By ABIGAIL SWANSON, COLLEGE RELATIONS
CHADRON – Four Chadron State College students and Professor Mary Donahue attended Meet the Pros, a conference presented by the American Advertising Federation Nebraska (AAF Nebraska), in Omaha Feb. 28-March 1.
They students are Allison Acosta, Sidney Brown, Sam Rozmiarek, and Abigail Swanson who attended sessions designed to inform and inspire students seeking careers in advertising, marketing, communications, and visual arts.
The conference featured 20 professionals who spoke individually or in panel discussions, as well as opportunities for students to interact with peers and professionals.
Acosta was impressed with keynote speaker Desmond LaVelle of Chicago.
“LaVelle related how to get a job and the different kinds of jobs in graphic design,” Acosta said. “The biggest insight he shared was providing an overall knowledge of potential job positions and tips on how to get them.”
Brown participated in the conference’s first Creative Bootcamp, a challenge for students to work with peers from other schools to create and present a marketing plan for an Omaha coffee shop.
“The Creative Bootcamp was a great lesson in how differing personalities can create an effective team,” Brown said. “I was primarily challenged by the 45-minute time constraint, as I felt I could do a lot more with more time.”
The conference closed by giving students a chance to meet professionals, ask questions and have their portfolios reviewed, or participate in mock interviews.
Rozmiarek said her biggest takeaway from the conference was a design tip Steve Gordon, a creative operating his own design company, RDQLUS, shared about reducing an image to just a few color pixels, and using a client’s mood board images to create a design color palette for their brand.
She also shared how the conference impacted her view of her career.
“The conference definitely encouraged me to look more into marketing and business as future job options,” Ro said.
Brown mentioned the business focus of the conference surprised her.
“There is far more business management tied into creative work than I imagined. This gave me a concept of which direction I would like to take my art,” she said.
Acosta highlighted the encouraging atmosphere of the conference toward young professionals breaking in.
“It was nice seeing a bunch of other people at the conference going through the same thing I am. Knowing they were also looking for tips and information for the future was reassuring,” she said.