Purpose profile: Switching gears with intention

Purpose profile: Switching gears with intention

How a last-minute “a-ha!” moment changed the direction of my career.

I was sitting in the office of a large television production company in Hollywood, when I realized I needed to make a career change.

I had left the comfort of my home in Austin, Texas, to finish my last semester of college in Los Angeles, a program offered through my university to live and work in LA while earning final credits. My internship gave me the opportunity to manage social media accounts for popular-at-the-time shows like “The Biggest Loser” and “The Office” (okay, still popular). I was on track to graduate and stay in LA, build a career in the industry, and maybe someday write for television.

But I quickly realized that LA wasn’t a good fit, and as much as I enjoyed tweeting about Dwight Schrute’s weekly shenanigans, I didn’t feel fulfilled. The work was fun, but it didn’t move me.

Much of my schoolwork and internships to this point had teed me up for a career in an industry I was no longer interested in — so, now what?

After graduation, I went back to Texas to figure out what to do next. I knew what I’d liked about my LA experience: The opportunity to write with personality. Engaging an audience in direct dialogue. Building a brand. And I knew what was missing: Purposeful work.

I soon found my way to the communications team of a national renewable energy company. Day-to-day, I was writing press releases about new products that gave customers the opportunity to “go green” with the flip of a switch, donating solar projects to non-profit organizations across the country, managing social and blog content, and contributing to our internal employee “green team.” Even when the work was challenging, I knew that making clean energy an easy choice for customers was making a difference for our planet.

Of course, there’s always more work to be done to make our world a better place. I eventually relocated to Philadelphia and into a non-profit focused on funding cardiovascular medical research and ending heart disease. I worked with amazing heart and stroke survivors to share their stories, address barriers to care and the social determinants of health, and raise awareness of risk factors to lengthen and strengthen lives in my community. Later, I led communications and brand management for a public art non-profit, where I worked with artists from all over the “mural capital of the world” to create works of art that reflected the resilience of our communities. These participatory artworks helped connect community members to health and wellness services, gave justice-impacted communities a creative voice, and brought art education opportunities to schools and community centers, among other services.

While I’m grateful for all these experiences and the impact I’ve been able to make through a career in communication, I’m incredibly thankful to have found my way to Taft. This purpose-driven agency gives me the opportunity to hone my communications skills while serving several causes at once. Through my work with clients in clean energy, healthcare, and social justice, I’m able to tap into my personal passion for the work while advancing meaningful missions and impact.

I’m glad I’ve let purpose drive me.

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