Storytelling is a part of your everyday life – more than you realize. Talking to friends, calling your parents, answering a question in an interview, we all share stories as a form of communication and reflection. First Person Arts is Philadelphia’s premiere storytelling non-profit, focused on using documentary and memoir art to reflect, learn, and in some cases, heal. Fortunately, I was able to interview Becca Jennings, FPA’s Marketing & Communications Coordinator, and find out the details on First Person Arts, marketing, and being a young professional. Becca is enthusiastic about her career, takes pride in her work, and has some amazing insights on self-development!
Alyssa: Tell us about First Person Arts!
Becca: First Person Arts is a nonprofit arts organization committed to the power of personal storytelling. We believe that everyone has a story to tell, and that by sharing our stories, we build connections with each other and the world.
The organization produces at least 65 live events each year including twice-monthly storytelling competitions called StorySlams, memoir and storytelling classes and workshops, applied storytelling programs, and the Annual First Person Arts Festival.
Beyond the live events, we present storytelling content online via broadcasts, which include the weekly First Person Arts Podcast and the First Person Arts YouTube Channel.
Alyssa: As Marketing & Communications Coordinator, what are some of the projects you’ve worked on over the last year?
Becca: I manage the creation of all print collateral, press, online presence, and ad sales/ placement for the organization throughout the year.
But more specifically:
-Develop organizational Marketing Plans
-Write copy for all organizational promotional materials including the FPA Festival brochure, StorySlam cards, flyers, and postcards
-Write copy and upload weekly podcasts
-Manage Marketing Intern, Executive Podcast Producer, and AV Intern
-Sell ads for FPA Festival brochure
-Identify and cultivate opportunities for promo partners/group sales
-In house graphic designer
-Liaison with out of house ad agency
-Manage, build, and create the schedule for all eblast communications
-Oversee and report out on web and live audience data collection
-Manage promotional distribution
-Manage community outreach to promote fall Festival
-Develop and execute advertising plans
-Social media manager
-Develop marketing budgets
-Onstage host at live events
-And much more!
Alyssa: What are some skills you look for in an intern or even Marketing co-worker?
Becca: Excellent writing skills, ability to manage multiple priorities simultaneously in a fast-paced deadline driven environment. The ability to plan is key–we’re a small team of three people so forward thinking is a strong and valuable skill!
Alyssa: What advice can you give students looking to work in the arts & culture industry? How about the non-profit industry?
Becca: Do what you believe in and you will find a way to make it work for you. If you dream of a 6-figure salary, arts and culture might not be the direction for you. However, if you’re inspired by the mission of the organization, and care more about that, you will have a gratifying job experience. Work extra hard, be very humble and gracious in the beginning, go above and beyond, and your career path will emerge.
I think a lot of young people starting out are simply “looking for” their career paths. The truth is that their career path doesn’t exist for them yet; so how can they “see” it? You have to walk it into existence–place one foot in front of the other– and as you go along, your path will appear. Don’t hang back waiting for your path to reveal itself to you. You reveal it for yourself by engaging with your passions and goals each day–by pushing past your comfort zone and testing your endurance–by meeting new people and listening to their stories.
And if it doesn’t happen for you right away, keep applying yourself. Fully discovering one’s own career path is a lifelong journey.
Alyssa: What’s your favorite part about working at First Person Arts?
Becca: I listen to stories for a living. That’s pretty rad.
Dream big – chase after what makes you happy and find inspiration in your work. Interested in hearing some of these inspirational stories? The 13th First Person Arts Festival is coming up this Nov. 4 -15 and features some fantastic workshops, seminars, and stories. For more information on upcoming events, visit firstpersonarts.org.