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California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

SOM Ambassador program cultivates the community

Jaylin Licup
Sophomore Ethan Klein is an ambassador in the food group where he participates in the production of the videos highlighting them, and in the data analysis group where he looks at the metrics of recent trends or analyzes past content posted by the ambassadors to check their insights for key information to use for future content creation.

The School of Management ambassadors are a group of undergraduate students, alumni, and faculty from California Lutheran University seeking to enhance community connections and student lifestyles through content creation and exclusive events.

Communications Coordinator for the SOM Rosie Baker created and currently manages the SOM ambassador program. Baker said the idea was initially cultivated from the ideas brought forth by Assistant Professor for the SOM Tracy Nicklโ€™s PhD thesis on “The Role and Impact of Employees’ Professional Profiles, Content, and Networks on Social Media in Building Personal and Corporate Brands.”

โ€œI shared with her this concept that I had about teaching a group of people that wanted to represent the School of Management, how to build intentional personal brands in social media and that I thought we could amplify their brands and the School of Management brand significantly,โ€ Nickl said. โ€œMy research showed it was like 435% greater amplification with people’s personal brands.โ€

Baker said the SOM social media content before the SOM ambassadors were made with a corporate branded Cal Lutheranโ€™s voice and the ambassador program’s goal was to show the SOM through the authentic voice of the students from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.

โ€œWe have some athletes, we have some accounting majors, and some business majors. We have graduate students, who are way older than me and have the most amazing experience. And then we have freshmen who are brand new to campus and to college life and it’s just a really fun group and voice to be able to share and to be able to highlight some of our hidden, I like to think of them as hidden gems,โ€ Baker said. โ€œThere’s really no other way to learn about them or hear about them and [the ambassador program] helps the students.โ€

While being an ambassador, Baker said the students can experience a tailored internship experience in learning and building in areas of social media, strategy skills, general working with businesses, working outside of Cal Lutheran, and similar fields that interest them.

First-year Taylor Evans is one ambassador who said being in this program has helped her to integrate more into the SOM and that being an ambassador has been helpful in her process of applying to internships for the summer.

โ€œAs someone who also worked in social media, It’s really great to say โ€˜Yes, I’m actually doing it already. Like I have videos to show you if you want to see examples of my work or what I’m working on.โ€™ It’s definitely really helpful. Itโ€™s a good basis especially if that’s something that you want to get into,โ€ Evans said.ย 

Baker said the ambassadors post a series of different media content on platforms like Instagram and TikTok and that the ambassadors have had two videos that went viral on Instagram. The first video that went viral was posted on November 27, 2023, which received 234K views and 11K likes and the second was posted on February 16, 2024, which received 100K views and 7K likes.

The first video was based on a trend called โ€œWeโ€™re Sistersโ€ and the main creator of this video was senior Jaida Burgon with the assistance of her sister who was in the video with her.

Burgon is one of the two project leaders for the SOM ambassador program and she delegates over two subgroups within the program which are the people segment that covers students at Cal Lutheran and the general category which focuses more on the current trends.

โ€œI am doing a lot of the actual creating but I’m also doing a lot of delegating. So I think that has also been really important towards the end of my college career because it leads me going into my professional careerโ€ฆIn the future, even though I’ll be entering into an entry-level position where I won’t probably be delegating, Iโ€™ll have those skills and stuff to know that I can coordinate things and direct people to do things and end up successful,โ€ Burgon said.

Burgon said the other two subgroups within the program are the SOM group which covers events hosted by or for the School of Management and the food group which reaches out to local businesses in the community and highlights their establishments to generate awareness of the location and create an exchange between students and local business owners.

Junior Ethan Klein is an ambassador in the food group where he participates in the production of the videos highlighting them, and in the data analysis group where he looks at the metrics of recent trends or analyzes past content posted by the ambassadors to check their insights for key information to use for future content creation.

โ€œWe shoot the video in three parts. We interview the owner, the owner gets to highlight or show some of the food they want to highlight, and then we go behind the kitchen and get to see the behind-the-scenes of what goes on in the kitchen,โ€ Klein said.

Antonio Sessa is the owner of Made in Italy whom Klein and senior SOM Ambassador Nathan Flynn had collaborated with on April 10, 2024. Together they highlighted his restaurant with the SOM ambassadorsโ€™ partner LettuceSocial, a marketing brand that connects content creators with local small businesses to authentically promote their businesses to their local communities.

Sessa a Cal Lutheran international student alum said he loves the interaction with the community and they are a factor that helps his small business succeed.

โ€œIt’s also rewarding. Interviewing these owners and talking to them on how they started their small local restaurant. You never know and sometimes they’re relatable, sometimes they want college students in their restaurant or to come and try their food. So it’s being relatable, being you. That’s I think the way I see SOM [ambassadors],โ€ Klein said.

Besides content creation and working on social media, Evans said the ambassadors assist in running business workshops and similar events like Pathways to Professionalism which bring together business professionals or alumni from Cal Lutheran to speak about the steps they took to reach their careers and their experiences being in their specific field of focus.

โ€œAs a freshman, it has helped me so much to be involved because I feel so much more a part of the overall Cal Lutheran community. I feel like it helps me to take advantage of all the opportunities that are available and all the resources as well,โ€ Evans said.

Burgon said another opportunity that the SOM ambassador program participated in was the Future Business Leaders of America event held at Westlake High School which had students from all over the state participate in workshops and information sessions.ย 

She said the ambassadors were invited to talk to students to discuss the types of things they do as college students, advice for when going to college, and to answer any questions the high school students may have. Burgon also said that they were able to incorporate social media into their panel discussion by allowing the students to group up and make their own viral trend videos to post on the SOM ambassadorsโ€™ Instagram page to compete on who could get the most likes or views for a prize.

โ€œThat was one of my favorite events because it was super cool to talk to high schoolers and give them some guidance, even though them being in Future Business Leaders of America was amazing to me because I never had a program like that growing up. It was very interesting for them to actually look up to me when itโ€™s like you think that youโ€™re really not all that,โ€ Burgon said. โ€œSo to have people asking me questions and wanting my contact information and stuff like that was cool and it was just nice that I could help them.โ€

Baker said the experience of figuring out and going through the different ups and downs when starting the SOM ambassadors has been a fun but great challenge to figure out, and compared it to a mini startup.ย 

โ€œAnyone from the School of Management or a major that has a really big interest in what we do is welcome to join. It doesn’t just have to be a business major and I want to remove that myth that I’ve heard. Anyone is welcome to join. You just have to do the application and the interview process,โ€ Baker said.

Baker said that it has been a whole group of people who have supported, helped create and currently engage in the program that gives life to the SOM ambassadors.

For any interest in applying or learning more about the SOM brand ambassadors, check outยย 

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