I spent this past weekend in Kingston, specifically back at my alma mater, speaking at the Queen’s Media & Journalism Conference about my career in digital communications & life as a blogger. Although this wasn’t my first time as a guest speaker, it was my first time back to Queen’s in three years. In a way, it was like nothing had changed: campus looked pretty much the same + I didn’t drive the wrong way down any of Kingston’s many one-way streets. On the other hand, everything had changed. Familiar faces on campus were few and instead of sitting in a lecture I was giving one.

Stephanie Fusco - Queen's University

That’s pure joy you’re seeing right up there. There’s nothing like coming back to campus, especially as a Queen’s alum. Even my road trip buddy, fellow speaker and Queen’s/Humber PR alum Stella Lee, was shocked at the level of giddiness I displayed throughout the weekend. What can I say…tricolour gets me going. I couldn’t resist visiting my old stomping grounds while we were in Kingston – here’s my old house on 291 Collingwood

Stephanie Fusco - kingston house

 

Yup, still displaying unnatural levels of glee.

The conference wasn’t around when Stella & I were students at Queen’s, but I really wish it was. I might have realized sooner rather than later that a career in digital communications was the way to to, rather than focusing so much on going to law school. On Saturday, I gave a workshop on digital communications, community management and blogging that was attended by extremely attentive and inquisitive Queen’s undergrads.

Stephanie Fusco - Queen's Media & Journalism Conference Workshop

The room filled up more after I took the photo, promise.

 

Stephanie Fusco - public speaking - Queen's Media & Journalism Conference

I spoke about my career path, from realizing I wanted to be in PR instead of going to law school to choosing the wrong fork in the road after Humber PR graduation to networking my way to a job at BBDO Proximity…with a sprinkling of what agency life is like and basic how-tos for online personal branding and blogging. I also tackled the age old mystery: what exactly does a community manager do?!

Stephanie Fusco - What does a community manager do

More than you thought, isn’t it? The students were agape at both the breadth of clients and variety of work I have – apparently in a good way, since I’ve received quite a few tweets + emails since about potential summer internships here at Prox.¬†While most guest speaking gigs that culminate in “do you have any questions?…” result in the speaker hearing crickets, I’ve never had so many questions. Colour me impressed.

Stephanie Fusco - Queen's Media & Journalism Conference - Josh Bowman, Stella Lee, Megan McChesney

Along with the workshop, I also participated in a new media panel moderated by one of my favourite university professors, Jonathan Rose. Questions up for debate ran the gamut from ethics & legalities in blogging and digital media to monetization and the future of digital/social. Team New Media included (L-R)¬†Megan McChesney, executive editor & senior web producer at St. Joseph’s Media; Josh Bowman, fundraising director for CAPE and freelance blogger for Huffington Post; and Stella Lee, digital communications coordinator at Springfree Trampolines.

After the panel, we went to the QP…because that’s what you do when you’re at Queen’s.

Stephanie Fusco & Stella Lee - QP

 

Apparently it was possible for me to get even happier at this point.

Speaking at Queen’s was an incredible experience I won’t soon forget. Along with being able to chat to current students about their career options and ignite their passion in digital, I also learned a ton from the other speakers. Cheesy as it sounds, it’s so fantastic to be around likeminded people who are on a similar path but who aren’t doing the exact same thing as you. I loved the opportunity to connect with the other speakers over dinner and throughout the conference the next day. Congratulations to the executive team of the Queen’s Media & Journalism Conference and thank you so much for having me.

If you want to check out tweets from the Queen’s Media & Journalism Conference speakers, Stella Lee put together this Twitter list.

To see tweets from the weekend, check out this Storify.

 

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