CommLeader Spotlight|Evan Westenberger, Cohort 10

Area of interest (within the MCDM program or in general):

My areas of interest within the MCDM were Story and Entrepreneurship. I was able to use the hands-on and academic knowledge I gained in the MCDM to build engaging video narratives for many different organizations.

I had the opportunity to expand my business while in the MCDM because of the connections I made within the program. I was fortunate enough to do projects for a George Lucas Foundation sponsored project from the College of Education, create a highlight reel of an eight week lecture series on food for the College of the Environment, and create a promo video for the College of Public Health.

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I am a web content producer for Providence Health and Services in Northwest Washington. In that role I act as a local expert for website projects and changes to the busiest Emergency Room in Washington State, a multistory Cancer Partnership, about 12 primary and specialty care clinics, a foundation, and more.

Since I started working for Providence in December 2012, I have migrated their outdated Intranet to SharePoint, initiated a social media pilot project to measure if social media can increase patient volumes and engagement, and worked with my team on a video pilot project to measure if videos of providers, clinics, and specialty care can increase patient volumes.

We are currently in the process of creating one of the most innovative healthcare websites that will launch by the end of the year. Features of the new site will make the patient experience much easier online, which is one of my professional goals. I want to create an easy to use web experience for everyone, not just the people who are tech savvy.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM program in your daily life?

The storytelling skills I learned in the MCDM allowed my to expand my Business, Evan West Media. I was able to use the knowledge I learned (such as how to shoot video, edit and tell a compelling story) for multiple organizations. I still use that knowledge for consulting on the side.

I am also able to use knowledge I learned in Kraig Baker’s Law class on a regular basis. That class has kept me from making some serious mistakes when it comes to digital media law.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

Through the MCDM, I was able to do an internship with CedarCreek Winery in Canada. The winery flew me up to Canada, put me in a resort, and gave me some great wine (best internship ever). Even though all of that was great, I became much more aware of how digital media marketing really works. I developed a multi-phased online marketing plan for CedarCreek Winery that included a process on how to engage their customers with social media, drive them to their website with paid search, and included suggestions on what they should do with trends like Groupon and QR codes.

This internship helped me understand the power of an integrated online marketing plan can have in driving business growth and customer engagement.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

I have recently become interested in Artificial Intelligence and other technologies that can lead to the Singularity (that is when machines will become smarter than humans). It’s only a matter of time, Google it if you don’t believe me.

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

My ultimate goal would be to create or manage a company that makes people’s lives easier in the digital, and real, world.

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

When I first started the MCDM I was taking more than a full course load. I was running my online marketing company at the time and I could choose my own hours. It was still difficult though.

The best suggestion I received while in the program was to spend as much time within the MCDM as I could. It’s all about the connections you make while in the program, the longer you are in the more people you meet.

Because I took a lot of classes during my first year I was able to take one class a quarter after I started working full time with Providence. It was tough, but it was worth it.

And for the sake of a silly question: Favorite place to study on campus and why?

My favorite place to study on campus was the Foster School of Business. It is one of the coolest buildings I have ever seen and their meeting rooms are great. They have giant TV’s and walls made out of white boards, which make it a great spot for team meetings.

Ilona IdlisCommLeader Spotlight|Evan Westenberger, Cohort 10
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