shauna william

Comfort Does Not Always Equal Happiness by Shauna Williams ’14

Eller PDC Coordinator Alumni Stories

Shauna Williams graduated in 2014 with a double major in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Shauna is now the Brand and Communication Manager for an entrepreneurship center at the Washington University in St. Louis.

I have a total dream job. I am the Brand and Communications Manager for the entrepreneurship center at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU). I was hired to build the center’s brand from the ground up, meaning I have entire creative control over the messaging, design, and strategic initiatives of the #10 entrepreneurship program in the country. Not only do I get to strategize, design and implement marketing campaigns and new programs, but I also get to work alongside innovators and entrepreneurs, which is another passion of mine! I couldn’t feel more blessed as a creative. Literally, I pinch myself daily.

But this wasn’t always the case.

Before my position at WashU, I was working a job that did not utilize my strengths, and I definitely was not passionate about it. I was a sales analyst. I looked at numbers all day, wishing I could be on the side that designed the marketing campaigns. I went home feeling drained literally every day, craving some sort of creative outlet. I did that for one and a half years because it was comfortable. No matter how unfulfilled I felt in my job, it was just easier to be comfortable.

I took the safe route. I denied my true desires. I brushed aside my love for creativity in favor of what the world told me was “practical.” But here’s something I learned that I wish I had understood sooner: there is zero joy in pursuing other people’s goals for you.

So be honest with yourself: What brings you joy?

For me, I find joy knowing that what I do for a living is basically what I did as a kid—drawing pictures, designing websites, and using my imagination. Perhaps your joy is rooted in what you did as a kid, too. Maybe it isn’t. But once you figure it out, do yourself a favor and pursue it with all you’ve got.

 

More About Shauna

 

What do you do on a typical day?

My overarching task is to attract WashU students, faculty, and staff to our events and programs. My tasks change daily, but on any given day I could be copywriting, designing marketing collateral, drafting creative content and email campaigns, writing blogs, or strategizing new initiatives.

 

How did you end up in your current role?

I went through the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program during my time at UA. My McGuire team’s mentor, Emre Toker, became a professional mentor to me even after I graduated. We stayed in touch, and when he became the Managing Director of WashU’s entrepreneurship program, he asked me if I was interested in becoming their marketing manager. Networking at its finest!

 

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

I get to help students recognize their creative, innovative and entrepreneurial abilities. When the “light bulb” goes off for them, and they realize their potential and strengths, I feel so fulfilled.

What skills do you find help you to be successful?

Strategy, innovation, assertiveness, tenacity, design, writing

In what ways did Eller prepare you for your job?

All the group work in Eller definitely paid off! Cross function collaboration is a daily occurrence, so learning to delegate tasks between team members at Eller has proven to be helpful. I also credit my Buyer Behavior (MKTG 450) and Advertising Management (MKTG 425) classes for providing me with the tools to craft creative and smart marketing plans.

Do you have any advice for current students?

Find a mentor—whether at UA or in your desired industry. Make sure someone at least 10 years your senior knows your strengths and goals. Not only can they provide you with insight on the industry to help you reach your goals, but it can also lead to opportunities down the road!

What is your favorite UA/Eller memory?

Favorite UA memory is when we rushed the field when the football team beat the then-No. 1 team, Oregon, in 2013. Favorite Eller memory is when I fulfilled my lifelong goal to be the senior speaker at Eller’s convocation—speaking in front of 5,000 people was unreal!