Catching Up With:
Kelly Ann Keenan – Event Marketing Specialist, Travel Impressions
Communications Graduate, Class of 2013
Before Kelly Ann came to Molloy College she was originally a Business Major at the University at Albany but chose to transfer here during the winter intersession of 2012 due to her interest in pursing a career in communications specifically the professional area. One of her areas of interest in the professional communications field that helped her make the change was the possibility of pursing a career in event planning. The Molloy College communications program offered courses geared towards that profession. Kelly Ann added, “After experiencing different aspects of the business world, I decided the numbers and statistics wasn’t going to be my cup of tea. I have been involved in various forms of events all my life and still remain active in organizing volunteer events across the island, which is where I discovered that it could be a route that I would like to pursue for a career.”
When Kelly Ann first came to Molloy, her initial goal was to do well in all of her studies and get through the rest of college the best I could. But after taking her first few classes and meeting some of the professors at Molloy, her goals and aspirations to achieve more than just doing well arose shortly after. This was due to the plethora of course offerings the communications department offered Kelly Ann. “Some of my favorite courses in the major were Interpersonal Communications, Intro to New Media and as funny as it is to hear myself say it now, Senior Seminar. When I first arrived at Molloy, both Interpersonal Communications and Intro to New Media provided me with a strong base for the various classes that are offered through the department and the value that each holds. Interpersonal and New Media are two different spectrums of the Communication major but both classes had such a positive environment between the students and professors and the material was more enriching than I had imagined. The skills I learned in Interpersonal Communications come out in the business world without even realizing it.” Kelly Ann continued: “Then there’s Senior Seminar. I remember going into the class dreading it after hearing how difficult it could be. Looking back, it taught me more than just how to do proper research and study of a topic and helped lead me to some of the closest friends I had while at Molloy.”
There were many lessons and advice she received from the communications professors that helped her after graduation. Kelly Ann believes that the communications professors were one of highlights of her college tenure at Molloy. She added, “Everywhere you turn there is always someone with a friendly face but even better there’s some to tell you how it really is. I learned some of my most valuable lessons by my professor’s life lessons into their educational strategies. Putting the real world into the classroom and putting you to the test. It was always in failure that I found myself able to turn it around and become better, whether it was becoming better as a student, person, or professional.” She specifically had two professors that always pushed her to become better and exceed higher than she ever thought, which was the most valuable lesson she could carry with her throughout her prospering career.
All communications students are required to intern with a media or professional company before he or she graduates. This gives students the opportunity to apply their skills in a professional setting and give them some vital experience. Kelly Ann interned at Connoisseur Media, which is a radio station holding company based in Westport, CT that owns 36 radio stations in several markets throughout the United States. She worked with the promotions department and her responsibilities included hands-on experiences communicating between stations to listeners. She helped organize on-air contests, on-site promotions, and other public relations tasks to help gain more listeners. After the summer internship with the company end, Kelly Ann was asked to continue on as part of the crew, where she continued to attend events to interact with listeners. Some responsibilities included being self-motivated and a friendly enthusiastic individual to represent radio stations at various promotional events for Connoisseur Media. While this was a new and different experience, she soon realized it was not a path she wanted her career to turn into and decided to go into a different route.
Kelly Ann is currently working for Travel Impressions as an Event Marketing Specialist. She is responsible for the planning, coordinating and the execution of sales seminars, trade shows, the annual Best of the Best and other Travel Impressions (TI) internal and external events. The Event Marketing Specialist also supports the general activities of the Marketing Communications department, as assigned, including PR, social media, creative and marketing program activities. This initially started as a temporary position, but she was asked to stay on with more responsibilities after only four months with the company. This enhances her prior duties by communicating and negotiating with internal customers, event vendors and product suppliers to finalize all program details with regards to contracts, banquet event orders, audio visual needs and set up. Setting up tradeshows for the company requires researching possible event venues, reviewing, analyzing, negotiating and preparing vendor contracts. Kelly Ann’s department is responsible for management, coordination and logistical aspects of assigned events, tradeshows and meetings including: on site management, audiovisual equipment, budgeting, food, beverage and catering, registration arrangements, managing installation and dismantling of all areas of the event program.
With her amazing career still developing, Kelly Ann credits some of her communications courses that helped her advance in her current position. She believes Interpersonal Communications, Intercultural Communications and Gender Communications all help her as she is planning and executing events, which are all about communication. Kelly Ann added, “You have to work with not only the vendor you are hosting the event at, but with Suppliers, Agents and the various departments inside the company itself. The events department works in unison with the Product, Sales, Operations, Training and Marketing Departments in order to successfully provide agents with an enriching experience and memorable encounters with the suppliers. In the travel business you work with people from all over the world, so understanding the different ways in which people can communicate and how they operate is essential in making an event run smoothly.”
When students are in their senior year, they are required to take senior seminar where they write a research paper on a communications topic of their choice. Kelly Ann chose to write about Bullying and Cyber bullying. While the topic of her paper doesn’t directly influence what she is doing with her career right now, she learned valuable lessons by working through the class that continue to have a direct influence on her every day. “Senior seminar was a class that challenged you not just intellectually but mentally as well. Dr. Pribram pushed our class to give our topics all we had and that drive isn’t something you can learn in a book or write about in a paper. It’s what you do while writing the paper and pushing yourself to have the determination and focus that it took to complete it that carries on with you”, stated Kelly Ann. She continued, “Dr. Pribram taught me and I’m sure many others that persistence is just a big fancy word for never giving up, determination is just another way of saying no if’s, ands or buts, and courage is about having the guts to do what needs to be done. It was always more than just a paper.”
In giving advice to a freshman taking their first communications course, Kelly Ann wants students to never do what seems easiest. If she could go back, she would have liked to try and push more and take a variety of classes beyond professional communications, even if it was going to push her back a semester. Transferring to Molloy offered her a variety of classes but looking back she would have liked to have expanded on that horizon more. In giving advice to those that have just graduated, Kelly Ann tells all to not give up and enjoy the time off while it lasts! “Regardless of how things may start to seem after the confetti settles, no one escapes life without a little hardship, so don’t let anything stop you after graduation. Sometimes, life is going to get messy. The difference between those who overcome those obstacles and those who surrender to them is all about attitude and perspective. Besides how you deal with hardship, relationships will be your biggest strength. Life is about people not things.” Kelly Ann explained to make sure you don’t judge your wager of success on other people. The only definition you should be concerned with is your own. She used the words from retired New York Yankee Derek Jeter when he stated, “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do”.
In closing, Kelly Ann discussed her goals for the future. She hopes to continue to move up the totem pole at Travel Impressions. While her long term goal would be to work in event planning for the NFL or the Joe Torre foundation since she is a lifelong fan of sports. “Not only would I be doing something what I love to do, but I’m doing it for something I have a bigger passion for and hopefully it can help make a difference in someone else’s life.