Tag : communication

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Fusion Creative CEO David Gafford

By: Dezaray Barr

David Gafford

David Gafford graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2000 with a degree in church music and a degree in vocal performance. During his high school experience, Gafford said that he rarely looked into other colleges outside of IWU. “My mother worked at IWU, and even though we could have looked into the exchange program, we just knew IWU was going to be the college for me,” Gafford said.

Like other alum, Gafford said that his time at IWU was busy. He explained, “I traveled for the university in Masters Praise and the Chorale, so I was pretty much gone every weekend of my college career. I also lived on campus and attended classes for three majors. Apparently I was a bit ambitious.”

He also said, “In retrospect, my time at IWU was more about character development than anything. It wasn’t what I learned, but how I learned that has had the largest impact. I learned to be a lifetime learner during my time at IWU. It wasn’t just learning inside the classroom, it was taking all of the experiences of life and crafting all of life into a learning experience. That’s one of the biggest takeaways that I have from my time at IWU, in that I learned how to become intentionally curious. Instead of power chords and interactive response based worship architecture, today you’ll find me helping business owners with latent semantic indexing on Google or content marketing strategies to grow their business. What I learned at IWU was how to learn and apply that learning to life.”

During his time at IWU, most of Gafford’s spiritual transformation happened through chapels and the churches he was able to visit with the music groups he was in. “I was privileged to be able to hear some of the best speakers during this time,” Gafford said. “Chapels were wonderful as well, with a plethora of talent constantly joining us to invest into our spiritual lives.”

After graduating from IWU, Gafford spent 15 years in the local church, serving as a worship architect in the large churches across the country, spending a majority of his time working in communications and coaching team members.

David and Melissa Gafford at Fusion Creative

Today, Gafford owns a digital marketing agency, Fusion Creative. He said, “We help businesses grow their leads and sales by helping them create a website that ranks on Google and converts those visitors into leads they can follow up with.”

He began Fusion in 2014 with his wife, Melissa (Liddick, class of 2000). Their goal from the beginning has been to see small businesses in the community flourish. Gafford said, “As an agency owner, we get to determine our company culture, and our spiritual lives play a big part in that. We’re an agency based on Christian values and that plays out into every job we take and how we interact with each client. We’re happy to work with almost anyone, but our values are such that we simply won’t take the job unless we know that we can deliver incredible value to the client.”

Although school is out for the summer, Gafford wants to say this to IWU students, ” Understanding yourself is paramount to your future success. I love that IWU now does Strengths Finder assessments and Myers Briggs type indicators through the career development office. I wish they would have had that option while I was at IWU. Understanding what motivates you and how you are wired can help you immensely as you make plans for the future. Lean into your areas of strength and leverage how you are energized as an individual. If you can find the intersection of your strengths, interests and personality make up, you’ll not only love what you do, but you’ll be energized by it.”

Gafford and his wife Melissa said that they are both proud IWU alumni who love working with IWU students and alum, as both interns and staff members. They have two children, Addison (8) and Ethan (5).

 

Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a senior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.

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Public Relations alum: Molly Harrington

By: Noelle Beans

Molly Harrington

Molly Harrington graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2015 with a degree in Public Relations. She grew up in the Wesleyan Church, so Wesleyan universities were always on her radar. Her sister attended IWU, so she had the chance to visit and get to know the campus while her sister pursued her degree. When it came time for her to visit colleges, Harrington followed her older sister’s footsteps. She personally felt at home at IWU, because it felt like a good fit.

As a student, Harrington became involved in Student Government Association, a few different jobs and eventually became a Diversity Coordinator for Martin Hall. Through these activities, opportunities and positions, she was led to a great group of friends as well as a well-rounded community.

Within the IWU community, Harrington grew spiritually. The fact that she was now on her own, no longer under her parents, had a significant effect on her. Harrington said, “I needed to learn what and why I believe in things for myself.” It was a slow process, but through friends, classes and a new church, she did just that: wrestled with her faith and made it her own.

Additionally, Harrington grew academically as IWU’s communication classes gave her real life experience. She believes the Division of Communication & Theatre does a great job of connecting students with organizations and people in the community for projects. It gave her the opportunity to learn how to be a professional in a “safe environment.”

