Amy Wicks is an Emerson alum whose post-grad journey is rife with professional lessons and insights. She’s currently the host of the Charged podcast while working as a digital marketing manager for Mass General. When she’s not hunting down new stories for Charged, you can find her working on projects for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Psychiatry.
After completing her undergraduate degree in English at St. Olaf College, Amy spent five years exploring Eastern Europe and teaching high school English at a bilingual school in Bratislava, Slovakia. She moved to Boston for where she completed the Integrated Marketing Communication program at Emerson College and fell in love with East Coast life. We caught up with Amy for the next installment of our Tuesday Tips series to hear what one alum has to offer for others embarking on their post-grad career path…
Being a communications professional for healthcare: What has it been like to use your Emerson education and skills for Mass General?
I started my career teaching English in Slovakia, and I loved how fulfilling that work was. Every day I saw the impact I was having on my students. And while I really love marketing, you don’t always get to see the impact your work is having in the same way. However, working at Mass General has felt like a return to that. I love coming to work and hearing the passion of the clinicians who are providing care for our patients. I love having the opportunity to speak with patients and hear how the people in this hospital have changed their lives for the better. This is a job like any other, and so, of course, there are days when I feel frustrated or overwhelmed, but it’s exciting and fulfilling to work in a place where you can come to work every day feeling great about the contribution you’re making.
What did you teach students that it’s important for alumni to remember?
I love teaching, in part because it’s so fun to help young people find their own places in the world. I think, however, that when you’re earlier in your career, it’s easy to get fixated on finding the “right” job or the “perfect fit” for your career. But the biggest thing I’ve learned along the way is that a career is a journey, not a destination, and some of my most exciting opportunities have come along simply because I was open to them. I love my current job, but it’s taken me awhile to get here. And while I didn’t necessarily love every step along the way, each one taught me skills that helped prepare me for this job.
My basic advice to students is: Be open. Keep your eyes peeled for good opportunities. And jump at them when they come along.
Finding special projects/areas of interest: Why the podcast?
I’ve found that a lot of people think podcasts are a fairly new phenomenon, but I’ve been a loyal podcast listener for roughly 10 years. The podcasts I’ve loved the most each includes a panel of people who gather weekly for smart conversations on culture and politics. I’ve always enjoyed the intimacy of the medium and the way you start to feel like you know people when they’re in your ears week after week. After so many years of listening, I’d gotten interested in working on a podcast myself, but didn’t know where to start or how to get involved.
In my role at Mass General, I spend my days thinking about content—informational content that will help patients make big healthcare decisions and stories showcase the passion and talent of the people working here in a way that will connect with our patients and the community. Our CMO had the idea to launch a podcast, and the more we thought about it, it seemed like a great way to do those things. When the opportunity to be the host came along, I jumped in with both feet.
It’s been exciting to build this project from the ground up, and honestly, a little scary to launch something that feels so personal out into the world, but I can’t wait to see where it goes.
Podcasting 101! It’s the thing now! Any advice to impart on starting one?
Just start! I was lucky to be able to go to New York University for a three-day course where I learned the very basic ins and outs of podcasting and audio editing. While I wouldn’t say I’m an expert by any means, I got the hang of it faster than I expected. If you can’t take a class, there are tons of free resources online, including this comprehensive guide from NPR (http://training.npr.org/category/audio/).
I found that once I began working on the podcast and listening to myself on tape, I found my voice and my confidence as a podcaster pretty quickly. So if you’ve got an idea, just start!