Article by Luke Carberry Mogan | esPResso Staff Writer
The PRSSA Regional Conference hosted by Marist signaled a return of several accomplished alumni, including three who participated in an informative panel highlighting their paths to career success in their respective industries. One of those panelists was Kelsey Donohue, who not too long ago was a Marist Red Fox.
Donohue’s ambition has not stopped since graduating from Marist in 2013. Her career has brought her to Washington, D.C., where she currently works as a press aide on the First Lady’s communication team at The White House. Donohue started her professional career at the Department of Education after tweeting at the organization’s press secretary. She worked as a staff writer on the department’s Homeroom blog, publishing pieces about events and issues in the American school system. After transitioning to the Department of State, she worked with the coordinator of the Bureau of International Information programs for a year until earning the opportunity to work for the First Lady.
Donohue describes working with First Lady Michelle Obama as a “pleasure and honor.” Since joining her team, Donohue has assisted in the production of her most recent viral videos, including the First Lady’s “Turnip For What?” vine and appearances on “Billy on the Street” with “Sesame Street’s” Big Bird.
During the regional conference panel session, Donohue endorsed the use of social media as a way to “organically reach audiences.”She also addressed several conference attendees questions about facing possible skill gaps in their future career paths. “You are never going to be pigeonholed somewhere,” Donohue responded. At Marist, she used every opportunity she could to strengthen her communication skills by working as a tour guide and orientation leader. The press aide displayed more of her social media skills when she revealed herself as the creator of Marist’s Instagram account, a project that she continued working on while in D.C.
Donohue also suggested working with start up companies as a way to gain experience. She explained that successful or not, the small organizations offered young workers an opportunity to “be creative and take risks,” giving them “leadership and ownership responsibilities.” Pressing the issue, Kelsey advocated to “let your passion fuel your career.” She recounted making a chart of her skills and interests and figured out where the two categories overlapped in order to determine her own passions. For example, Donohue has been able to make her personal interests in education and women’s rights issues priorities in her career path. Hopefully the regional conference attendees learned to do the same after listening to her advice.