Harrington’s career is now as the Director of Scheduling (employed by the United House of Representatives) for Congressman Paul Mitchell of Michigan. She creates and maintains his daily schedule, travel plans and other office manager duties. Harrington said, “I am his gatekeeper.” She admits the intersection between faith and career can be tricky, but in her work she chooses to form her beliefs and views on things from her faith and defends them from that position.

Where Harrington is at now was never where she expected. Growing up, she always wanted to be an interior designer, and now she has found herself in politics. “It is okay if your first job out of college isn’t in your degree,” Harrington said. She is not working in the PR field, but she loves what she does and knows that she is getting experience. Lastly, Harrington encouragingly expressed for current students that, “You will eventually make it to the field you studied in, but you aren’t a failure if you don’t start there.”

 

 

Written by Noelle Beans, a writer for the Alumni Center. Noelle is a freshman Nursing and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College.

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Corrie Weerheim: From IWU to Orlando

By: Heather Cox

Corrie Weerheim

Corrie Weerheim

Corrie Weerheim graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2016 after majoring in Marketing, and minoring in Communication Studies.

Weerheim is originally from Lebanon, Ohio and found her way to IWU after looking for a smaller Christian school close to home.

At first, Weerheim was unsure of what she wanted to study. At a suggestion of a friend, Weerheim decided to start out with majoring in business and then went from there. She learned through experience that she liked the creative side of business, leading her to Marketing. It was after a conversation with her advisor Weerheim noticed extra time on her hands and decided to try out a minor in Communication Studies, which she ended up really enjoying.

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Corrie Weerheim as a Student Ambassador for Career Development and her team

On top of her studies, Weerheim became involved with PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) her senior year at IWU, and even became the secretary. In addition to PRSSA, Weerheim kept busy throughout college with various activities and jobs, such as being the captain of the intramural bowling team, working in the chapel office and at Chick-fil-a, being involved in her church–Twin City Bible Baptist– and becoming a Student Ambassador for Career Development.

While on campus, Weerheim appreciated the opportunities which were available for students, and being a part of Career Development was one of her top favorite things about her experience at IWU.

“My co-workers were always there for me and encouraging (me) in that time of my life,” Weerheim said.

Weerheim had a few professors come to mind that left a lasting impression on her.

“I really liked Media and Society for sure, which was a very intriguing class. That was taught by Dr. Mark Perry. That was my first class I took in my communication minor, that was a really engaging class even though it was at 7:50 in the morning,” Weerheim said. “I also really liked my Consumer Behavior class and that was taught by Dr. Millage where we got to do an ethnography over any topic.”

During the summer before her senior year of IWU, Weerheim worked at a Christian summer camp called Beulah Beach, which is where she started to really develop a heart for ministry.

“My parents were missionaries, so they had some connections with people who worked with Cru here in Orlando, and those friends kind of recruited me,” Weerheim said.

It was in March of 2016 before Weerheim graduated, when she decided she wanted to intern with Cru, formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ. Cru is a ministry organization originally geared toward bringing college age young adults to Christ, and now has a multitude of ministries within the organization which reach out to people of all ages worldwide.

Following graduation, Weerheim moved back to Ohio for the summer to raise money to help support her during her internship.

“During the summer, I was meeting with ministry partners and casting vision for what I would be doing with Cru. In August I got to move to Orlando, Florida where I get to work at the world headquarters for Cru,” Weerheim said.

Since moving to Orlando in August, Weerheim has been working as the Social Media Specialist for the President’s Staff Team of Cru.

Her new position entails being in the office four days a week performing social media tasks for the president of Cru, Steve Douglass. On Wednesdays she also goes to a high school to help hold a weekly meeting, and on Tuesdays she helps lead a Bible study for high school girls.

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Corrie Weerheim speaking at the Digital School of Leadership conference.

Weerheim was even able to travel to South Africa for Cru in October for the Digital School of Leadership conference. This conference focused on using digital strategies for ministry, and Weerheim was also able to speak at one of the sessions held.

