Alumni Reflect on the @WorkingOrange Experience

By Kim Brown, Assistant Director of Alumni Programs

We’re celebrating the one-year anniversary of @WorkingOrangeTuesday’s blog post offered top advice from some of our alumni who took over as guest tweeters during the past year. Today, our alumni share what it was like to be the voice of @WorkingOrange for a day and encourage other alumni to sign up to tweet!

Josh Lukin, @coffeeon3rd, Director of Club Initiatives at MLB Advanced Media
Access. As a sports and social media professional (yes, you can do this for a living!) I routinely preach to teams and colleagues that above all else, being able to offer fans unique access to a world once reserved just for the athletes themselves is what makes social media in sports so powerful. Through social media, you can not only take fans inside the locker room, on to the sidelines and aboard the team bus, but you can also connect the team and players directly to their fans. Similarly, @WorkingOrange has done the same for students and alumni across the professional spectrum, giving access to workspaces and workplaces you might otherwise never get to see. From MLB Advanced Media (that’s me if you can’t tell by now) to Twitter HQ itself, the account offers aspiring journalists, teachers, engineers, politicians and more an all-access tour of what it might be like to do just that for a living at some of the most sought after employers in the country. And just like in sports, it also offers the chance to connect those alumni (pretty cool that we’re the ‘athletes’ in this analogy) directly to those students to answer questions and offer advice. It was a joy to be given the keys to the account, and I’ve enjoyed following along ever since. I encourage students do the same and for alumni to open up their Tweetdecks for one day to show future Orange grads how great it is to be you.

Marc Lomasky, @marclomasky, Duke University Law Student
MarcLomaskyThrough @WorkingOrange, I was not only able to share law school advice with students/alumni, but I was connected to SU alumni and current students who are planning on attending/or are currently in law school. I was particularly connected to two alumni – a first-year law student at Syracuse Law and a first-year law student at Brooklyn Law – and have served as a mentor to them in their studies in their first year. 

Brittany Campbell, @bcampp, Google+ Marketing Associate at Google
BrittanyCampbellWorking Orange is a great way to give SU students a quick glimpse of what the real world is like. It feels great for us as alumni to stay connected with the Orange community post-graduation because networking never really ends – even though we are lucky and have jobs right now, staying connected with fellow Syracuse alums and current students will always be a positive thing for the future.

Jen Voss, @jvoss0712, Account Supervisor, Social Marketing at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
JenVossI was honored to be part of the first week of Working Orange and to help Syracuse continue its role as a leader in higher education/social media innovation. Not knowing how many students would participate in week one of a new initiative (and with my early morning hours!) I was extremely pleased with the number of questions and amount of interacting I did with current students and appreciated the feedback and questions from alumni as well. I’ve developed relationships with several students through Working Orange and spoke with them after my Working Orange day about the public relations industry, the pros/cons, how I got my start, and so forth and continue to speak with them as they have left Syracuse or are about to leave and start their professional careers. 

Matthew LaFleur, @doodlematt, Design Director at Trend Publishing, Freelance Illustrator, and Homebrewer
MatthewLaFleurWorking Orange, for me, was a way to demonstrate to students that it’s possible to do freelance illustration, have a full time job, and make your own work to promote yourself (homebrew labels).

Mitch Bernstein, @mitch_bernstein, Manager of Operations at MAXX Sports & Entertainment

MitchBernsteinHaving the opportunity to take over the Working Orange Twitter Handle for one day was a very great experience.  I was able to share my story with current students while answering their questions about the industry I work in, as well as providing advice to them, based on my time in the “real world” thus far. I encourage all Syracuse Alumni to participate in the opportunity, as it has allowed me to broadcast my story to all of the Working Orange followers and give current students a chance to reach out to me.  Thanks to this experience, I have been able to network with many students and have given these students additional industry contacts to reach out to based on their career interests and experiences. Some of the students that I’ve helped have been great about keeping in touch and I hope these relationships will grow over time.  Giving back is something that I’ve always prioritized in my life and after taking over the Working Orange account, I feel great that I now can mentor and help students with career advice.

