This month’s member spotlight features WWPR member Sarah Woessner, Communications and Administrative Assistant, Membership & Marketing, for Financial Services Institute.
Q: How did you get started in communications?
A: I enrolled as a student at Miami University of Ohio with an interest in communications, but didn’t know specifically what I wanted to focus on. As I took classes, spoke with professors, interviewed communications professionals, and most importantly, took advantage of internships, I grew to love public relations.
When I was a junior, I took advantage of the “Miami University Inside Washington Program.” The 10-week program is designed to engage students in small group meetings with prominent politicians, newsmakers, journalists and other Washington-based figures. It was during this program that I realized my interests in politics and government. I loved my communications major as well, and ultimately came to this conclusion: I knew I wanted to combine both worlds and work in public relations/public affairs in Washington, D.C.
Knowing this, I worked hard to network with those in the city. As a senior in college, I flew to Washington, D.C. on numerous occasions to have informational interviews and made one of the best decisions: I joined WWPR. I worked remotely from Ohio during my senior year on the Emerging Leaders Awards Committee, where I “met” via email another committee member: Erin Smith Flior. Erin mentioned that the Adfero Group was looking for an Account Coordinator/Intern. I applied for the position, interviewed, and within a month received an offer to work at the agency. I can honestly say that it was my involvement with WWPR that allowed me to build relationships with professionals in the area, gain an understanding of the industry, and ultimately, get a job and move to the city. I just graduated last May with a B.A. in Strategic Communication and kick-started my career in Washington, D.C. shortly after.
Q: What inspired you to get involved with WWPR?
A: This question isn’t about “what” inspired me, but rather “who.” That individual is past WWPR President Tina McCormack Beaty. Knowing that I wanted to work in Washington, D.C. post-graduation, my senior year a professor of mine encouraged me to reach out to Tina, who is a Miami University of Ohio alum. Tina and I touched base via phone a few times and it was during one of the calls that she encouraged me to join WWPR as a student member. Knowing this would be a great opportunity to network, I joined in December 2012, flew to the city for the annual kickoff meeting in January 2013, and have been an active member since. Tina has been such an incredible mentor in my life and I am so thankful to have met her.
Q: What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment professionally?
A: Making this dream of mine a reality. I knew I wanted to move to Washington, D.C. from Ohio and start my career. In less than a year, I have graduated college, moved to the city, had a wonderful internship experience at the Adfero Group, and have accepted my first, full-time job at the Financial Services Institute. It’s been a whirlwind of an experience, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. WWPR has made these things possible and I am blessed for the people I have met, the relationships I have built, and the things I have learned through this organization.