretty quickly that it wasn’t a good fit, so I made an effort to stay in touch with my former bosses at the American Cancer Society and at the Phone-A-Thon — I had enjoyed both organizations a lot.
Within six months, I had a new job in fundraising and event–planning at the American Cancer Society. A couple of years later, I got a job here, at the University of Richmond, in an alumni relations role — Associate Director of Regional Initiatives.
I wasn’t really aware during college that the type of role I have now even existed, and certainly didn’t know that I would land back here…But I’m glad I did!
What is a typical workday in the life of Katie Bell?
My role, essentially, and that of colleagues across the Advancement Division, is to help alumni connect back with the university and with one another. Specifically, I work with volunteers across the country (and abroad!) to plan programming for alumni — receptions when administrators are on the road, game watches when Spider basketball or football is televised, networking and social events, etc.
During a typical day, I am corresponding with volunteers and other alumni, working with venues and vendors on event logistics and designing and sending event communications.
What do you know now (career-related) that you wish you knew as an undergraduate student?
Take advantage of the amazing resources here on campus. Seriously!
What is your most valuable networking technique?
I highly recommend doing the best you can to stay in touch with former bosses, professors, colleagues, classmates….I’ve seen the value of that in my own career path. And follow up! When you meet someone new or interview somewhere, follow up with a note or a call.
What is the most played song on your iPod?
“Spend the Night” by Deer Tick