This One’s For the Girls

I would like to start by saying that this blog is best paired with my Spotify “Anthem” playlist which is full of girl power anthems.

Music has always been a big part of my life . Like many individuals music is something that I love, it gives me strength, and elicits inspiration (but that is a story for a different blog).

Have you ever noticed how many great songs there are out there, designed to empower women? I love it! The other day “Sit Still, Look Pretty” came on the radio. I had heard this song many times before… but this time I found myself, blaring the music, taping the steering wheel, and singing along powerfully. In those moments, the lyrics of the song really resonated with me. After listening to it on repeat for the full duration of my 30 minute drive, I decided it was time to find more inspirational girl anthems, and thus became the inspiration for this blog (and Spotify playlist I hope you’re enjoying).

Growing up I was never one of the girly-girls. I think my mom must have told me “that’s not very lady like” 10 times a day. As a kid I spent the majority of my free time hanging out with my two male cousins on my grandparent’s acreage. We played with toy guns and monster trucks, we made mud pies, and we rode ATVs. As I got older, when we visited my grandparents I would have rather spent my time hanging out with the boys in grandpa’s shop, learning how to fix cars, than bake with grandma. I’ve never been the stereotypical girl. I like getting dirty, and I run with the boys.

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I am thankful to live in an era where women have more freedom and respect than ever before. But if you ask me, we still have a long way to go. The glass ceiling is very real, and women are placed with unfair expectations and profiles.

In the song “Sit Still, Look Pretty” there are some powerful lyrics that perfectly relate to what I am talking about.

“Could dress up

To get love

But guess what?

I’m never gonna be that girl

Who’s living in a Barbie world.”

In these lyrics the artist, Daya, makes it clear that she is not going to glamorize herself to please her male counter parts. I love this! I have always been a “what you see, is what you get” kind of girl. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy dressing nice, and putting time into my appearance. But I only enjoy doing those things on my terms, because the truth is, I feel most like myself in an old ratty pair of blue jeans, a t-shit and a baseball cap. Believe me, if I could wear that outfit to work every day, I probably would.

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“You get off on your nine to five

Dream of picket fences and trophy wives

But no, I’m never gonna be ’cause I don’t wanna be

No, I don’t wanna sit still look pretty”

Here we see the artist talk about how she won’t settle for being the classic 1950’s trophy wife who is married to a man that is the sole bread winner, because she believes that she is more than just a pretty face. This theme is constant throughout the song, as Daya sends a message against gender roles.  It makes me so excited to hear a song like this, which is sending a positive message to women, on the top 40 radio.

I don’t mean to say that there is anything wrong with being a stay at home wife, and mom. However, I think it is important to teach girls, from a young age, that they can rule the world! They can be anything they want, and they don’t have to settle for anything less than their dreams, because they are female.

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If you are looking for another great, female anthem I would suggest checking out “She’s Not Just a Pretty Face” by Shania Twain. In this song, Shania talks about how women are mother of the human race, and that they can take on any career that they set their mind to.

Personally, my favorite lines in the song are:

“She’s on the council, she’s on the board

She’s a politician, she praises the Lord

She’s not, just a pretty face

She’s got, everything it takes

She’s mother, of the human race

No, she’s not, just a pretty face”

The thing I love about this song is that it supports and encourages professional working women, but it also recognizes motherhood as a profound ability and achievement. WE ARE IN FACT mother to the human race! Shania recognizes that  women are capable of having any career they want, but that they can also bring life into the world, and that both are equally respectable.

I hope that you went and listened to these songs and found words of encouragement and empowerment, like I did. YOU GO GIRLS!

As always, thanks for reading.

– Faith

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A Balancing Act

I recently started watching a new show called Girlboss. As a young female professional (in a world where there is in fact still a glass ceiling) I figured that it might provide some humorous inspiration, which it does. In the first episode of the show the main character states “adulthood is where dreams go to die. Grow up, get a job, become a drone, that’s it… I need to find a way of growing up without becoming a boring adult.” PREACH IT GIRL! I do too!!

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Now I’m not trying to whine about my life, because I know that I am truly blessed. However, that’s not to say I don’t work my butt off. I am here to be honest. Adulting is hard. And growing up really does change your life.

At the beginning of my junior year of college my mom passed away. My mom had always been the only parental figure in my life. So once she passed I was left parentless. This really forced me to grow up quick. All life burdens fell on me, all financial responsibility was now on me. To be fair, by the time most kids are juniors in college they have established a decent amount of independence from their parents. However, it is safe to say that a large majority of them still rely on parental support for at least some of their bills.

