“Always take your resume wherever you go, and don’t be afraid to talk to the random people around you. You never know where a connection is going to happen.”
Micah (McClaren) Azzano ’05 can testify to the power of this advice. She received her first job offer out of college from a woman she met in the restroom of a popular Washington, D.C. restaurant.
It might sound odd, but Micah’s commitment to her job search led to an unusual encounter when she met a friend for dinner one night. A visit to the restroom led to a discussion about employment opportunities in D.C., specifically about Micah’s urgent desire to find a public relations position. A woman in the room overheard the conversation and asked Micah to send in her resume on Monday. Micah simply pulled her polished resume from her shoulder bag, smiled, and said there was no need to wait.
Pleasantly surprised by Micah’s readiness to provide her credentials, the woman responded, “I think I might have a job for you.” Micah got the job, the woman became her mentor, and the two have remained close professional confidants throughout Micah’s communication career.
Currently, Micah is the Director of Public Affairs for The National History Day in Washington, D.C. She is in charge of all outreach and communication activities including booking keynote speakers, organizing external events and managing press relations. Micah is also working on her master’s in Communication and Organizational Leadership at Gonzaga University.
Micah came to Drury from Claremore, Okla., and she graduated with majors in Advertising and Public Relations and minors in Design Arts and Global Studies. She served on The Mirror staff and was involved with the Free Arts Association and Delta Delta Delta.
An internship at National Public Radio took Micah from the Midwest to the East Coast. When the internship ended, she wanted to stay in Washington, D.C., but she didn’t have a job lined up. That’s when the infamous restaurant conversation launched her PR career. She fell in love with the D.C. area because of the residents’ passion for community activism. She also met her husband, Jim, in D.C. and they now devote much of their spare time to supporting community causes. “My husband and I stay heavily involved in different nonprofits,” says Micah.
Micah attributes her readiness for the public relations field to the PR classes that required her dress up for Professional Day and the opportunity to participate in a Midwest public relations competition where she won first place in the crisis communication event.
For those students searching for a professional path, Micah offers the following advice:
“Be willing to strike up a conversation. You need to be bold on how you approach your job search, especially when you’re just starting out. You need to find a way to make yourself invaluable so no one will want to let you go and they will support every decision you make after that.”
And that is exactly what Micah did early in her career.
While working at the Department of Labor, Facebook was just being opened up to the public. The Secretary of Labor at the time needed someone to teach her how to use Facebook because she saw it as potentially valuable space to connect with others. Micah was the only employee who had a Facebook account, so she spent two hours teaching the Secretary of Labor how to use it. Ordinarily, this official would not have had a reason to converse with an employee at Micah’s rank. Following her own advice, Micah saw this Facebook session as an opportunity to make herself invaluable to an important organizational leader.
For Micah, making connections started at Drury and has helped her get to where she is today. To learn more about Micah’s professional journey, don’t miss the opportunity to connect with her on LinkedIn.
Newsletter contributor: Natasha Sanford