Reunion volunteer Katrina Ablen, ESIA BA ’10, caught up with classmate Marissa Moran, SMPA/CCAS BA ’10, to ask about what she’s been up to since graduation in anticipation of the Class of 2010’s 5-year reunion during Alumni Weekend.
What do you enjoy most about your work and how did you get here?
After moving to Los Angeles and trying out a few media/social impact jobs, I settled at Hershey Cause Communications because it bridged my love of strategic communications with local social movements led by community groups. These nonprofits are doing a lot of great work at the grassroots, but our communications, marketing, and branding services open up a whole new world for them and their work. I love being able to bring something that comes very natural to me (comms) to those who are less aware of its significance in their everyday work.
Lately I’ve been witnessing the far-reaching effects of the communications work we do for nonprofits and foundations in LA. I recently worked on an account where we pitched an important story about domestic violence (DV) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) to the media, and it gained a lot of traction in major news outlets, directing women who had been affected by DV and TBI to seek help. It was amazing to witness that our day-to-day work was actually impacting people in a positive and beautiful way. I love educating people on new issues and presenting a new perspective they would have never considered.
Looking back, would you have thought that this is where you would end up?
Definitely not. If you had asked me this question in 2012 after graduating with a master’s degree in London and about to embark on an international career, I would have said “Yes, I planned this perfectly! Mwahahaha.” But then life gets real and unexpected, and I fell in love with a guy living in Los Angeles, and found myself moving to a city where I didn’t know anyone and had close to zero career prospects. But it’s all turned out extremely well for me. I love my job, I’m on a strong career path, and my personal life is happy. I couldn’t have planned it better myself. It was – is – not without its obstacles. It took me months to find steady work that I liked, and I did give up an international job that I still long for. But I believe that the opportunity will present itself again in the future if that’s where I’m meant to be.
What insight do you wish you had known back when you were fresh out of college and preparing for the working world?
Life can take you in a million directions and most of them will turn out for the best. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to find the perfect job or have a defined path, because the beauty is in the surprises.
Any close friends you still keep in touch with? Any shout outs?
I’m still close to the friends I made at the GW Newman Center – we’ve reunited at a lot of weddings and baby showers lately, and it’s straight back to the comfort of college days when we’re together.
You likely have tons of favorite memories during your time at GW. What is one that you’ve thought about frequently in light of the upcoming reunion?
Graduation week was bomb. The school provided so many fun things for us to do and really celebrated 4 years of extremely hard work.
Will you be joining your classmates for this year’s reunion during Alumni Weekend?
Unfortunately, I will not make it to Alumni Weekend this year, but since graduating I’ve been to D.C. once a year or so, and each time I’m surprised by the development around campus. It’s a positive thing, and there are plenty of new opportunities and amenities for students to explore, but I’m surprised by how it’s grown UP!
We’re looking forward to seeing the class of 2010 and other reunion years at Alumni Weekend 2015! If you’re like Marissa and can’t make it back to campus this year, you don’t have to miss out on all the fun—check out Facebook and Twitter for updates throughout Alumni Weekend and follow the hashtag #GWAW15 to see posts and messages from your fellow alumni!