Anyone who knows me well and has spent much time around me these past few weeks (or even months) can attest to the fact that I am struggling with finding balance in my life. Between finishing my degree, taking on a career that I will continue post-grad, and being completely independent from parental support, one could say I have a lot on my plate. Its like the song Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots.

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Like most working professionals spend the 9:00 – 5:00 hours of the day at work (that is when I am not in the classroom). Most weeks I have at least one evening meeting for work, same goes for school. By the time I run errands in town and make it home it’s usually after 7:30 and I still need to do homework, study for exams, eat a healthy dinner, maintain a clean house, AND spend quality time with my boyfriend. On the average day I am lucky to be in bed by 11:00. Just as the main character of Girlboss describes, some days I feel like I am just cog in the machine, a boring adult.

I keep telling myself that once I finish school I will have more free time. And I genuinely hope that is true. But I think the biggest struggle for me is finding the balance between both my professional life (work and school) and my personal life, because right now I feel like a boring adult. Hanging out with friends has gone from enjoyable, to another thing I have to fit into my schedule. I can’t remember the last time I indulged in a Netflix binge, or even made it through a whole episode for that matter. My boyfriend and I have been wanting to take to horses up in the canyon near our house for MONTHS, finally I put it on the calendar and said “this isn’t getting moved” because if I didn’t we may NEVER go.

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Again, I am not trying to complain about my life. I am just making a point that, even as a young professional, a college kid even, adulating truly is HARD! The key is learning how to find a balance, and that is a skill I am still working on.

This blog goes out to all the college kids who work their a** off juggling work, school, friends, family, and general life things. It’s hard! Remember to take a step back, prioritize, give yourself a break, separate your work and your personal life, learn to say no when you need to, and remember to make time for fun. Don’t become a boring adult, and don’t let your dreams die.

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Help the Next One in Line

In recent weeks I was asked to prepare an exit essay for my portfolio class. As I was writing the essay I did a lot of reflecting over my last two years here at Central in the Communication Department. Based on that reflection I would like to pass on my two cents to anyone who might care to know.

Help the Next One in Line,Always Stay Humble & Kind

Over all I feel like I gained a decent amount of knowledge during my education at Central. I have really honed in my professional writing skills, thanks to the Public Relations major can confidently draft press releases, feature articles, sports reports, blogs, company fact sheets, and more.

But what were the classes that REALLY helped me feel confident as I move into the professional world?

As far as the in class courses that I found most useful, there are three that stick out. COM 208 Introduction to Public Relations Writing taught by Emily DuPlessis; COM 470 Public Relations Strategies taught by Cesar Garcia; and  COM 306 Introduction to Transmedia taught by Francesco Somaini. I found that all three of these classes added a great amount of value to my education, and taught me things that I currently use in my job with the EDA as a Public Relations Coordinator. The work I produced in these three classes are some of the work that I am most proud of.

COM 208 taught me the basics of writing for public relations. It made me comfortable with drafting press releases and familiarized me with AP style. This class was hugely important for me as it helped me land my internship with the EDA.

COM 470 taught me how to create a strategic communication plan for an organization, and how to pitch the communication plan. This class really pushed me to think critically and apply things that I have learned throughout my time in the major. I absolutely loved COM 470, I would take it again if I could because I found the content to be so valuable.

Finally, in COM 306 I learned how to create a human interest or feature piece for an organization. In this class I learned how to shoot video, record sound, and edit both.

All that being said, I have to be honest. If I were to make any suggestions to my fellow students, it would be that they complete their internship before their senior year, and look for an internship with a small organization. I have learned SO MUCH MORE from my internship than I have learned in all my classes combined. Since I interned at a small organization I was able to get loads of hands on experience and I was even offered a job afterwards. YAY!

“Look for an internship with a small organization…I was able to get loads of hands on experience and I was even offered a job!”

Anyways, these are my take away after four long years of hard work, and I hope that these words might reach a new PR student somewhere and help them along their way.

 

That’s all for now.

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Best, Faith.

Hometown & Downtown Love

There are so many things that I love about Ellensburg: the rich culture, the strong community, and the deep rooted history, are all things that make me feel blessed to call this town my home.

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I love the unique and diverse culture of this town. Not only are we known for our agriculture but also for our arts. We are a county that is world renowned for its Timothy Hay production, and a place that draws people from around the country to study music at Central Washington University.

