Member Spotlight: Gwen Lanzer

Gwen Lanzer is an internal communications consultant for SunEdison, Inc., a global leader in solar technology and energy distribution. In addition to her current role, Gwen’s career spans work in news media, public relations, corporate communications, and association management. She presently serves on the IABC St. Louis Chapter Board of Directors as VP of Membership. Gwen also is affiliated with the Washington University Skandalarius Center for Entrepreneurial Studies where she mentors student teams developing strategic marketing programs.   What made you choose a career in communications? In high school, I wanted to be a journalist. I was smitten by the excitement and frenzy of breaking news coverage, of meeting new people, and staying abreast of local, national, and international affairs. I’m a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and still love of the mix of hard news reporting and feature writing. In short, I’m a news junky. I worked for a time as a newspaper reporter, where I found that feature writing is my forte. I later transitioned my communication talents into business and corporate marketing. The most significant experience that shaped your career? I’m a very resilient person today, which I attribute to rejection early on in my career. The job market was abysmal when I graduated with my B.J. degree. It took me three months to find a job and less than two months to lose it. Management said I had no writing talent – something I could not, and would not, accept. I made it my mission to study compelling and varied writing styles, and to take on diverse assignments where I could...

Member Spotlight: Mackenzie McNamara

Employer: BJC HealthCare  Title: Coordinator for BJC School Outreach and Youth Development  Years in the profession: 2  Favorite quote: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten” – Anthony      Robbins  What I (want to) get out of IABC: Although I have only worked in the professional world for about two years, I have learned so much by simply networking and listening to others. I have met some very influential people over the past couple of years and have gained valuable knowledge that I may not have ever received if I didn’t put myself out there and ask questions. Through IABC, I am hoping to network and learn from others, and also to develop professional skills in order to become more valuable for my department and for my organization. What do you like most about your job? I love working for School Outreach and Youth Development because we teach K-12 youth how to live healthy lifestyles and how to prevent high-risk behaviors by educating them at a young age. We have come up with fun, interactive ways to educate students about their health, so they are learning, while also having fun. The testimonies that we receive from the students prove that our department really makes a difference in their lives. What does life’s next chapter hold for you? My fiancé and I got engaged in March, so the next step is a wedding! We are looking into a destination wedding, which means a vacation with family and friends, too! I will also be starting the MBA program through Webster University in June,...

Member Spotlight: Abby Richter

This month, we spotlight new member Abby Richter. Employer: Rising Above with John O’Leary Title: Marketing & Media Manager Social Media: Linked In – http://www.linkedin.com/in/abbyhughes What do you like most about your job? Working for an entrepreneurial company – growing from inspirational speaking into a lifestyle organization offering multi-day events, online coaching programs, books and more – is thrilling! The opportunities are endless, the energy is high and the hats I wear are many! But what I love MOST is our mission – which we live and breathe and share with every client, partner and community member we encounter: “take back your life, ignite your possibility and change your world.” For a girl who has been described her whole life as an “eternal optimist” – helping others find the silver lining and then thriving into their best life is absolutely where I am meant to be for the long haul. What piece of advice would you give to someone studying communication?  I have two tips. First, get as much diverse internship experience as you can! If you start internships early on in college, you will get to see what aspects of communication you like and which you don’t – which will really help you focus on the right opportunities when you begin your job search. You’ll also have made lots of professional connections, which are critical when looking for your first job. Finally – never underestimate the power of the informational interview! Know a company you’d like to work for? A person whose career you admire? Ask for an informational interview to learn more about the company / industry / his career path and...

Member Spotlight: Becky Lorentz

Becky Lorentz is the Marketing Manager in Towers Watson’s St. Louis office.  Her responsibilities include creating marketing opportunities that introduce and reinforce awareness of Towers Watson’s services and capabilities, generating sales lead opportunities, enhancing and fostering relationships with existing clients, and creating internal awareness of key marketing initiatives. In addition to her current role, Becky has held positions in marketing, sales, product and project management. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an M.B.A. from St. Louis University. She is an avid fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Employer: Towers Watson Title: Marketing Manager Social Media: Linked In – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/rebecca-lorentz/5/699/914 What do you like most about your job?  The people! I work with a lot of amazingly smart and insightful people. Every day I get to come to work and help deliver Towers Watson’s expertise to our clients by connecting my colleagues with the right tools, the right content, and the right communication at the right time. Favorite quote:  “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  Dr. Seuss When not working, you could find me: With 3 kids, I spend a lot of time going to soccer games, t-ball games, Cub Scout meetings, or wearing a tiara at princess tea parties. I also spend time perfecting my skills in Lego and fort building. The most significant experience that shaped your career?  For a few years, I worked in Pharmaceutical Sales.  It was fun and challenging with a lot of successes, but sales is also very humbling.  The fantastic thing about sales is that both...

Member Spotlight: Jim Phelan

Jim Phelan is the Director of Global Public Relations for the product lifecycle management (PLM) software business of Siemens, a global engineering conglomerate. In addition to his current role, Jim has held positions in media relations, marketing, sales and engineering during his 34-year career. He was born and raised in St. Louis where he has spent most of his life. Jim has three grown children, ages 24, 22 and 20, all living in St. Louis. What made you choose communications as a career? I sort of backed into it. I actually consider communications to be my third attempt at a career. My first career was as a mechanical engineer for McDonnell Douglas where I got some experience using computer-aided design (CAD) software. My second career was selling CAD software for IBM and my current company. Then, a little over 15 year ago I decided to get out of sales because I wanted to stop traveling so much. So I started talking to several executives inside my company trying to find a place where I might fit. The head of Marketing at the time was looking to replace his outside PR agency with someone internally. He asked me to write a sample press release as a test, which I apparently passed and got the job. I think I’ve written or edited about a million press releases since then. Are there any common threads that tie your diverse jobs together? The common threads are engineering software technology and communications. I learned engineering in college and gained experience with CAD software in my first job. I always had somewhat of a knack...

Member Spotlight: Mary C. Foshage

Mary C. Foshage works in communications for SSM Health Care, a Catholic, non-profit health system that spans four states: Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, with its headquarters here in St. Louis. For more than three years she worked in public relations and marketing at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center and for SSM Maternity Care. Outside of work Mary enjoys time with her family, playing sports, learning the violin and volunteering which she does for a few different organizations, including IABC St. Louis. What do you like most about your job? New challenges. SSM has never shied away from challenging people to accomplish new and better things. And in communications there are always new strategies to explore, new media to test out, new relationships to cultivate and new obstacles to think through and overcome. What is the most significant experience that shaped your career? A few years ago my boss and mentor left for a position at another organization. This was a good move for him, but it came at a hard time. We weren’t aware of his changing jobs and were in the middle of an international media craze. It was sad, exciting but even nerve-racking all at the same time. In the end my colleague and I pulled together (with help from other co-workers) and got through the month-long media hurricane. It was a few more months before another team member was hired so the craziness didn’t cease right away. Still, that time was a great learning and growing experience. I learned a lot about working under stress and that at the end of the media crazy...