Nicole (Dunning) Weaverling proves the path forward doesn’t always require a plan
By McKensie Hodges, junior advertising and public relations major
Are you a freshman, sophomore, or even junior who is undecided on a major? Nicole Weaverling ’05 doesn’t think this is a terrible problem. In fact, being undecided should be viewed as an opportunity to network and develop your personal brand.
Nicole came to Drury with aspirations of working in public relations and was not sure about much else. “I was really focused in on what was going on around me in the college world.” While at Drury, she participated on the Speech and Debate team where she spent many long nights of running lines and working on stage prep with the team’s coach, Dr. Curt Gilstrap. During her senior year she joined AD Team and served as the Research Director on the Yahoo! campaign. As is the case with many communication students, Shewmaker became her home away from home.
As the late study nights, 3 a.m. coffee runs, and endless papers came to an end after four years in college, Nicole prepared herself for graduation day. She was not exactly sure of where she was going to go after walking across the stage to receive her diploma. This was an unsettling reality.
Nicole decided the best move she could make was to pack her bags and return home to live at her grandmother’s house in Texas to regroup, rest, and take the initiative to get her name out there.
“The first few years were rough. If you don’t have experience, you can’t get experience.”
She accepted a job at the Midland Reporter in advertising and sales. From there Nicole worked a few different jobs in graphic design and communication and eventually became a stay at home mom in 2011, after giving birth to her son Eli. While working at home, Nicole discovered her love of cake decorating and party planning and ran her own business for a while.
Her true professional calling came during the oil boom when she decided it was time to dust off her high heels and dress pants and hit the business world. A connection helped her get a job at the Midland Chamber of Commerce as a public relations and communications assistant, a position she currently holds. This role allows Nicole to perform a variety of PR activities, including writing press releases and organizing events for the Chamber. This career is a perfect fit with her skills and interest.
Nicole is happy to reside in her home state of Texas. In 2008 she married Dirk and they started a life together in Midland, Texas, home of former President George W. Bush. Midland is the size of a community where Nicole’s husband has actually had the opportunity to meet the former president.
Now that Nicole has launched her career in public relations, she fully understands the importance of professional networks. Nicole’s best advice for students? “Start networking while you’re in college.” As Nicole story proves, you never know how a connection might shape your career path. Students, you’re encouraged to make a connection with Nicole on LinkedIn — especially if you are undecided.