Kelsey Donohue- "Storytelling with Snapchat"

This week Marist alum, Kelsey Donohue, gave an inaugural talk for Marist’s new Center for Social Media.  Kelsey Donohue, a Media Strategist for the Outcast Agency in San Francisco, California is known by many as the lucky Marist alum to work in the famed White House. She spoke to fellow Marist students about her experience as the assistant press secretary for former First Lady, Michelle Obama, including the creation of her Snapchat account. Kelsey emphasized the importance of authenticity in strategic Snapchatting, as well as partnerships with relevant influencers to enhance the FLOTUS’ personal brand and the stories she wanted to tell. She concluded with two tips for aspiring media professionals -  to stay true to themselves, especially on social media, and social media is a learning process of trial and error, even for social media wizards like her.

Featured: Kelsey Donohue (on left) and Prof. Jennie Donohue (on right) speaking to students and faculty in the LT screening room.

Featured: Kelsey Donohue (on left) and Prof. Jennie Donohue (on right) speaking to students and faculty in the LT screening room.

After her talk, NRC had the opportunity to speak with her further about her experience leading up to the White House and her time in Washington.

Kelsey’s career post graduation from Marist began with a concentration on education. After interning at the Department of Education, and a well prepared job interview, Kelsey was hired and her media career began.

Q: What was it like working in the White House?

A: There was always something going on. Sometimes it would be organizing a state dinner, or planning the girl scouts camp out dinner or working with the characters from Star Wars to run FLOTUS’ media campaign.

Q: What was your favorite memory at Marist College?

A: My favorite memory was working with admissions and specifically planning an overnight event for Marist College students. All my life I knew that I was passionate about education and taking part in the admissions process and was excited to get new students to join the red fox community.

Q: What’s a good piece of advice that you would give to students about marketing their own personal brand and for future clients?

A: My advice would be to stay authentic to what values and goals yourself or the brand emcompasses. Often brands miss this concept, this human touch or hidden component that is the key to making a media impact. During my time in the White House, this was the theme I made sure was consistent to represent the first lady and the first lady’s public agenda.

Q: At NRC, we’ve begun transforming our student-run PR firm to an IMC firm, that includes accepting students of other majors, to represent, plan and execute media plans for clients in the Hudson Valley, do you think this is the future for brands to connect to consumers?

A: Yes I think so. One of the clients that I work on with now is Amazon. One of things that surprised me was how the communications and marketing departments were separated to craft, plan and disperse a media message to the public/consumers. I think that IMC is the future of modern communication and connecting brands to consumers. In a sense, the key for IMC is taking inner arcs and combining them to get a better message across to consumers.

Q: What advice would you give to soon to be Marist College graduates applying for jobs?

A: Reach out to future employers before you need a job. Additionally, speak to alumni as we’ve gone through the process and understand how to survive the next stages of post-Marist.

-- David Zambuto and Janine Lim, Publicity Account Representatives