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I value the strong sense of community you can find here in the Kittitas County that sense of community is probably what brought me back after spending just two short (but what felt like VERY LONG) years away. Ellensburg is a town where you know your neighbors, your pharmacist, and your butcher on a personal level. It is a place where you can’t spend an afternoon doing errands without running into 10 people you know. I would be lying if I said that there aren’t  days when I enter the grocery store at a speed walk and  keep my head down to try to avoid the chitchat… BUT I have to admit…there is a sense of charm that comes along with the camaraderie, and I love it!

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As you can probably tell, the town of Ellensburg and the community that lives here is something I am greatly passionate about, so it is fitting that I work for an organization dedicated to promoting and preserving its greatness. If you follow my blog then you have probably heard me talk about my degree in Public Relations and the fact that I work for the Ellensburg Downtown Association (EDA).

The EDA is a non-profit which promotes, preserves, and revitalizes Ellensburg’s Historic Downtown District. We do a wide variety of work, we plan and hold events, teach business development classes, provide guidance to new and existing business owners and much more. I like to think of us as the downtown cheer team (a really hard working and smart, driven, business minded cheer team).

I love my job with the EDA and I feel blessed to be giving back to a community I love through events like Moments to Remember, Buskers in the Burg, Girls Night Out, and many other projects I have been a part of during my time at the EDA.

If you have made your way to downtown Ellensburg these past few weeks you may have noticed that spring is in full bloom. The farmers market has begun, our streets are filled with fresh plant growth, and storefronts are filled with bright colors as merchants begin to bring in new spring merchandise.

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Now that spring has officially arrived, the Ellensburg Downtown Association, Ellensburg Floral, and dedicated volunteers will be working on planting flowers in the downtown planters. Planters are a wonderful way to liven up our downtown and keep it looking beautiful during the spring and summer months.

All of the pedestrian amenities such as the trash receptacles, benches, and planters, that help make our downtown really stand out, are brought to you by the Ellensburg Downtown Association in partnership with the City of Ellensburg, JDub’s and sponsors. Which brings me to my next point… all of the downtown pedestrian amenities are available for sponsorship. If you or someone you know may be interested in sponsoring a downtown planter, bike rack, or bench please don’t hesitate to contact me!

As always thanks for reading.

Best, Faith

A Love for Old Things – How My Career Path Came Full Circle

A Young Girl with an Old Soul

In 4th grade my elementary class took a field trip to the Kittitas County History Museum and the Old Shoudy Mansion… thus began my obsession with Kittitas County history and architecture from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. After the field trip that day I came home and told my mom I wanted to be an architect, so that I could build new homes to look like they used to. I didn’t (and still don’t) understand why architects and contractors traded in the old fashioned detailed woodwork and high quality craftsmanship for the aesthetically lacking things that gets built today.

But let me back up…

For as long as I can remember I have had a love for old things. As a little girl I liked watching black and white shows such as I Love Lucy, Leave It to Beaver, and the Beverly Hillbillies. I jumped on an opportunity to thumb through old family photos with Grandma every chance I could, and visiting the antique market in Thorp was one of my favorite weekend outings.

Growing up my mom and aunt were both avid antique dealers, always out on the hunt for things other people might consider “out dated junk”.

So… I suppose you could say that I came by my love for old treasures naturally.

Things Work Out

My passion for antiques, historic architecture, and “cool old stuff” is still a very large part of who I am today as I enter my years as a young professional.

After spending an afternoon digging antiques out of the old barn and cellar on the farm, my boyfriend’s dad Craig said it best, “Faith I think you were born a century too late.” I think he is right!

As it turns out I didn’t end up pursing a degree in construction management or architecture (the math wasn’t gonna happen for me). Instead I went down the path of Public Relations and Non-Profit Management.

However,  I am pleased to say that it all worked out… because today I work for an organization, where I can put my degree to good use, and ALSO get to work preserving and revitalizing the historic district right here in my home town.

A Young Preservationist – Happy in Her Career Choice

Anyone who knows me, knows that I live preservation in my everyday life. My home is full of vintage and antique furniture, quilts, and home decor. I am currently in the process of upcycling an old 5 panel door into a headboard for our master bedroom. The things many others would consider junk, I consider treasures.

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As a part of my job working for the Ellensburg Downtown Association (which is powered by the Washington Main Street Program and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation) I was given the opportunity to plan and attend the 2017 RevitalizeWA conference. RevitalizeWA is an annual three day summit put on by the Washington Main Street Program, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Department of Archeology & Historic Preservation.

