Tara Connor stood at the front of the room, presenting to dozens of communications students ready to network in hopes of finding a potential internship or job. Connor was the keynote speaker at this year’s Communications Networking Event on March 7. The event was hosted by Oklahoma State University’s School of Media and Strategic Communications. Connor, an OSU alumna, remembers the nervousness she had experienced when she was a student at the Communications Networking Event.
“It’s so awkward and unnatural to me,” Connor said. “It’s as if saying, ‘Hey, you have a job. I would like one as well.’ You realize, though, that people are just people and people want to help people.”
Connor graduated from the School of Media and Strategic Communications in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in strategic communications and plenty of experience under her belt. She was the president of the OSU Ad Club and a member of the National Student Advertising Competition team as an account executive in 2012 and on the promotions team in 2011. Her team won the District 10 competition in 2011.
“I think being involved with those things gives you real-life experience,” Connor said. “It puts a different lens on what you’re learning in school. I learn by doing. You can learn things in the classroom but actually applying them is different. The Ad Club and NSAC are places where I could apply what I learned.”
Connor created opportunities for herself through involvement at OSU and at the communications networking event she attended, she made a connection at TracyLocke, an advertising firm in Dallas, Texas, and landed an internship and launched her career.
It hasn’t always been easy though. Connor has struggled with dyslexia since second grade.
“I was the perfect student, sitting in the front row, asking questions and following the rules,” Connor said. “I work really hard and throughout the years I realized I was putting in four times the amount of effort as my classmates, and it’s still taking me much longer to understand a concept. It taught me how to keep a positive attitude, and it also taught me grit. You can fall so many times, but you have to get up again.”
Connor now works at Bottle Rocket, a mobile-application development firm. She is a client-services executive, working between Bottle Rocket and their clients as an adviser and middleman. Bottle Rocket develops apps for phones, TV, websites, virtual reality and augmented reality.
“We put a big emphasis on user experience, and we want to make sure the end user is happy with the product,” Connor said. “This, in turn, makes our clients happy.”
Connor has over six years of experience under her belt, but OSU is still a special place for her.
“I felt at home driving back here,” Connor said. “I absolutely love the people here. I remember working on our campaign for NSAC one night, and we were there until about 2 or 3 in the morning. We decided to get some fresh air, and I remember sitting outside thinking, ‘I get to work with some really cool people.’ Those are the types of experiences you don’t get in the classroom.”
Connor’s presentation at the Communications Networking Event did not go unnoticed. Jacob Longan, coordinator of communications for the College of Arts and Sciences had only high praise for her dedication to presenting to students.
“Tara did a great job of sharing her story in a way that was entertaining, inspirational and informative for students looking to start their own careers,” Longan said. “She was able to share some of the tricks that have helped her establish an impressive beginning on a professional journey that isclearly headed toward a bright future.”
To learn more about the School of Media and Strategic Communications, visit media.okstate.edu.