When did you work at BBR and what did you do?
I started out at BBR in the spring of 2008 as an intern and research assistant. I had recently moved to Lafayette from Ohio with my then fiancé Brian and had started the arduous process of job hunting. I remember walking down Jefferson Street past BBR Creative one afternoon and thinking, “this looks like a cool place.”After being less than thrilled with interviewing for a few banks and insurance agencies, I decided to call BBR and ask if they would hire me as an intern. I wanted to work at a place that would get my creative wheels turning! Thankfully, the partners decided to give me a chance. After interning for a few months, I transitioned into the area of New Business. I assisted Cherie, the New Business Director, with qualifying prospective clients and maintaining our client database. From there, I expanded my efforts to assist Public Relations and Account Services by writing press releases and helping to manage a few clients when needed.
How has life changed since you left BBR?
My life has changed quite a bit since I left BBR a little over a year ago. I now live in Chattanooga, Tenn., with Brian (now my husband), and we just bought our first house. They call Chattanooga “the Scenic City” and it lives up to its name. It’s a beautiful city on the Tennessee River between the mountains – and we really love it here. When I decided to volunteer at the Tennessee Aquarium in downtown Chattanooga, I thought it would just be something fun and different to do in my spare time. Little did I know, it would have a much bigger impact on my life. I became a Penguin Volunteer, where I have real hands-on experience with the penguins at the aquarium. I am responsible for penguin “husbandry” which basically includes preparing food and feeding the penguins, maintaining their habitat and exhibit, and observing their behavior. On my first day of volunteering, something inside me clicked and I had a “light-bulb” moment. I have always loved nature and animals, but I never had the opportunity to experience something like this before. The moment that I hand-fed a fish to a penguin, I knew that working with these animals would change my life.
What are you doing now? Professionally and personally.
At first, it was hard not to look at the situation and think I was a total nutcase. I wondered, “am I really thinking about starting my professional life completely over because I enjoy preparing buckets of fish and cleaning up penguin poop?” I truly struggled with this, but I just couldn’t talk myself out of it — no matter how hard I tried. Ultimately, I just had to trust my instincts and follow my heart. Now I just look at my life as veering off on an unexpected path. I enrolled at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga this past spring to major in organismal biology. My goal isn’t to work only with penguins in the future; I just want to educate people on the importance of conservation through working with animals. When I’m not at school, I have a part-time job. I work as one of the assistant managers at the Yankee Candle Co. (the same job I previously had in college), where ironically enough, I’m in charge of the store’s grass-roots marketing efforts. Going back to retail isn’t ideal, but it’s one of the few places that I can have the flexibility to go back to school. And of course, I volunteer with the penguins on Sundays at the aquarium. You can even watch me on the aquarium’s Penguins’ Rock Web cam!
What, if anything, did you learn from BBR?
I gained an amazing amount of knowledge from working at BBR. It was my first “real” job after college. Being a part of the team at BBR taught me all the essentials of being a successful person that I will need for the rest of my life. Communication, professionalism, multitasking, time-management, networking and attention to detail – all of these are valuable in any field, no matter the job. Most importantly though, I think BBR taught me that you can be successful and have fun at the same time. I don’t think any business does this as well as BBR, and it makes for an awesome working environment.
What is your fondest memory of BBR?
Obviously, this is too tough to narrow down to just one – the creativity and awe of BBR Beer Bashes, the feeling of collective pride at the ADDY Awards, embarrassing but hilarious talent competitions at Christmas parties. My favorite memories of BBR are probably some of the simplest ones. We always took time out of the workday to celebrate each employee’s birthday with a delicious dessert. It may not seem like such a big deal, but it really showed that everyone was valued like a family member, which was important to me, since all my family members lived so far away in Ohio.
What client did you enjoy working on the most while at BBR?
There were a lot of clients that I enjoyed working with for different reasons. I really enjoyed the LaCHIP projects because I got to work on several different aspects from website development to public relations. Community Coffee was also a fun client to work with too. My favorite project was probably the LEPA annual report. Although the project was a small and simple job, it was the first job I managed and completed entirely on my own, so I felt really accomplished when it was finished.