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General Studies Graduates

Erin Smith

What I do now:
I'm the director of marketing, communications and public relations for the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce. I promote and support our 1800+ member businesses.

My work/job consists of:
Web design, social media, graphic design, media relations, photography, copywriting, proofreading, and anything else thrown my way!

Path to my current career position (how I got from the past to the present):
While at LSUS, I landed a paid internship with the tourist bureau as a communications coordinator. From there, I worked for the Bossier Sheriff's Office for three years as a sergeant in the public information office. I then worked as the director of marketing and public relations for the United Way of Northwest Louisiana, before taking some time off to have my son. I went back to work six months later at First United Methodist Church Shreveport as a digital content manager. I've worked for two small marketing agencies. The most recent was Richard Creative where I was the social media strategist and SEO manager for our growing client list.

How I got to LSUS (or why I chose LSUS):
I chose LSUS for a few reasons. One: I needed somewhere to continue my education after leaving BPCC, preferably close to home. Two: They offered courses that aligned with my goals. Three: I could get the most bang for my TOPS bucks!

Fond memories of LSUS:
While at LSUS, I was on the debate team under the direction of Trey Gibson. Debate really shaped my personality and professional confidence. I learned to think on my feet, reason through a problem with great care, better understand the decisions and beliefs that others have, and how to present complex information in a clear, concise way.

LSUS faculty who helped me:
Trey Gibson times a million! Ron Sereg, although he's no longer there, really inspired my PR path, and Karen James fueled my love for marketing.

How LSUS helped me succeed:
Not only did LSUS provide me with a quality education, it also afforded me the opportunity to be involved on campus on my terms while still working to support myself. I was able to get the full college experience without spending a ton of money.

Advice to college-bound students:
Stick with it! DO NOT STOP GOING TO SCHOOL! Education is the one thing that no one can ever take from you. If money or finances are an issue, call me! I can find you a scholarship. Without a degree, getting a good, sustainable job in this day and age is nearly impossible. Do whatever it takes to get there and finish the race.

Advice to someone who wants to enter my field:
Get an internship. The classroom cannot teach you everything you need. PR isn't just press releases. It's evolved into so much more. Understanding people and their driving factors will help you in your job.

Tips on choosing a major or career:
Don't over think it. Don't pick something just because your friends have chosen it or your mom wants you to. Choose something that excites you and can sustain the kind of life you want to lead. If you are unsure, talk to someone in the field you're interested in. Trust me - there are plenty of us out there who would love to help you make that determination.

My toughest professional challenge:
Juggling the day-to-day, while also pushing forward to achieve long-term goals. Sometimes the daily tasks can bog you down, but you've got to consider the end game.

My toughest personal challenge:
My toughest personal challenge is juggling family and work. I have a seven-year-old stepdaughter and a three-year-old son. I miss them every day. Luckily, I have the most supportive teammate and husband a gal could ask for. We try to prioritize time together, but it's not always possible; a work in progress!

Successes (honors, awards, etc.) in my life:
-Graduated magna cum laude from LSUS
-Nationally-ranked debater and speaker in 2008
-President of the American Advertising Federation of Shreveport-Bossier
-Louisiana State Representative for the AAF 10th District

I've learned this from life:
Relationships mean everything. The way you treat people and make them feel is more important than anything else on this earth. People may not remember what you said or how you looked, but they will remember how you made them feel.

What I'd be doing if I had all the time in the world:
Traveling with my kids and doing random Pinterest projects.

 
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