Alumnae finds professional fit at social network hub
by Jillian Stenzel
“Thinking back five years ago, this is what I told everyone what I wanted to do,” Olivia Cheung, 2010 University graduate and LinkedIn field marketing associate, said. “And I’m actually doing it.”
Cheung, alumnae of the public relations sequence at the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism, began her career in an entry-level internship at Viva Nista, a San Francisco non-profit start-up.
“I took whatever would move me to the city,” Cheung said.
Two weeks after she started, a fellow Nevada graduate called Cheung about a marketing opportunity at LinkedIn.
“I showed up with nothing but a portfolio from the j-school and press releases from my internship and classes but they loved it,” Cheung said. “I was fresh out of college, willing to adapt, be more creative and bring something different than someone from another company. It was something fresh for them.”
Alexia Bratiotis, area marketing manager for Bayer Properties, LLC, supervised Cheung during her undergraduate internship with The Nevada Museum of Art and noted Cheung’s eagerness and dynamic ability.
“I appreciated that she committed to the program and wanted to work hard and make the most of the experience,” Bratiotis said.
Cheung thinks it was her eagerness that landed her the LinkedIn job, edging out Ivy League graduates and applicants with prior experience in the field.
“If you’re able to show an employer that you’re creative, flexible and ready to hit the ground running, they can see that in you,” Cheung said. “You need to be able to demonstrate it in an interview.”
Cheung appreciates the Reynolds School for providing her with the ability to present herself professionally.
“I learned that you have to stand behind your work, even if it’s not your best and confidence is key,” Cheung said. “I learned that at the j-school and working in teams and with my professors on hands-on projects.”
One of the aspects of the Reynolds School that Cheung loved most was the opportunity for involvement with real clients.
“In Todd’s (Felts) 443 PR class, we worked with actual clients,” Cheung said. “I flew to Philadelphia to do research for the National Science Foundation and I worked with the store manager at Patagonia in Reno. It’s not just your typical PR class.”
Felts, assistant professor of public relations, typically assigns student teams to work on public relations campaigns for one of three clients per semester.
In January, Cheung was promoted to marketing field associate, working more in the hands-on environment that she loves.
“I started from the bottom and worked my way up a bit, and now I can see the other side of what I’ve been doing for the past year,” Cheung said.
Cheung travels across the nation and Canada to facilitate LinkedIn sales team events.
“My work covers event logistics, clients and speakers,” Cheung said. “It’s basically an A to Z package. I love it.”
A fervent participant in community service, Cheung hopes to pursue more non-profit work in the future and has already integrated her event planning skills to her non-profit passions at LinkedIn.
Cheung helped plan inDay, which encourages LinkedIn employees to dedicate one day each month to volunteer. Last July, Cheung recruited volunteers to help clean up Santa Cruz beaches.
Cheung also is involved with the Junior League of San Francisco and a sparked.com Microvolunteer.
She advises future graduates to take a risk and put themselves out there, adding that more opportunities made themselves available when she applied for jobs in the San Francisco area after graduation.
“It’s easier to look for a job in the environment from the inside rather than the outside,” Cheung said.