iMedia Guest Speaker: Heather Keets Wright

On Wednesday, April 11, the iMedia class was visited by Heather Keets Wright, a multi-platform journalist and leading consultant in the content marketing industry. Heather is the chief creative officer for Cylndr Content Agency in Durham, N.C., and also runs her own content marketing agency, Wright Creative Agency, with her husband Mark.

Along with her warm spirit and excitement for all things creative, Heather had a lot of information to offer our iMedia class. Her level of expertise in the agency world was displayed through a presentation showcasing some of her most notable projects.  

Heather has written and consulted for reputable clients such as Essence, Martha Stewart, Wells Fargo, and the New York Presbyterian Hospital – to name a few. The iMedia class was eager to ask Heather for suggestions she may have for shaping and progressing in our careers. Out of the plethora of information she offered the class, here is a list of the top 5 tips she shared:

1.) Create your own LLC. Now.

Heather explained the importance of creating and developing our own personal brand. She explained that along with the “main” jobs we commit our time to, we as creatives should always be working on a passion project of our own. This not only secures and develops us in our own expertise but also helps market our talents to others.

2.) If given the opportunity, work in a brand and agency setting.

Heather explained that it can be tempting to want to work in an agency, but it is important not to overlook the benefits of working inside the brand itself. Having experience working for the brand will give us a better perspective of the needs and processes that happen on the other side of the fence. This perspective can better equip us to service clients when we make the shift into agency life.

3.) Stay up late and work hard.

Heather put it plainly, if you are not willing to stay up late working on a project, you are in the wrong industry. The steps it takes to become a successful creative requires a lot of energy and dedication. This is a testimony that resonated with many of our iMedia students. Our evenings spent in the editing bays of Long have really paid off.

4.) Always Freelance!

Heather reminded the iMedia class that we should always stay open to working on freelance projects. This helps expand our expertise and build our skill set.

5.) Network.

Last, but certainly not least, Heather told the iMedia class to utilize their connections and resources. Notably, she pointed out that our classmates are now a valuable resource to each of us. When we are given big projects that require a team of professionals, we can now tap into our iMedia network to find the talent we need.

Thanks Heather for visiting our class!

28376 (1)28377 (1)

Advertisements

A Moment of Reflection: What I Have Gained From iMedia

For the 2018 iMedia class, graduation is less than two months away (crazy, I know). This past school year has come with a lot of excitement and adventure, to say the least. As the iMedia class takes a breather from our studies with a week-long spring break, we finally have a chance to step back and marvel at the work we have accomplished over the past eight months. After learning new things and taking on big projects, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel…but before we move on to the next chapter of our lives, it is important that we relish our accomplishments from the past year.

This past year has opened doors and planted seeds of new beginnings for many iMedia students. What we have learned and accomplished here should be noted and celebrated. I have witnessed the substantial growth of my classmates as they work tirelessly in and out of the classroom. There is nothing in our work that should be taken for granted. Every small win has built the confident and thriving class we are today.

I have compiled a list of my own accomplishments and gains from this past year, and have found it to be extremely helpful in my own self-revelation. Looking at this list, I know for sure that my time here at Elon was well spent. The long nights in the editing bays, the hours spent sketching and wireframing, and even the small frustrations and hang-ups – they were all worth it in comparison to the growth I have gained as a professional, and as an individual. Below are what I believe to be the top six skills that I acquired through my time in the iMedia program:

  1. Strong Technical Skills in Adobe Editing Software

Every day in class we worked with editing software that varied from video work, audio and even app-development. Our skills to edit and create digital content has grown substantially over the past year. For example, I blossomed from having intermediate skills with Microsoft PowerPoint to having professional knowledge of Adobe Creative Cloud software.

  1. Real World Experience

One of the most exciting moments of the iMedia Program was our fly-in experience in January where we complete a project for a real client in a foreign country. For one week, we were all knee-deep in a culture that was different from our own while servicing a non-profit organization. We all got a taste of what it means to work professionally with a team on a real project – and that’s awesome.

