Today, we bring you Chandler Coley. Chandler is a double major in Strategic Communication and Communication Studies with an IOC concentration. Her hometown is Raleigh, NC. A fun fact about Chandler: She was a dancer for 15 years–ballet, jazz, and hip-hop! Chandler was interviewed by Tamara Taylor, Assistant Director, UNC UCS.
Taylor: When you reflect on the totality of your career experiences (to include internships) what have you learned about yourself?
Coley: When reflecting on my various career experiences, I’ve learned that sitting behind a desk is not for me. I’m more content with positions that allow me to interact with others and partake in hands-on projects. This is mainly the reason because this is the type of work I love doing! I’ve had a job where I was either glued to a desktop or copier machine, and I thought to myself, “how do people do this day in and day out?” Alternatively, I’ve also had jobs that were more engaging, and those were the ones I excelled in.
Taylor: Please share the professional development experience that has shaped your professional ambitions.
Coley: This past summer, I attended the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) conference in New Orleans. It was such a valuable experience being able to network with so many professionals in my desired career field. At this conference I was able to attend various panel discussions and workshops that covered topics relevant to the industry. There was also a weekend-long career fair that allowed me to put myself on the radar of major companies like FOX, ESPN and the NFL. Connecting with other professionals in the industry gave me insight on all the possibilities and paths my career could go. It was great to be able put myself out there and gain guidance from those who were once in my shoes.
Taylor: As it relates to your values, how do they align with the career you have chosen?
Coley: A sense of community and diversity are two important values that align with my desired career in the sports industry. Similar to dance and music, sports brings people of all ages and backgrounds together creating a community, or better yet, a team. It’s important to me that in my career, I’m able to feel like a part of a community and that within that community I’m able to work with diverse groups of people.
Taylor: At what point did you recognize the career that best suits you? What makes it a great fit?
Coley: I came into Carolina as a biology major on a pre-med track. When I realized you could major in anything on the pre-med track, I decided to major in communication studies instead. I thoroughly enjoyed my communication classes, especially the ones that focused on the media; however, chemistry wasn’t my forte. Not only was it difficult for me to grasp concepts, but I also didn’t enjoy it. It wasn’t until my junior year that my parents finally got over the idea of me becoming a doctor, that I dropped the chemistry minor and continued pursuing my interest in media and communication. I discovered the strategic communication major within the School of Media and Journalism and took the necessary measures to be admitted into the school.
Meanwhile, my friend had referred me to apply for a student office and recruitment assistant position with Carolina’s football team. She knew I was a huge football fan and thought the job would be a great fit. She was right! I absolutely loved showing the recruits around campus and the football facilities, making sure they could picture themselves as a student athlete at Carolina. It was the best of both worlds. I got to mix one of my favorite sports with some of communication skills I’d been gaining in the classroom. Furthermore, I discovered the School of Media and Journalism offered a set of classes that fulfilled a sports communication certificate to its students. It was in this moment that the pieces of the puzzle of me trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life were coming together. Now I’m currently applying for full-time positions in the sports marketing, communication and operations industries.
Taylor: What experience(s) have shaped your career readiness? Career readiness defined as professionalism and work ethic, creativity and problem solving, communication, teamwork and collaboration, leadership, global perspective, technical application, and career management.
Coley: If there is one experience that has prepared me in all aspects for my career, it is Crash Campaign. Crash Campaign is a marketing competition in which students were put into groups, assigned a client, and tasked with creating a marketing campaign for its client within 24 hours. The groups would then have to present to a panel of judges as well as the client. My group was assigned Miracle Feet as our client, a local nonprofit that seeks to provide treatment for children in developing countries who suffer with clubfoot. Within 24 hours we had to create a marketing plan that aligned with the business goals of our client. Participating in this taught me a lot about working with other people in a short span of time on a large project that required innovative, creative ideas.
Taylor: What are your plans upon graduating from UNC?
Coley: Upon graduating in May, I plan to have either a full-time position or enriching internship opportunity to kick off my career. This role will preferably be within the sports industry, working in operations, communications or marketing.
Taylor: If a Hollywood producer wanted to make a movie of your life what actress would you want to portray you and why?
Coley: I would want Gabrielle Union Wade to portray me, because while I don’t know her personally, she appears to have a great personality. She’s absolutely gorgeous and is an amazing actress. She’s definitely one of my celebrity role models, and her relationship with Dwayne Wade is definitely #relationshipgoals.