Over 12 communications professionals in the social impact sector gathered on the evening of February 25 for a networking event, aptly titled: “Communications Careers that Change the World.” This event was not an opportunity to hand out resumes or give stress-inducing elevator pitches; rather, it was centered on genuine conversation about the multitude of pathways possible to land in a meaningful career.
Shaun Adamec, founder and president of Adamec Communications and a regional leader of The Communications Network Group (ComNetworkBOSTON), kicked off the event by saying, “There are a lot of myths about working in public affairs, public relations, communications field, one of them being you have to sell your soul to do it.”
“There are also a lot of myths about working in the nonprofit space, working for issues, to advance causes and one is that you have to take a vow of poverty to do it,” Adamec added. “I can promise you no one here took a vow of poverty. We all make fine livings working for the issues we care about.”
After Adamec’s remarks, professionals at Aspen Leadership Group, Artists for Humanity, Barr Foundation, Fast Company, Harvard Kennedy School, Healthcare for All Massachusetts, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Philanthropy Massachusetts and more made introductions and then dispersed to speak with students.
The configuration of the room was conducive to mingling. Small tables were situated in a semicircle with bowls of popcorn, chips, and pretzels. The middle was open so people could stand and talk if sitting wasn’t preferred.
Students in attendance were eager to have the opportunity to speak with dedicated professionals. “I’ve always known I’ve wanted to work in nonprofit in whatever way possible – I could never see myself in the corporate world,” said Jessica Mandel (COM ’20). “My parents are both public school teachers in Philly and they instilled in me a lot of values about helping people—especially those who don’t have a voice or one as loud.”
The room was buzzing with excitement and chatter as aspiring nonprofit professionals interacted with around 25 students, offering insight and encouragement.
“We’ve got a whole bunch of brilliant, other-centered people here who follow their passion,” said Professor Edward Downes. “We represent a very small percent of the labor force, only about seven percent, but here at COM, we have well over seven percent of the students who want to dive in and pursue nonprofit careers.”
Nonlinear paths seemed to be the central point of emphasis when professionals told their stories—a comfort to many students who are unsure about their own professional trajectories after crossing the stage in May.
“My transition from numbers to creative has been an interesting journey,” said Adrian Gill. “I worked for PwC and that process was painful, but now 99% of what I do is creative. I can walk this line and it distinguishes me from pure creatives…I have an ability to balance.”
Gill worked at Puma for over 10 years, but feels at home “giving back because there is so much taking and self-interest.”
Breaking beyond the confines of profit-seeking and pursuing your passions was at the heart of this networking opportunity. Students and professionals alike appeared invigorated with each other’s passion to tackle pressing local and global issues on behalf of meaningful causes and the populations they serve.
Magdalene Soule, Staff Writer
Magdalene is a senior studying public relations. She loves the pace and opportunities offered in Boston and above all, at the College of Communication. She is a COM Ambassador and the Director of External Affairs for PRLab. She is passionate about community outreach and hopes to ultimately work in the nonprofit sector or serve in a community relations/external affairs role at a company committed to corporate social responsibility. She enjoys strolling around Boston, great company, and almond milk lattes.