Weerheim also does social media for a Cru project with the goal to develop 10 million multiplying disciples by the end of the year 2020. Essentially, this is to help others become believers who will then go out, sharing their faith in Jesus Christ with other people.

“We decided that yes, we’re missionaries. We’re trying to share the gospel, but besides just going out, we need to be praying for this, so we developed something called Pray2020, just praying for fulfillment of the Great Commission basically,” Weerheim said.

In addition, Weerheim recently committed to interning with Cru for a second year and will be working for one organization within Cru called the Jesus Film Project.

As for what she wants to do after the second year interning with Cru, Weerheim is still in the process of figuring that out.

“I hope to live in Orlando, so either I’ll be joining staff full time or finding another job in Orlando. I don’t know exactly what that will look like yet!” Weerheim said.

For current Indiana Wesleyan students, Weerheim has a bit of wisdom to share.

“Don’t be afraid to make the most of your time in college because it’s only four years. It’ll be over before you know it,” Weerheim said. “I think a really helpful thing for me was taking advantage of meeting with people that I saw as mentors and seeking advice from them, whether it be spiritually or professionally or personally, I think that was probably one of the most beneficial times that I really had as a college student.”

 

Written by Heather Cox, writer for the Alumni Office. Heather is a junior Journalism major at IWU. She is also the Editor of GrantCOnnected.net, a community news site run by IWU students. She is unsure of where life will take her after college, but she knows she never wants to stop writing!

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Amanda Gubbins

By: Heather Cox

Amanda Gubbins

Amanda Gubbins

Amanda Gubbins graduated in 2012 with a major in communication studies and a minor in Public Relations.

Gubbins grew up in Evansville, Indiana and when the time came to look at colleges, she began looking at Christian colleges. Unsure of exactly what it was she wanted to study, Gubbins started by looking at the communication programs offered at different schools. Her piano teacher had a daughter who had been at Indiana Wesleyan, and they told Gubbins a communication building had recently been built, and suggested she look into it.

Upon visiting IWU’s campus, Gubbins said she was very impressed with not only the communication program, but with the overall atmosphere of campus. Ultimately, she decided IWU would be a good fit for her, and her college search ended.

Gubbins had decided to look into communication studies because she had grown up around it. Her dad was a video guy, and she had always enjoyed media and writing, so she was looking for something which combined those gifts and talents together.

While living on campus, Gubbins was also involved with a variety of activities. She worked with the radio station for one semester, and also did things for the communication division, such as being a part of different panels that would take place. She was also very involved in residential life.

“I was always involved in residential life with my dorm. I worked at the desk for a couple different years. I never was an RA, but my junior year I was roommates with an RA, and we lived on a floor with all freshman girls, which was really fun because I got to be the big sister to the unit,” Gubbins said.

Gubbins while helping with the bike race.

Gubbins while helping with the bike race.

Gubbins also became involved with her church and the community of Marion. She began an internship with the City of Marion, working alongside the Marketing Director. She wrote a lot of press releases for community events, and was able to help with a bike race which was held every summer.

“I was working right in City Hall located downtown, so I got to know the area a little bit more and actually make friends with some of the people in the office,” Gubbins said. “It showed me a different side of Marion we didn’t usually see from campus, and gave me the opportunity to get off campus and try some different things.”

The biggest thing about IWU Gubbins appreciated, was how intentional professors and faculty were about teaching how to integrate faith into the workplace.

“Now I’m working full time, and I still find myself thinking back on those things we talked about,” Gubbins said. “What does it mean to be a world changer each day in everyday life, and when you are in the workplace how do you take those opportunities to live out your faith?”

Before graduating from IWU, Gubbins had hoped to become a Communication Director for a non-profit or a missions oriented organization. Though she is not currently in that position, she can still see herself doing that in the future.

Following graduation, Gubbins moved out to Southern California to join her family who had recently moved there. She became heavily involved in her church, volunteering with various things, when a friend from church recommended she looked into Specialized Equipment Market Association, or SEMA.

Gubbins took the opportunity and began as an administrative assistant at SEMA, doing a lot of event preparation. In addition to this, the company also wanted someone with writing skills to write a monthly column for the magazine they had.

