Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Degree: Corporate Communications
Year of graduation: 2003
Since graduating, Melissa Warden has seen her line of work grow to encompass a variety of disciplines, thanks in great part to the mobile technology explosion.
“The area of communications has expanded so much recently, opening up a wide range of possibilities in social media marketing and fundraising, for example” says Melissa. “More than ever, organizations are recognizing the importance of communications and events as a way to connect with the public and other stakeholders, in a world where technology and how we interact with each other is so much more evolved than it was when I graduated.”
In less than a decade, Melissa has lent her skills to an impressive list of non-profit arts and educational institutions. Currently the Events Co-ordinator for the University of Manitoba’s Students’ Union (since 2011), she has worked at Red River College and The University of Winnipeg and in PR at The Winnipeg Art Gallery, The Canadian Opera Company and The Art Gallery of Ontario, among others.
“The reason I have had the opportunity to work in so many organizations is because I have moved from contract to contract,” says Melissa, who lives in Winnipeg.
Despite the nomadic nature of contract communications work, Melissa enjoys the field, which she has found fits well with her personality.
“I like the idea of creating something in a public way, but being the ‘wizard behind the curtain’ so to speak, since I’ve never wanted to be the centre of attention,” says Melissa, who holds a BA in English and Communications Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Towards the end of her university training, Melissa realized that she wanted to expand her education. “Sheridan balanced out my university studies with hands-on experiences in real-life situations and classroom settings that allowed me to further discover what area of communications best suited me.”
After leaving Sheridan, Melissa dabbled in event management while working in PR before joining the University of Winnipeg in 2008 as Special Events Assistant. There, she gained insight into how post-secondary institutions and general large-scale institutions operate, as well as how to manage them under the public eye.
“It’s almost a mix of not-for-profit, in the sense that you are accountable for all spending in a public environment; but it’s also corporate, because you have larger budgets and many departments involved in any one project.”
Melissa advises students and other communications grads to pursue their interests, even if they know the field they want to be in.
Melissa is happy with her choice of study, despite her family’s initial concern about where her degree would lead. Communications wasn’t as well-known a field as it is now.
“A lot of people questioned my career choice at the start, but I knew it was right for me.”