Matt Cohn, @mattdcohn, IMG Clients at IMG
MattCohnI had a senior sport management major reach out and have been helping him in his job hunt. It was great interacting with students, especially considering I was in their position only a few years ago. I have continued to follow along and it’s fun seeing fellow classmates and where they ended up. Only problem is @WorkingOrange was not around when I was at SU!

Katie Walpole, @katiewalpole, MPA Candidate at the London School of Economics
KatieWalpoleBeing able to participate on the @WorkingOrange account was a great experience in giving back to the Syracuse University Community. I’m not able to attend too many alumni events due to my location as well as graduate school schedule, but this was a great opportunity. The SU community is full of amazing people, and I was so happy to interact with them even virtually! After tweeting on the @WorkingOrange account, I was able to help a bunch of current students and alumni with questions about living abroad (SU study abroad or grad school). I’ve also given out a bunch of tips about what to see and do in England!

Scott Spinelli, @spinelli_scott, Baseline Producer at MLB Network and Author of “congratulations?”
ScottSpinelliWhen I participated on @WorkingOrange, I wasn’t sure what to expect. And what I got totally blew my mind in a great way. Questions, comments, interactions for literally the whole day. The ease of twitter and innovative accounts like this one really make it so there’s no excuse for recent grads… it’s networking made easy. So take advantage!

Jeff Kaczmarzyk, @jkacz, Associate Manager at PBS Distribution
JeffKaczmarczykStudents who were working on a social TV presentation for a class contacted me while I was on @WorkingOrange and used my insights directly in the presentation. I also got some good response on Twitter!

Clark Van Der Beken, @ClarkGVan, Strategist at One Mighty Roar

ClarkVDB@WorkingOrange provides a really great opportunity to give unfiltered advice while talking about what we love about our job or company. It’s a win-win for everyone. I enjoyed being able to talk about one of the lesser known majors at SU – Communication and Rhetorical Studies – and provide a connection between classes and work life.

Andy Hetzel, @andrewhetzel, VP of Corporate Communications at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
AndyHetzelLiterally, as soon as I took over @WorkingOrange for the day I had people at another university’s alumni relations department, who follow me on Twitter, talking about doing something similar!  It’s another great example of Orange innovation and leadership.  I loved the opportunity to interact with students and alums about career insights and my daily work.  I strongly encourage other alums to get on board. It’s a unique way to contribute your insights, experience and wisdom to help make others better prepared and more knowledgeable – like making a guest lecture on campus, but at 140-characters at a time.

Sandy Prisbell, @sandypantalones, Project Designer at Mattel
SandyPrisbellTweeting for @WorkingOrange was a great opportunity to share my experiences to help other BFA students bring their talents into their future creative careers but also to connect with other alumni and learn about their experiences and careers!

Amelia Sugerman, @AmeliaSugerman, Online Community Marketing Specialist at Collette
AmeliaSugermanI opened some great conversations and am beginning to mentor a graduate student who is now looking for work. I think the biggest thing for me has been that I want to give back- and this is a great way to do so for those who unfortunately just can’t send financial help to the university yet. I feel so honored that others look up to my advice and I know that I got where I am today because of the relationships I’ve made – so I’m hoping that others will learn to pay it forward!

Rachel Chang, @RachelChang, Senior Editor at Us Weekly Magazine
RachelChangI was a fan of @WorkingOrange before I had the chance to be one of the guest tweeters, sharing my day at @UsWeekly. Not only is it a unique peek into what the actual day-to-day life of different careers are like for students, but for professionals, it’s a fascinating way to break stereotypes and truly learn how other industries work, which ultimately can help you on your own job. Plus it was just so fun to interact with students and alumni during the day — it made me appreciate my own job more too!

Matt Friedman, @mattfrieds, Co-Owner/Co-Founder of Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications
MattFriedmanI truly enjoyed the @workingorange experience. It allowed me to put my career in perspective, distill some thoughts into succinct terms and, hopefully, help students and young alumni to focus on their careers while giving them a glimpse into mine. I highly recommend participating in this and dedicating the time, throughout the day, to shed light on what you do and why you’re doing it and share what you have learned since graduation that helped you get where you are. It’s a given we couldn’t have accomplished success without SU. @workingorange lets you tell the rest of the story and provide access to your workday that a “career day” would never otherwise share. Selfishly, the highlight of my @workingorange day was the Direct Message I received late that night. A student who had been following, and picked up on my obsession with SU basketball, used a connection to the team to invite me to sit in on a practice. Six weeks later, when I was visiting campus for the annual WJPZ Alumni Weekend, I got to watch a practice courtside and meet my favorite Orange basketball player of all time – Gerry McNamara. It was fan’s dream come true, all possible thanks to @workingorange.

