Have you met Shauna (Fleming) Parisi ’11? She and I reconnected on LinkedIn after realizing we both went to Chapman and had mutual friends. Shauna started the nationally recognized military nonprofit, A Million Thanks, when she was only 15 years old. She graduated from Chapman University with a B.A. in public relations and advertising, and is the director of marketing at Juice It Up.
Rob Selway ’07 (MBA ’10): Tell us about your career. What does a day on the job entail?
Shauna (Fleming) Parisi ’11: I have a blessed and unique career trajectory that blends my passion and skill set. When I was in high school, I started a nonprofit organization that benefits the military called A Million Thanks. The mission of the organization is to support our military through sending thank you letters to active duty military, granting wishes of injured veterans, and providing higher education scholarships to children of fallen military. I was able to continue my work throughout high school, my time at Chapman and beyond. While that’s not my full-time role anymore, I am still able to help with marketing and fundraising initiatives, as well as the overall direction of the organization.
My full-time role is director of marketing for the raw juice and smoothie franchise, Juice It Up. I’ve always worked in food service marketing and recently made the transition into this role. I am responsible for all marketing plans for the company overall as well as creating local store marketing plans for our 90 locations in four states.
RS: Why did this type of work originally interest you and how did you get started?
SP: I think marketing has always been in my blood, probably thanks to my dad. He’s an entrepreneur and business owner who has always had such creative ideas. He was a significant part of A Million Thanks, especially at the beginning when we needed to spread the word and get participation. I learned how to write press releases, do interviews, pitch partnership opportunities, among other things. I chose Chapman because of its public relations and advertising program. The bonus for me was that it was within Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, and film is another passion of mine. I ended up minoring in film studies with the original goal of going into film marketing, but God had other plans and I ended up in the food service industry.
RS: What part of your job do you find most satisfying? Most challenging?
SP: I absolutely love the creativity of marketing. I love coming up with marketing plans, especially when they involve partnering with other companies. I also love the corporate social responsibility (CSR) aspect, and Juice It Up is very heavily involved in the community and with local and national nonprofits. I think the most challenging aspect is that marketing is always changing. I always felt like I was on top of trends, but it’s getting more and more difficult in the digital and mobile age. It can sometimes be very overwhelming, so I just try to find what works and drive it hard.
RS: What are your highest aspirations professionally and personally?
SP: I would love to end up in a chief marketing officer/vice president marketing level in the next five years. In the food service industry, it is very common for executive level marketers to move into CEO and president roles. I would not be opposed to that! But family is very important, and my husband and I do have plans to start a family. So I’ll definitely have to find a way to have my cake and eat it too!
RS: What are you most passionate about outside of work?
SP: My husband and I met on Semester at Sea, so consequently we love to travel. We have been to 17 countries together and counting. We try to go to a new place or two each year. We live in Newport Beach, so being outdoors and by the water in any capacity is something we both love. A Million Thanks also takes up some of my time, especially near our larger fundraising events.
RS: Who or what has inspired you most?
SP: I had two professors who made such a lasting impact on my life and career. I took a few classes taught by Veston Rowe and believe a lot of my public relations skills came from what I learned from him. I can write most press releases in less than 10 minutes thanks to Veston. I also took two classes with Jerry Hicks – one required for my major and one because I wanted to have him for a second semester. I attribute my writing and storytelling skills to Jerry. Even after I graduated, I couldn’t let him disappear. He asks me to come speak to his class every semester, which is such an honor to do.
RS: How has your Chapman degree helped you?
SP: I got my very first job at a public relations/communications agency because of a connection from a former Chapman professor. I was able to break a Guinness World Record for A Million Thanks because of the help of my Alpha Phi sisters at Chapman. I was able to travel the world on Semester at Sea, my most invaluable life experience, because of Chapman. I’ve made connections with alumni all of the world because of Chapman. Chapman has affected almost every area of my life.
RS: What’s the best advice you ever received and what words of encouragement do you have for future Chapman alumni?
SP: My favorite piece of advice is to never let your age get larger than the number of countries you’ve explored. Yes, it’s very travel related, but for me, it also helps keep me open, globally aware, and never stuck in one place for too long.
My piece of advice for Chapman alumni is to keep your connections close. Your professors, your classmates, your closest friends, the guest speakers you hear—everyone. You will rely on them in the future in some way or another. They are your most valuable asset the second you graduate. Stay connected.
RS: How would you like to further connect with your Chapman Family?
SP: I would be happy to be a connection for students or alumni who’d like to get into marketing, the food service industry, nonprofits, or for general life advice. I haven’t been around the block too many times, but I think I have some good information.
Connect with Shauna or Rob:
Have a friend who you’d like to feature in our new “Have You Met?” blog? Email Kevin Staniec ’01 »