Where Are They Now? Jessica Rudis '08
What was your major at Simmons and what is your current job title?
I was a political science
double major. Current job title: Senior Social Media Strategist at TBWA\Chiat\Day
What is a typical day like at your job?
No two days are the same -- that's why I love it. I work on all aspects of the creative process and bring in insights, technological and cultural knowledge to strategically execute ideas in the social/digital realm. On a day-to-day basis that means anything from playing around with new apps, doing research on consumer behaviors, writing briefs and POVs and creating strategies for the social execution of ad campaigns.
What was the job application process like for you?
I'd been wanting to move to LA for a while so I finally got serious about that and interviewed with a handful of places out here. I applied online for my current job, I went through a few rounds of phone interviews, and then I had a final round of interviews in person.
What's your favorite part of your job?
I'm still fairly new here so it's hard to pick a favorite part. I love that I'm always stimulated and pushing myself to think about things differently. It's really fun to work in the social space since everything is always changing so there are always new opportunities to do something innovative. Our office is also infused with LA culture, so everyone is really friendly and laid back. There's a group of people who go surfing before work so my goal right now is to get good enough to join them!
How have your previous positions developed your skills for your current job?
I started out in digital journalism and that definitely paved the way for where I am today. Being curious, doing research, finding trends and crafting compelling stories all play into my current job and I honed those skills in my journalism work.
How did you know the organization was a good fit for you?
The moment I visited the office in person, I knew it was a fit. When you're doing work with internet culture you have to embrace weirdness and irreverence, and TBWA\Chiat\Day totally gets it. When I came in for my in-person interviews and saw surfboards everywhere, people walking around in jeans and flip flops and dogs hanging out at desks I knew it was the place for me. Plus I get to work on amazing brands!
What was your favorite class you took at Simmons? Why?
It's so hard to pick just one! I loved Leanne Doherty
's gender and politics class. It's a class I wish I could go back and take again every election cycle since there are always new issues to discuss. I also loved Comm 101, and it's so cool to me that one of the legendary ads we watched in that class -- the Apple 1984
one -- was created by the company where I now work.
How did Simmons help prepare you for your career?
Simmons has made a huge impact on my professional life. I'm one of those people who never thought I'd attend a women's college and now I look back on it as one of the best decisions I've ever made. In addition to an incredible education and access to incredibly smart and talented professors, the experience of a women's college prepared me to make an impact in realms that are typically male dominated. For example at one of my prior jobs I was doing a lot of work with sports, and while I was surrounded by guys who were experts in football I realized none of them really had an interest in NASCAR. That was an opportunity for me give myself an edge on sports knowledge so I spent a lot of time researching it and learned how fans engaged with it on social. That led to me becoming the office expert on NASCAR and even working within the sport itself for a bit.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I've never been someone who can plan that far into the future in my personal life. I like to go with the flow and jump on opportunities as they come, which is what brought me into the world of motorsports and now into an agency in LA. I just want to always be doing something that's challenging and keeps me on my toes.
What advice would you give to the current Simmons undergraduate students?
Two things: take advantage of everything you can while you're at Simmons, and don't be afraid to reach out to alumnae. There are so many opportunities to do awesome stuff at Simmons and so many ways to get involved that will provide you with great experience that you'll use in your future career. And as an alum I'm always happy to talk to students and help them out if I can. Don't be shy! We're all sisters.
Do you have any tips for job hunting?
Talk to people who are doing things you want to do, join organizations and go to events that are relevant to what you want to do and don't give up. I got my first job out of grad school by attending a panel and meeting one of the speakers afterward to tell him I'd always wanted to work for his company. He gave me his email address, and a few months and a ton of interviews later I was hired.
What's your Simmons moment?
Working late nights in the Simmons Voice newsroom will always be one of my favorite Simmons memories. We would pull all-nighters and things would get weirder and crazier as the night went on, but we somehow always pulled off getting the paper ready on time (most of that is due to the amazing Beth Maclin and Renee Frojo!) Those nights were a microcosm of everything I loved about Simmons: a group of smart women working together to make something happen and having an absolute blast while doing it.