Angela Tucciarone, @A_Tooch, Digital Media at PepsiCo
AngelaTucciaroneI’m not just saying it but… Syracuse really does have one of the best alumni networks. When I tell colleagues and friends about the WorkingOrange Twitter handle, HS mentor programs like SUMMA and all of the events that go on at Lubin house they are shocked (and jealous). Most are invited to engage in one thing a year from their universities…homecoming.

Matt Josephs, @brosephs950, Producer at ESPN Radio 950
MattJosephsIt was a good chance for the followers to see what covering training camp was like. I got to know a few students and alumni who asked questions and have a few more friendly followers who love the Orange and talk sports.

Nicole Marie Milano, @nicolemariemil, Writing and Editing Specialist at Writing Solutions Group
NicoleMarieMilanoWhile it wasn’t a direct result of my involvement with @WorkingOrange, I recently passed on my old job at the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra to another SU grad whom I recommended to my supervisor. I’m always willing to help another Orange!

Taylor Carr, @taylorcarr90, Account Associate, Corporate & Strategy, at WCG, a W2O Company
TaylorCarrBeing a recent graduate, Working Orange allowed me the opportunity to offer students advice and feedback on topics that I always had questions about as a student. I covered topics like transitioning to the workforce, the best way to connect with potential employers or deciding which city would be best for me. I was thrilled that so many students engaged with me, followed me, and have continued to communicate with me.

Harsh Mall, @harsh_mall, Digital Marketing Associate at Richard Attias & Associates
HarshMallMy biggest takeaway from following @WorkingOrange over the past year was the sheer spectrum of opportunities that are available to students. Learning how each alumnus connected their major to their career is so fascinating! The questions I received when I was working the account actually made me look harder at the work I was doing. Before, I hadn’t thought much about “branding” my work- that is, how do I make my work and my company’s work seem attractive and valuable to someone who knows nothing about us? So I went back to the drawing board to rework some basic branding language for us, thanks to @WorkingOrange.

Miko Horn, @mikohorn, National Tour Director/Father Knows Best & FISLL Curriculum at the Allan Houston Legacy Foundation
MikoHornI had an awesome time being on WO and sharing a little about my work experience and various projects I’ ve worked on and people I’ve worked with and for. It was great to meet so many fellow current Orange students and some fellow working Alum.  I had a chance to connect with some in the sports industry and look forward to working on future collaborations with them.  It was also great to meet and speak with some students that are interested in careers in sports and having an opportunity to pass along an opportunity with one young lady that may lead into a summer internship and who knows maybe a possible future job. I encourage other Alum to participate on WO and continue to spread valuable insight on career opportunities.  Nothing like that SU Brand!

Matt Park, @mattpark1, Voice of the Orange at Syracuse University
MattParkI’d encourage anyone to take part because Working Orange is a very creative, easily consumable demonstration of the variety of careers that are possible through the Syracuse experience. You never know who or what might be sparked by exposure to what our alums are doing.

Naysa Mishler, @naysamishler, LinkedIn Corporate Solutions
NaysaMishlerI loved participating in @WorkingOrange! It was such a unique and creative way to reconnect with the SU community.  I also recommend the LinkedIn Alumni Tool to connect with SU graduates. (Editor’s note: this is a great tip from Naysa! The tool is very powerful!)

Ryan Balton, @ryanbalton, Studio Operator at ESPN
RyanBaltonI had a lot of fun being part of @WorkingOrange. It allows direct communication between alumni in the workforce and students that in other forms is difficult to organize.


Happy birthday @WorkingOrange and THANK YOU to all of our alumni, students, and friends who have made the account a SUccess!

If you’re a Syracuse grad interested in taking over @WorkingOrange for the day, please e-mail me at kmbrow04 at syr dot edu.