Tanya Thomas graduated from Chapman in 2009 with a B.A. in Communication Studies and minor in English Literature. From interning at Disney to becoming the Director of Customer and Employee Experience at Experian Health, Tanya’s communication degree has be vital to her ability to succeed in her career. Below, she shares her career experience and how her degree helped get her to where she is today. If you want to connect with Tanya, you can find her on LinkedIn.

Where do you work and what is your job title?
I work at Experian Health as the Director of Customer and Employee Experience.

What does your job entail?
Experian Health is a B2B company selling software, analytics capabilities, and consulting services to America’s largest healthcare systems. My job is to ensure that we have a strong pulse on the ins and outs of our entire client experience. My teams are always looking for ways to incorporate the client voice and input into our decision-making practices and process improvement initiatives and identify and address customer pain points to ensure that we are constantly evolving to better meet client needs. Then we strive to do that same thing, but for our employee experience. This includes internal communications and culture reporting to me.

How did you decide to pursue a career in customer experience?
I have always been intrigued with brand experiences that seem to be a step ahead of the rest. I started working for Nordstrom the week of my 18th birthday, and I interned with Disney while studying at Chapman. I stumbled into Customer Experience as an expertise when I got a job at a startup and was tasked with building out a customer service team from scratch. I’ve been building my knowledge and experience in this field for the last 10 years now, and I feel like it’s a great path for anyone studying communication that also loves technology and process improvement.

How has your communication degree benefited you in your career?
The ability to succeed in a role like mine is completely dependent upon my ability to build trust and encourage engagement and open-minded thinking in a very short period of time. Both Customer Experience and Employee Experience departments are incredibly cross-functional in nature. My teams are constantly roving throughout the business, and we need to build strong relationships with every kind of stakeholder there is. My communication degree taught me a lot about communicating and collaborating with different cultures, genders, personality types; how people respond to perceived conflict, what people need to feel inspired for change etc. This knowledge and skill set have been completely critical to every role I’ve ever had in my field.

What advice do you have for undergraduate students or recent graduates?
Align yourself to leaders and mentors that you believe in. Every promotion and growth opportunity I have had since graduating from Chapman has been dependent upon leaders that I have fostered an authentic relationship with. When you’re looking for a job, ask the tough questions of leaders that you meet and see if their answers inspire you and give you confidence in the outlook of the company and the role. And when you find one, look for any and every way you can possibly provide value and loyalty, and most of the time that will not go unnoticed or unrewarded.