Goals and Qualifications

  • I’m especially interested in learning about the use and effects of social media in the corporate world, and am looking forward to a career in media relations or public relations in which I can engage myself and my company in the blogosphere! I’m currently a senior at James Madison University obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communication from the School of Media Arts and Design, and a Communications Minor from the School of Communication Studies. I knew even before being accepted to JMU that I wanted to be a SMAD major, which is why I’ve really taken advantage of my classes and all available resources. I was able to make Deans List last semester with a GPA of 3.6. I’m proud of this because it’s a great feeling to be successful in class, but it’s an especially great feeling to do well while learning about something I love.
  • With the end of my senior year quickly approaching I’m forced to think about my life in the “real world.”  After the subtle nervousness fades away, all that remains is pure excitement. I realize, although it is scary, that I am ready.  I’m ready to come up with creative, modern ideas to further my company’s success.  I’m ready to not just listen to customers’ suggestions and complaints, but do something about them. In this new social media age it’s imperative that a company be transparent when dealing with their internal (employees), and external (customers, stakeholders, media) audiences. I’m ready to create and maintain that transparency, contribute to the company’s bottom line and help them do what they already do better.
  • My education and work experience as a graphic design assistant have allowed me to hone my Adobe skills in InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and Dreamweaver (both Mac and Windows), while still allowing me to access my creative side beyond the computer screen. Through classes I have been introduced to blogs, podcasts, Twitter, e-portfolios and the like, and know that I will continue to be an active member in the online community for years to come. I mention this because I’ve read that employees who engage in social media in their personal lives are much more comfortable and successful when using social media in their professional lives, for example managing a corporate blog. This is why I would be a great social media manager for any corporation looking to enhance their reputation using popular communication tools – I don’t just use Twitter, blogs and LinkedIn, I utilize those tools to connect with professionals and manage my own personal brand.
  • I was fortunate enough to travel abroad this summer to the small city of Reggio Calabria, the most southern tip of Italy, to study the Italian language. My reasonable Italian proficiency helped guide me throughout my travels because the areas that I visited were less than “touristy.” In fact, it was amazing to find a single person who spoke a word of English beyond my classmates from James Madison University. The professors spoke little to no English and some classmates, whom I worked with on a regular basis, were from Romania, Spain and Israel, leaving Italian and interpretation as our only means of communicating. This experience changed the way I view communication because in a world where most of my words were meaningless I saw how important communication really is and what it means to really understand someone. The intense concentration and observation I needed to participate in conversations in Reggio became second nature over time, and since my return I’ve found myself more perceptive and attentive to others during everyday conversation. This trait has really benefited me throughout class discussions, and I believe would benefit me as a media or public relations professional when dealing with customer complaints, comments and concerns about my company.
  • I was on the yearbook staff throughout high school and in 2007, my senior year, I was granted the position of editor-in-chief. That year, my staff and I created a yearbook titled “You Would,” which won a National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) Pacemaker Award. Only 28 yearbooks nationwide win that award every year and I am extremely excited to have produced one of them. Being in a leadership position at that age was very rewarding experience for me. Not only did I get the chance to learn and practice my InDesign and Photoshop skills, but I got to develop great friendships with those I worked with every day. I also had the privilege of participating in NSPA conventions around the country during my time on staff. These conventions consisted of workshops and lectures about various topics ranging from yearbook layout, newspaper headlines and leadership. In 2006 at the National Scholastic Journalism Convention in Dallas I competed in the write-off contest for yearbook theme and achieved an award of excellence. These experiences were invaluable and really forced me to develop my leadership skills early in life.
  • Please contact me at amdesourdis at gmail dot com for more information.

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Video

The purpose of this video is to discuss the importance of corporations using social media to engage and support their customers. I discuss Dell as one example of a company that successfully fought through their reputation meltdown, and is now one of the most respected corporations when it comes to using social media for customer service and engagement.

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Examples of Work

  • For this group project we created an E-Book, which we titled Ping!, discussing the use of social media in a corporate setting, geared toward corporate communication professionals.
  • The objective of the E-Book is to assist communication practitioners to produce blogs and podcasts that are useful sources of professional information for various audiences.
  • I was in charge of the layout and design of this E-Book, which taught me a lot about communication and leadership. Each group member was responsible for a different aspect of the E-Book, so it was very important that we communicated effectively to ensure a cohesive final product.
  • Conducting research for this E-Book resulted in my deep understanding of podcasts and blogs, which involves what makes them effective, when you should use them, key functions of each, how to create them and how to effectively manage and maintain my own blog.

 

  • To develop a better common perspective on large facility protection, foster community dialogue, and explore more effective security approaches, this event brought together the facility executives and security experts to discuss large facility complex protection issues and solutions. Panels addressed threats and preparedness measures including both technical and policy solutions.
  • I participated in the design of the programs before the event, the proceedings after the event, and the visuals that were displayed during the event. Not only did I participate in designing these documents, but I also helped with the preparation and management of the event itself.
  • The 2009 symposium was my first, but not my last. I also participated in the preparation and management of the 2010 Homeland Security Symposium on Safe, Secure and Sustainable Facilities.

 

Social Media Today Cover

  • I made this mock Social Media Today magazine cover using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop because I wanted to create a visual that went with my study of social media in the corporate world.
  • My favorite thing about this cover is the logo I created at the top left of the page. Ever since my first design class I’ve been very interested in fonts and the attractive images you can create simply using letters.

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References

During my time as yearbook editor-in-chief I spent many hours working with Mr. Rummel, the former Oakton Paragon Advisor. He was a great advisor who believed very much in his students. He basically left the publication up to us and let us make our own decisions, which is not the case with many high school publications. He taught me much of what I know about Adobe software, being a leader and making a deadline.

  • “Amanda is an amazingly creative student with a strong work ethic.”

– Chad Rummel, Herff Jones, Fairfax Virginia

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Cheryl Elliot was my boss at the Institute for Infrastructure and Information Assurance at James Madison University where I worked for two years as her graphic design assistant. When I held this position I participated in both the 2009 Homeland Security Symposium on Protecting Large Facility Complexes and the 2010 Homeland Security Symposium on Safe, Secure, and Sustainable Facilities. Cheryl became a role model for me through our work together because she is a very accomplished, and intelligent, woman.

  • “Working with Amanda was a great experience. Her positive personality and upbeat attitude contributed to the atmosphere of the office, and her creative mind contributed to the quality of her work.”

– Cheryl Elliot, Institute for Infrastructure and Information Assurance, James Madison University

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I worked for a temporary staffing agency, Office Team, for a few years and one of my assignments was a few months at Qivliq Consulting. While I was there I developed a friendly relationship with my assigned advisor, Felicity Lynch. Although it was only a short time, I learned a lot from Felicity about the company and government contracting in general.

  • “Although Amanda only filled a temporary position, working with her was very enjoyable. She completed her assigned tasks diligently, always with a smile on her face. Amanda doesn’t hesitate to ask questions and was very interested in learning more about the company and what we do. It was refreshing to have a young mind in the office with fresh ideas and a positive outlook.”

– Felicity Lynch, Qivliq Corporation, Fairfax Virginia


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