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"Communications Conversations" Hosted by Waggener Edstrom Worldwide in Seattle

"Communications Conversations" Hosted by Waggener Edstrom Worldwide in Seattle
by Monica Santos-Pinacho*


On Thursday, April 12, 2012, I left my house, in Vancouver, Washington, at 4:45 a.m. and drove to Seattle to attend the Communications Conversation event at the Waggener Edstrom Worldwide headquarters. The LAGRANT Foundation and Waggener Edstrom Worldwide joined forces to create this opportunity for me and eight other undergraduate students majoring in the fields of Marketing or Public Relations.

At 8:38 a.m. with just seven minutes to spare, I found my way to the 6th floor of the Civica North Tower. This development workshop was a dynamic all-day experience that included breakfast with Pam Edstrom, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide Co-founder and President of the Microsoft Account Worldwide; a Waggener Edstrom Worldwide employee panel that answered questions and provided us with valuable career advice; resume reviews and mock interviews with WE HR personnel; lunch with Melissa Waggener Zorkin, WE Founder and CEO; a brainstorming session with See Your Impact, a WE pro bono client that helps raise funds for other non-profit organizations around the world; a behind the scenes glance at what is like to open Microsoft retail stores across the country; an engaging conversation with the General Manager of Communications for the Server and Tools business group at Microsoft, Amy Barzdikas; and a social hour reception that allowed us more time to interact with the speakers and other WE staff.

The entire event was a phenomenal experience. Having a chance to interact with the agency?s founders, Mellissa Waggener and Pam Edstrom was definitely the highlight of the event. Listening to Pam Edstrom's story of how her drive and determination got her into the technology field was very inspiring. With her story, she showed us that knowing everything is not always the key to success. The key to being successful is having the self-motivation to keep learning something new every day. The highlight of her presentation was when she told us not to be afraid and shared with us a few stories of some of her most memorable mistakes. "Fear is your enemy", she told us. Melissa Waggener shared a very casual lunch with us. I sat there in awe having a hard time believing that the CEO of a worldwide company would take so much time out of her day to simply talk to nine undergraduate students. It was very impressive to see that Waggener knew I attended Washington State University Vancouver. She knew a little bit about all of us.

The day continued and we had an amazing opportunity to interact with professionals in public relations who are all are so passionate about the industry we one day hope to venture into. One of the most encouraging aspects of this workshop was seeing first-hand how helpful the Waggener Edstrom Worldwide staff is. They were genuinely willing to give us their best advice and tips for success in this field. They all love what they do, and they enjoy the environment Waggener Edstrom Worldwide provide them. They see their jobs as careers and as an opportunity to explore their talents and grow as professionals. Their passion for their careers leaked everywhere and all nine of us students were there to catch some of it.

At about 6:25 p.m. with a wallet full of business cards, I said goodbye to all of the amazing people I had met throughout the day. I walked out the door, hoping to return one day. The three and a half hour drive home was the perfect opportunity to think back on all of the great things we were exposed to in the last nine hours and felt incredibly thankful to the LAGRANT Foundation and Waggener Edstrom Worldwide for providing this extraordinary opportunity.

*Monica Santos-Pinacho is one of The LAGRANT Foundation's 2012 scholarship recipients


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