From jhP to NPR and back again

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a Texas-raised writer and editor who first joined the  jhP family in May 2016. I craft and hone words and taglines that appear in communications for jhP clients – with occasional mentoring insights from Kurt Eskilson. Much of what I do is creative and technical, working closely with account executives and the creative dream team. But that’s not where my career began.

Before jhP, I was a journalism student at the University of Kansas and editor of the college paper. I also studied the history of art, focusing on modern and contemporary art and sculpture. Months into my last semester, I applied to the NPR arts desk internship. By May, I hadn’t heard back. A few weeks before graduation I applied to jhP after running into an acquaintance-turned-friend, Alli Lopez, who had also worked there as a message strategist. She gently urged me to apply and I was hired!

However, within the first few months at jhP, I got the call: NPR wanted to hire me as an intern. I would need to uproot and move to Washington, D.C. for three months. Sure, it was scary. But when the head of the arts desk Ellen Silva asked me: “Would you be interested?” – there was no question. Of course I was. It wasn’t an easy decision and I mulled it over for about a week before I accepted the offer. And the transition was made seamless after Kurt and Jake Huyett said I’d have a job waiting for me after this amazing opportunity. So for the past three months that’s where I’ve been. Now I’m back to share what I learned and how all of that can be applied to the work we do here at jhP.

I learned:

  • The value of being a self-starter: My growth at NPR was up to me and no one else. Yes, there were people there who actively checked in and presented challenges to me. That was great. But taking charge and owning certain projects made me proud of the work I finished at the end of the day. That’s what I’ve begun to employ in my work at jhP. It’s opened a world of possibility. To be a self-initiator, whether it be of ideas, specific projects or conversation, is truly, truly valuable in the workplace. That means you must take pride in whatever you do. This leads to my next point.
  • Take pride in everything you do: And I do mean everything. Day in and day out at jhP we all work on multiple projects. Same at NPR. One day it may have been building a shell (also known as a template) for a movie review or transcribing an interview but the tasks required this one thing: pride. So here at jhP I’ve decided to be proud of catching minor proofing errors or even contributing to an internal project, regardless of being credited. When you value each task, you do better. And when you do better, your work shines. Small accomplishments garner just as much praise as the large ones in their own unique way. But it takes baby steps to show you’re ready for the full shebang.
  • Pitch ideas, even if you don’t know what you’re talking about: To better understand others, ask questions. And if you’re in the job of analyzing people or telling stories, even better. That’s how we learn here at jhP – through focus groups, interviews, research and asking questions. Brainstorming is a whole lot more fun with a group.

So, the most important takeaway is engage your curiosity and always come with a willingness to learn.

Vicky Diaz-Camacho is a copywriter and copy editor at jones huyett Partners. She helps to provide writing, research and social media insight.