WIU-QC Alumni Spotlight: Jennifer Verscha
Meet Jennifer Verscha, a key member of the team at dphilms, which is based in Rock Island, IL, and has produced projects for clients and organizations ranging from the WIU-QC campus itself to Fortune 500 companies. When revealing and promoting finalized creative projects, dphilms often uses the hashtag #yeahwedidthat. When it comes to looking into dphilms’ projects, it’s clear that when asking if Jennifer was involved, the answer is “yeah, she did that!” Learn about how Verscha managed to complete her degree while working full-time, why she recommends WIU-QC to others, and advice she’d give to undergraduates.
Interview with Jennifer Verscha
Where do you work and what is your current job title?
I’m the Executive Producer / Coordinating Queen at dphilms.
What was your major and when did you graduate?
I majored in Business Management with a minor in Marketing in December 2004.
Why did you choose that major?
I’ve always enjoyed helping others achieve their goals, and being in business management would allow me to do so. I also knew that one day I wanted to be in upper management or own my own business, and the Bachelor of Business Management degree would give me this foundation. With Marketing, I get to utilize my creative side.
What did you like most about your major?
I loved the diversity of classes that I was able to choose from, to help keep me on my toes. I really enjoyed “Dr. E.,” Dr. Jim Patterson, and Dr. Ann Walsh, (former marketing professor). These three professors were caring and engaging. They were able to bring reality/real-world experiences into the classroom. They are relatable and down to earth. They truly made my learning experience at WIU fun and enjoyable.
I also loved all of my Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration (RPTA) and Marketing classes. Tourism; event planning; and marketing products and services, were so fascinating to learn about. My favorite class was an event planning class, where we were able to create, plan, market, and execute our own event, “Professional Eye for the College Grad.” My favorite memories were in Dr. Walsh’s class when we created that event. We went all-out, by providing food and drinks for those in attendance, mock interviews, and vendor booths for local business. We even did a photoshoot and made colorful marketing materials to promote the event…plus the local media was there to cover it.
All of these classes have helped me immensely throughout my career path. I worked for our local CVB for a few years; I was a catering manager for a local hotel; in charge of marketing at a local mall; chaired multiple events for local non-profits, raising thousands of dollars for our community; and produced Fearlessly Girl Live, an anti-bullying assembly with more than 1,000 girls live and 2,000 girls across 21 states watching live.
What are you responsible for in your position?
Tough question! A lot!!!! I help manage a crew of seven people, plus freelancers. I’m in charge of Marketing and Sales. (Website content, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, events, sponsorships…etc.) This includes meeting with clients, assisting them with video production to meet their marketing needs / goals, as well as estimating, scriptwriting, storyboarding, location and talent scouting, music selections, voiceover selection, teleprompter operator, assisting on shoots, scheduling, budgeting, HR functions, hiring…and so much more! Sometimes this also means being an extra in a video or doing voice over work. I get the best of both worlds: being in the office and the ability to be out in the community.
How did WIU-QC prepare you for your job?
In so many ways, WIU prepared me for life. From fabulous and caring faculty and teachers that helped prepare me for the road ahead, to life lessons in lifelong learning and thinking on my toes.
Why did you choose WIU-QC for higher education? Why would you recommend Western to another person?
Here are three thoughts that come to mind:
- “Cost Efficient”
- “Convenient Classes.”
I was able to go to school full-time while working full-time — and was debt-free when I graduated, as I paid for school each semester out of my own pocket. Plus, WIU has everything you need right here at home. Why go anywhere else, when the Quad Cities is a great community with a fantastic public university.
Is there a memory of WIU-QC that you often think about?
In addition to those I’ve already mentioned, I really enjoyed that the students at WIU-QC wanted to be at school to learn and grow as individuals. They weren’t stereotypical party students who were there because they were forced into learning by their parents. The caring atmosphere, staff, and students. The ability to work my full-time job schedule with my full-time schooling was invaluable.
I also remember taking a business class with Dr. E that was a blast, but I didn’t do so hot in. I believe it was my first and only D…ever. I can laugh at this now…but it wasn’t so funny back then.
What is one thing about your job that you didn’t expect, or that might surprise a current college student?
I do lots of not-so-glamorous things to help make our clients happy and our company run smoothly…lots of math, quick thinking, problem solving, many spreadsheets, data entry, and even cleaning up the office every now and then.
What advice can you offer to current college students who might be interested in going into your field?
Here’s some advice based upon what I’ve been learning as I go:
- If at first you don’t succeed, try again.
- Learn something new from every person you meet and new experience you encounter.
- No matter if they are younger or older…we all have important messages to share.
- Don’t be scared to be yourself.
- Push yourself to try new things and experiences.
- Don’t put yourself in a bubble…make yourself vulnerable.
- Go out on a limb and talk to the new person next to you.
- Don’t be afraid of the CEO or man or woman in the suite, he or she is a person just like you.
- Do go to social/networking events and sit with others you’ve never met and talk to them.
- Do say yes to others. Do take on hard tasks and figure them out without having someone watch over you like a hawk.
- Think for yourself yet know when to ask for help!
- Take risks, especially when you are young.
- Take internships.
- Work hard. No real job comes with an owner’s manual…you must decide to dive right in, to sink or to swim, so that you rise to the top of the occasion!