Four years ago when I last wrote in this blog I was working as a web developer and the social media coordinator for the University Communications office at William & Mary. I started at W&M in June 2010 and it was a job I loved that gave me the opportunity and flexibility to explore the rapidly evolving world of social media management and higher education marketing even though it was never part of my original “web developer” job description. I had the privilege of helping start W&M’s Social Media Users Group (SMUG), going to conferences like the College Communicators Association of Virginia and D.C. (CCA), CASE Social Media and Community and HighEdWeb and sharing what I’d learned, and joining a caring and active community of higher education marketers both online via Twitter and Slack as well as in person at conferences.
I’m still at W&M today, but now three years (as of April 2017) into my role as Director of Digital Marketing for University Advancement, a role that brought new responsibilities of management into the picture as well as combining my interests in both web development and social media into one position. I was not sure I was ready or fully prepared when I started, but with support from friends and colleagues it’s a role I have grown into.
I’ve learned management is hard, which is of course no surprise to anyone that’s ever been a manager I’m sure. To be honest, I knew it was going to be difficult, but just not how much it would make me stretch and grow personally as well as professionally. That extra responsibility of always looking out for your team, making sure when something great happens, they get the credit and when something goes awry that it’s your responsibility and you protect them, while also helping them learn from that mistake and grow themselves, is a goal that I came into the position with and, thanks to great mentors and understanding colleagues and teammates, I’d like to think I’m getting better at every day.
When I first heard about this position opening in late 2016 I spent a good portion of my reading time on our cruise vacation at the end of that year reading “Managing Humans” by Michael Lopp. That, along with long discussions with my husband who had been in management for over 10 years, really helped shape my philosophy on things. Michael’s blog Rands in Repose is great and I’d highly recommend following him on Twitter or reading the blog if you’re new to management or just looking to improve your management skills.