Woman smiling.Whitney Caldwell graduated in 2014 in Communication Studies. She now lives in Santa Barbara, working for a speakers bureau that manages some of the best-known names in the celebrity, entertainment and business worlds. Whitney facilitates finding, managing and matching good speakers for the right organizations and events.  We asked her about her job and how her major prepared her.

Tell us about your job.

My company, Big Speak Speakers Bureau, facilitates, finds, and arranges speakers for events ranging from corporate conferences to internal seminars.

Specifically, I assist the President of the company in all of his sales & projects, as well as aid in the efforts of the entire sales department and operations team.

Our list of speakers is vast and consists of founders of companies, celebrities, and household names in the business world. One example would be Marc Randolph, the co-founder of the online movie and television streaming service Netflix.

How did Chapman’s COM/SCC major prepare you?

Specifically for me, my degree helped in understanding human behavior, and how people tick. Although public speaking and methods of persuasion are some of the most daunting courses a COM/SCC major can take, the concepts are directly applied to the business world. My job is finding individuals who can communicate how to improve and teach others to grow in their companies and with themselves. This is something that Communication Studies teaches students every day. 

Understanding how to express ideas, and see how those ideas can influence behaviors, is at the core of human behavior. Not understanding those concepts would make my job a lot more difficult.

What do you think your major taught you that was of most value?

Honestly, everything about the major was my favorite. Communication Studies is such a diverse field, which is not classified by one theory, but rather by multiple fields of thought. Everything I learned throughout my four years has been used or applied in my life.

What is your advice for students who are graduating now?

Do not overthink everything and be solely focused on the end result. Wanting a career path right out of school is an amazing aspiration, but not having a set plan is not a measure of your success.

What skills do you think students need to know that they won’t learn from school for your profession?

Just that there is more variability in the business world than expected. I have set tasks that I do every day that are made easier by a work ethic I learned in school, but the ebb and flow of situational circumstances cannot be predicted.

What makes you great at your job?

Just going for it, and taking on what is thrown at me. I never question if I cannot do something, but rather jump in and see what happens.  I also ask questions when I do not understand something, and take the initiative when needed.