Alums share their success with Cal Lutheran students

Jessica Brouse, Reporter

On Tuesday Feb. 22, California Lutheran University hosted a Careers in Communication Speaker Panel with Cal Lutheran alumni Nathan Hoyt 09’, Elaine Eprem 18’, Aliyah Navarro 18’, and Molly Strawn ‘18 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The event was held in the Lundring Events Center. 

Cynthia Smith, assistant director and career counselor in the Career Services office, was critical in assembling the speakers for the event. 

The Careers of Communication Speaker Panel is an opportunity for students in communication and marketing majors to hear how alumni got started in their industries. The panel also discussed what the alumni did to get their positions, as well as giving advice to those who are interested in how to pursue a job within the communication field. 

Nathan Hoyt, who is the head of public relations at Aston Martin The Americas, started off the panel. Hoyt graduated in 2009 with a bachelors in communication.  When he first started out, social media was under marketing and not as much of public relations. 

“Working within the automotive industry with very high end and luxury cars, is a bit more siload in traditional media,” Hoyt said. 

Hoyt said he worked for a PR agency in Southern California that was pretty small compared to where he worked before which was at Jaguar Land Rover with 400 to 500 employees here in the U.S.

“I think having that small team feels almost like a family, you know? You’re working for eight to 10 hours a day sometimes. You spend more time with these people than you do with your actual family. I like having this whole thing,” Hoyt said.

Elaine Eprem, associate marketing communication manager, has worked at SAGE Publishing, an academic material publishing company, for five years now. Eprem started out interning for wedding planning as well as being a marketing intern for SAGE publishing when she was a student at Cal Lutheran. Eprem graduated in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in communication.

“I get to do pretty much whatever I want. I can ask my manager if I want to learn something new and she gives me the go to do so,” Eprem said about her job duties at SAGE Publishing. 

Eprem said her organizational skills and time management from wedding planning have been the biggest takeaways that have contributed to her new position. 

Molly Strawn is currently the manager of brand strategy and marketing strategist at InnovateMR. The company markets directly to clients and other businesses using content creation through email, social media and more. Strawn is working full-time as well as pursuing a masters degree in environmental science and policy at John Hopkins University. Strawn also graduated in 2018 after completing her bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in journalism and double minoring in entrepreneurship and environmental studies. 

Strawn, who has been in the field for five years, said that some of the most important skills learned are from outside the classroom.

“Internships and real world experiences are super super important. Communication and that skill is necessary. Every company in every industry needs your skillset,” Strawn said. 

Strawn said that it is important to know skills in order to perform at the job you’re doing, but can’t have all the skill sets and not have anybody to do the job for. She thinks about real world experience, making sure that you’re making networking connections, as well as sharpening up your skills in classes and in other internship opportunities.

“I am in a position where I am helping to grow the team. I manage a social media manager and our graphic designer and I get to help clients better understand their target customers,” Strawn said.

Strawn sees herself doing something in the field of environmental science and policy.

“Working in market research and then switch immediately over to environmental science is because every single company needs communication. They need people who know how to write and understand social media, email marketing, public relations, all of those skills,” Strawn said. 

The last speaker of the panel, Aliyah Navarro is a digital programming coordinator for the National Football League (NFL). Navarro also graduated in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in communication with an emphasis on public relations and advertising. Navarro recently graduated from the University of Southern California in 2021 with a masters in strategic public relations with a n emphasis in sports and entertainment, public relations, advertising and applied communications. Navarro talked about how she started her career in sports from doing an internship with ESPN reporter, Speed Nelson. 

“I would say that getting into sports, it’s very competitive and it might seem very daunting, especially being a woman and trying to break into a male dominated industry. But you have to remember that you’re passionate about the sport, that you’d want to be in this industry,” Navarro said.

Being a male dominant profession, Navarro acknowledges that she is lucky to hold the job she does.

“I would say that I’m very blessed to be in the position I am in,” Navarro said. 

Navarro said that she hopes to continue to inspire and be able to give advice to future women in the sports industry. She thinks that we’re in a time where it’s all about building each other up and about having women leadership position roles in this industry.

The best advice all panel speakers gave was that the best way get the internship experience is to network on LinkedIn, or just reach out to somebody.