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Attending this conference was a HUGE opportunity for me. It was so inspiring to spend three days surrounded by people who have the same interests and passions as myself. Being around like minded people who are fired up about preserving and rehabilitating pieces of our past helped relight a fire in me, and made me realize that I am right where I belong, in my career with the EDA.

Take Away

It amazes me how things come full circle. Life has lead me down a bumpy path, I have changed career goals and majors a countless number of times. I might not be an architect, and I might not be in the social work realm (like I was planning just three short years ago).

Instead of recreating history I am preserving it. Instead of helping the lives of the marginalized, I am helping the lives of small business owners, by encouraging community pride, and a thriving downtown historic district.

My Success Looks Different than Yours

A big part of being a senior in college is career preparation. In our final quarters we are required to take a portfolio class, a capstone class, and in some cases we have to prepare a senior project. All of these things are required by the University in efforts to prepare us for “the real world”.

Earlier this week, in my COM 475 class, our professor invited a guest speaker, a CWU alumni who has 8 successful years of work with Microsoft under his belt. He was brought into our class as a way for us to not only network, but also learn from a “successful” professional in our field.

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Students asked our guest what he did in college to get where he is today. As you could probably guess, he said all the usual things. He got involved in multiple clubs, got good grades, worked part time in a related field, and networked. No surprises there.

Lucky for our guest, he networked with the right people, and was able to use his connections (and his hard work) to land a job with Microsoft before he had even graduated. From there he was continually promoted, climbing his way up the chain of commands.

There were two specific questions that he discussed that day which really stuck me. One being “How many hours do you put in?” and the other being, “How do you maintain a work – life balance?” His answers to these questions shocked me, and really made me realize that my idea of success will always look different from others in my field.

What Work – Life Balance?

Our guest speaker explained to us that he puts in anywhere from 80 – 100 hours a week. EIGHTY to ONE HUNDRED hours PER WEEK!!! He explained to us that he gets up every day before the sun has risen and is almost always one of the first to arrive to the office, showing up around 6:00 or 6:30. He makes work related phone calls while he is commuting, works from home in the evenings, and answers his emails while putting his baby down to bed.

When discussing how he maintains a work – life balance, I think the most fitting answer he could have given would be “what is a work – life balance?” However, this wasn’t his answer at all. While I don’t remember his exact answer, I remember him telling us that he just recently got back from vacation, where he spent time sitting on the balcony… WORKING!!

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All of these things that he does seem extreme to me, but these sacrifices and long hours he has put in are what have allowed him to climb the ladder in a big time company like Microsoft. These are what have made him “successful“.

Not My Kind of Success

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are hundreds of thousands of people who would kill for a job with Microsoft. I also realize that promotions within a company like Microsoft is a huge accomplishment which takes an enormous amount of dedication.

With that being said, I am sorry, the life of our guest speaker sounds like absolute living hell to me. Do I love my job? Yes! I absolutely love my job, and I feel lucky every day to be working at the very organization I have had my eyes set on since sophomore year. Not only am I working in my field, but I am also working towards a cause that is important to me.

However, If I were asked to put in 80-100 hour weeks on a regular basis, no matter how much I love my job, and no matter how much money I was offered I wouldn’t do it. Here is why…

Life is short, life is unexpected, and it can all be taken away in the blink of an eye. My purpose on this earth is not to work my body into exhaustion. Do I want to provide for my family and make a comfortable living? Of course I do! However, I also want to have free time to spend with my friends and family, enjoying life.

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For me, success is not an 80-100 hour work week, where my career cuts into my family time. For me, success is not working myself to exhaustion in order to climb the ladder and get a pay raise. Do I work hard? You bet your entitled ass I work hard! However, when I leave the office at 5 or 6, I leave my work there!

For me, success is not living in the city, spending hours of my day sitting in traffic, and working my fingers to the bone for some big fortune 500 company like Microsoft or Google.

For me, success is working in a small town, for a grassroots nonprofit, where I can give back to my community. Where I can go home at the end of the day and focus on my family. Where my commute is 15 minutes, not 1 hour and 15 minutes. For me, success is right where I am, right now, living a slow pace, small town, nonprofit life. And for that I feel blessed every single day.

Here is a little quote to sum up the point I am trying to make… don’t be so concerned about being “successful” that you compromise your happiness.

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