Communication Connection

Friends of Com Newsletter

Alumni News

Post Grad. 101 as told by Jenna Curry

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

By Caitlyn Soukup

Photograph Courtesy of Wilma Magazine

“My life is your vacation.”  We all say as undergraduates, but how do we continue life in Wilmington once handed that much desired diploma?

Jenna Curry, a UNCW Communication Studies graduate from the mountains of Boone, N.C., has advice for those pursuing a career in Wilmington after graduation.  What qualifies her to give this advice? First, she is both a partner and the Director of Marketing at Little Wing Marketing. She is also the founder of a networking group named Port City Young Professionals, while being an active board member on the UNCW Alumni Association. If all that wasn’t enough, she is also a trainer and coach for Quality Enhancement for Nonprofit Organizations (QENO), and plays an active role as a member of Cape Fear Commercial Real Estate Women, plus she recently reached her hand into another pot: skincare.

Curry’s accomplishments speak volumes; she surely knows a little something special about professional life in this little beach town we wish to continue to call home. 

As graduation sneaks up, the first step after the ceremony is one that is both a mystery and an obligation. As COM students we have been taught many things: We have been told to build our portfolios since day one, told to intern as much as possible, and the very act of networking can place us ahead of those who fail to do so. Above all, we have been told not to wait until after commencement to make our first professional move.

Curry agrees. When asked what her first professional move was as a COM Studies graduate, she clarifies that she did not hesitate.

Once handed her diploma, she was offered a full time position at a local public relations, events, and marketing firm, where she previously held a part time position. From that point on, she soared like the Seahawk she is. 

Her actions compliment both her advice and our professors’ lessons. When asked for words of wisdom to juniors and seniors in our field, Curry offers several tips, and yes, many that we’ve heard before.  “Intern and volunteer to gain experience on jobs or positions you are interested in,” she advises of the invaluable experience, from which she continues to benefit.

Curry emphasizes the importance of today versus the possibility of tomorrow through her next piece of advice: start networking immediately.  

Next, she offers a somewhat unfamiliar tip.  She encourages students to start expressing personal passions through blogging, whether it is professional or not. 

Curry continues to share her wisdom as she advises COM Students to take charge of their own education.

”Remember, once you graduate, you are not done learning, studying, or teaching,” Curry states. “Don’t wait to be told, take responsibility and initiative for your own self-education and development.”

Curry’s final piece of advice to those approaching the real world is to “read just ten pages of a personal development book a day…every day.”

While students are encouraged to network, intern, express passions through blogging and to self-educate, Curry also addresses the unknown: where to go. Many students have the idea that the bigger the city, the greater the opportunity.  Curry has experienced otherwise. “Wilmington, right now, has more great opportunities than I’ve ever seen before,” she says.  “And sometimes, you just have to create your own opportunity.”

Creating opportunity is sometimes necessary for those struggling to make a name, and it often starts with the intention of getting what you want. “There was no young professional group when I needed one, so I started one,” Curry explains.  “You have to be intentional about getting what you want and willing to start somewhere not so glamorous to gain the experience to get you where you really want to be.”

Next, staying connected with the UNCW CIE office and subscribing to local businesses can present opportunity. 

Wilmington is full of opportunity; it is up to you to find it or make it. Opportunity is created through the combination of interning, networking, applied practice through blogging, self-educating and staying connected locally.

Find Jenna Curry on our COM Alumni Spotlight and while you're there go ahead and nominate yourself!