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August 21, 2012 / Teresa

Sophie Sestero, ’11: Taking the public relations world by storm

Sophie is a proud graduate of Whitworth’s Communication Studies department and has been making her mark on the world of public relations since she graduated in 2011, most recently at the fledgling firm Ritter Public Relations.

Tell us a little about your time as a student? “At Whitworth I worked for a degree in Journalism & Mass Communication with minors in Visual Communications and English. I was an editor for the Whitworthian, member of the varsity golf team, and proud resident of Duvall Hall! Some of my favorite classes and experiences came from an abroad trip to London, British Culture through theatre and music, art classes with Scott Kolbo, journalism classes with Ginny Whitehouse, Jim McPherson and any lit class with Vic Bobb!”

Can you give a brief overview of what you’ve been up to since May, 2011? “After graduation I moved back to Boise and picked up a few freelance jobs writing, doing social media management, and some PR work. I also started writing for the Idaho Women’s Journal, who later commissioned me to write a book—an intro to social media for women in business. After that I found a job as an Assistant Account Executive at Ritter Public Relations—a company started in January 2012—where I’ve been able to learn and grow. A few weeks ago I was promoted to Account Executive and have been able to have new responsibilities. Primarily I write, work with clients, manage social media, media relations, and lots more!”

Sophie with professor James McPherson at Commencement, May 2011

Sophie with professor James McPherson at Commencement, May 2011

Did any Whitworth professors have a significant impact on your career path? “Jim McPherson, Ginny Whitehouse, and Scott Kolbo were amazing professors who took the time to build confidence, encourage me, work with me to grow my skills, and guided me through the college experience. They love what they teach and are incredibly passionate—so much so that their passion rubs off on students.”

What has been your scariest moment so far? “My scariest moment was when I had to quit one of my former freelance jobs. It was more work than it was worth and it was honestly not a good match for my skills. Many people told me I was nuts for quitting a job before having something else lined up, but it turned out to be the right thing for me to be able to move onto bigger and better things.”

Any idea where you want to be 5 years from now? “I’d like to be learning new things. I’ve been thinking about going to school (alongside working) for my Master’s degree, but I need to dig in a little more as to where to go and what I’d like to study. Probably something related to Media Criticism & Analysis—my favorite class at Whitworth.”

Could you share any career–related lessons you’ve learned at Whitworth? “Most of my career-related lessons I’ve learned outside of Whitworth actually. While Whitworth prepared me to be bold and go out into the world, nothing can make you feel comfortable like hands-on experience and being in an office. I think I’ve learned that a fear of failure really lends itself to more failure and less growth. The best thing about Ritter PR is they encourage you to try no matter what — with that in mind I’ve been able to have a whole new set of confidence and skill sets I’d never have found.”

Sophie and her boyfriend Andrew Keyser, ’11

What have been the most valuable non-career-related lessons you’ve learned since graduation? “Two things: family is essential. I have no idea where I’d be if my parents had not been supportive as I experimented with little jobs around town and let me move back home after graduation. They have been an important support system. Also, one of the things you never think about while you’re a student is the hard truth that everyone you grow to love in college disperses after graduation. I’ve been in a long-distance-relationship since May 2011. My boyfriend is in Oregon, while my closest friends are scattered all over the northwest. Keeping in touch with them has been a challenge, but well worth the time. I’m hoping as we get settled into careers we’ll start migrating toward each other.”

One Comment

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  1. Maria Sestero / Aug 23 2012 5:50 am

    Great job! Love how much you have grown!

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