  1. The Ability to Adapt – Quickly

Being fully immersed in different editing software and programming languages for 10 months requires that one be flexible and ready to learn – quickly. The fear of trying something new has broken away from us. Now, we are no strangers to jumping in head-first.

  1. Theories to Inform Content Creation Strategy

Not only can we create beautiful designs and layouts, WE CAN EXPLAIN WHY THEY WORK. The ability to articulate why our work matters and how it impacts the final product is crucial. Our creativity has been paired with a soundboard of knowledge to help us make informed decisions in our design process.  

  1. A Strong Network of Professionals and Resources

As a university, Elon is known for its valuable network of alumni and career services. But the iMedia family runs deep. Many of my classmates, myself included, have already made several connections with iMedia alumni this year. Some alumni have visited our classes and given us a wealth of knowledge on how to improve our work. Being a part of the iMedia family is like a badge of honor – we are supplied with tools and connections that have helped us substantially in our projects and job search.

  1. Memories and Friendships

This is a big one for me. I have had the time of my life while working with my classmates. We have shared so many laughs and memories. Some I hope to never forget. This year was a time of growth for all of us and we did so with humility and respect for each other. I have had the pleasure of getting to know some phenomenal people.

I believe many of my classmates would agree with the things I have listed here. As a testament to their hard work and dedication – all of my classmates have gained a plethora new skills and abilities through the iMedia program. We each have collected a wealth of knowledge and materials that are sure to be beneficial for our next steps of life. Let’s carry this reflection with us and use it to fuel our final push to graduation!

Reflection

“We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.”  — John Dewey

What it Means to be a Unicorn

Since the beginning of our adventure in iMedia program, a popular buzzword has been thrown around in discussions among iMedia students and faculty alike. This buzzword, though questionable as to how or why it has grown in popularity among the iMedia group, has rung true to its new meaning. Whether it be in a dialogue about the multitude of projects and lessons the iMedia class is undertaking or gossip about prospect career interests that we each have in mind, occasionally the word “unicorn” has been nested in our class’ conversations.

Now I know what you must be thinking, “What does this mystical fairy-tale creature have to do with coding, design, editing software or UX? Well, to put it simply, iMedia students are unicorns.

This is a pretty heavy claim, I know. But allow me a moment of your time so that I may offer some insight as to why this is true.

My most recent recollection of iMedia students being called unicorns was during a coding session with Professor Walsh. In the midst of speedily typing away to code and debug a wireframe for a website, Professor Walsh’s eyes took a moment to survey the room. With all seriousness, he looked at the group of iMedia students in front of him and said, “You know you guys are unicorns right? Has anyone told you yet?”

Yes, we have been told. In admiration of the different skills and tools we learn each week in the iMedia program, we are reminded of our supernatural existence. The term “unicorn” only seems fitting after seeing a graduate student skillfully record and edit a video, reconstruct a kiosk with efficient UX design, create their own typography, design, and code a website, and eloquently explain the theories that shape current media practices. Yes, such a sight of splendor and power is best equated to the beauty and wonder of a unicorn.

Despite the awesomeness that comes with being a unicorn (such as the knowledge that with the completion of this program your career options will be vast and your skillset will be stronger than ever) – there is a minor downside to being a mystical creature. Marketing yourself as a magic triple-threat in the media industry is great, but at some point, we much each hone our own niche’ of skills and interests to solidify our profession. There are still some visible moments of unease when asking an iMedia student what they wish to do after graduating. At this point in the program, we exist as fluid magical creatures, experimenting and owning every tool and software that is thrown at us.

Currently, iMedia students are flourishing as we are able to call ourselves coders, designers, UX specialists, and videographers – all at the same time. But as we all know, with great power, comes great responsibility. As we ready ourselves for the start of the spring semester, we are becoming more distinctive in our professional roles.

We are aware that at some point, we may have to trade in our wings and horns for more practical attire.

unicorn-2007266_640