Name: Meghan Shaffer
Class Year: 2020
Title: Associate for Executive Storytelling
Organization Name: Manhattan Strategies
1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?
Manhattan Strategies is a leading independent consulting firm for the world’s leading and emerging brands and voices, and I lead out social media and communications consultation and strategy for a group of executives at a Fortune 100 tech company that specializes in the future of work and sustainability innovation.
2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?
My first job after Holy Cross was doing marketing content and strategy at an interior design firm in New York City. The job involved a lot of content creation and networking, something the Holy Cross Career Center prepared me well for. Although that job wasn’t the best fit for me, it gave me valuable experience that was an important part of my path to my current job. The agency side that I work on now is very collaborative, which reminds me a lot of my experience at Holy Cross. I work with a small, incredibly talented team who are constantly challenging and supporting me, championing the unique skills I bring to the table and inspiring me to improve wherever I can. It reminds me a lot of the small class experience at Holy Cross, where we were always encouraged to consider the different perspectives of everyone in the room and come together to find solutions.
3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?
I was a stage manager for the theatre department and ACT, and worked backstage or in the booth for a lot of the shows during my time on campus. I was also a Features editor for The Spire, worked as a study abroad ambassador after studying abroad in Galway, Ireland my junior year, and performed in the Vagina Monologues my senior year.
4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?
I was a double major in English and history. Most of my day is spent writing in various formats, everything from social media posts to longer thought leadership articles to strategy decks, so I feel like I truly use my English major everyday. I always wanted to pursue a career where I would be able to write and be creative, and I’m grateful to have found a job in an industry that I was less familiar with (tech) where I felt I could bring a lot of value as a strong writer. I picked up a history major in college because I was passionate about it, but I learned incredibly strong research skills that I use often as I learn about new innovations in my industry and look for creative storytelling opportunities.
5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?
First and foremost, I received a stellar education in English and language that I use everyday as a writer. But besides that, I always saw Holy Cross as a place that gives you back as much as you take, which challenged me to take initiative and seek out the things I was interested in and wanted. I try to keep that mindset at work and be proactive in my problem solving and take initiative to grow as a professional. Every professor at Holy Cross encouraged thoughtful questioning, which is a great tool for anyone just starting out in their career. I don’t stress over not knowing the answer 100% of the time, because I know that I have the tools to find the answer.
6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?
Get involved with what you’re passionate about, and if you can’t find it on campus, find it somewhere else. Holy Cross has so many great opportunities and connections, both on campus and off. Take advantage of them while you can!