Gubbins said IWU’s Digital Storytelling class within the Communication Department helped her gain this position, as she was able to show them a portfolio of her work including writing, photography and voiceovers.

“Through that, I got to start working with our publications team here because I connected with them and wanted to learn more about how to do that better,” Gubbins said. “I started working with them closely, and then it was about 2 ½ years later and a position opened up for Managing Editor for the monthly magazine so I got to start doing that too.”

Gubbins said she really loves what she is doing now, and could see herself doing humanitarian work or missions work in the future, using the skills she is developing at SEMA.

 

Written by Heather Cox, guest writer for the Alumni Office. Heather is a Junior Journalism major at IWU. She is also the Editor of GrantCOnnected.net, a community news site run by IWU students. She is unsure of where life will take her after college, but she knows she never wants to stop writing!

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Kim Barth: From the Stage at IWU, To A Stage In New York

By: Heather Cox

Kim Barth graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2014, after double-majoring in Education and Theatre performance.

The Ohio native found herself at Indiana Wesleyan after visiting five other schools. She said she already had friends at IWU, and stayed the night with them before her visit day. One of her high school teachers told her that when it comes to deciding on a college, go with your gut. That is exactly what Barth did. Indiana Wesleyan was her favorite of the five schools she visited, so she followed her gut and made IWU her home.

Originally, Barth started out majoring in Education. Barth said she always knew she wanted to be a teacher and in a way, theatre helped confirm that being a teacher was possible. “In high school I was actually really shy. So I joined drama club because I was thinking about being a teacher, and in my mind I thought I had to get over talking in front of people,” Barth said. “It totally changed my high school experience.”

Following high school, Barth auditioned for The Curious Savage at Indiana Wesleyan during her freshman year, which Barth described as a very special experience. Ultimately this experience made her decide to add a major in Theatre Performance.

While at Indiana Wesleyan University, Barth was actively involved in the Theatre department. She was a part of many shows such as Women of Lockerbie and Steel Magnolias. Barth was also in University Singers and Women’s Chorus for a few years. In addition to being a part of those groups, Barth attended a Bible study in her dorm.

 

Kim Barth and her roommate from IWU, Christina Bontrager, the last time she came to visit.

Kim Barth and her roommate from IWU, Christina Bontrager, the last time she came to visit.

During her time at Indiana Wesleyan, Barth met some very important people. “I met my best friends at IWU. We all lived together for 3 years and we’re still best friends. We talk all the time so for me that was the best part, I made my friend family,” Barth said. “We’re all still really close, and it was just great to meet those people.”

As graduation drew closer, Barth was faced with deciding what the next step was. “I did a lot of praying and reflecting on what I would do after college, because I knew that I loved kids and I knew I loved theatre, I just didn’t know what to do with that,” Barth said. “I always assumed I would be a teacher of some kind.”

After graduating from Indiana Wesleyan University, Barth decided to take a year off. During this year, she went back to her home in Ohio and worked at a pre-school, as well as did some substitute teaching. Not only did this give her time to decide what was next, Barth said she also collected a lot of good work experience during this time period.

It was during this year she applied to two different graduate programs, one at New York University and the other at Emerson College in Boston, earning her way into both of them.

Last summer, Barth was involved in a Christian Theatre program called Masterworks. The show she was a

Kim Barth and fellow members of Masterworks last summer.

Kim Barth and fellow members of Masterworks last summer.

part of with Masterworks took her to New York to perform. Two months later, Barth decided to make her home in New York. She attended New York University to earn her master’s degree in Theatre Education and graduated this past August.

Today, Barth teaches Theatre to Elementary students at a school called P.S.195, located in the Bronx. “I love that I get to bring what I call the magic of theatre to kids who don’t have a lot of experience with that and wouldn’t if they didn’t have this program,” Barth said. “Introducing kids to an art form that changed me, and did a lot for me growing up, is exciting for me.”

 

Written by Heather Cox, guest writer for the Alumni Office. Heather is a Junior Journalism major at IWU. She is also the Editor of GrantCOnnected.net, a community news site run by IWU students. She is unsure of where life will take her after college, but she knows she never wants to stop writing!