Kathy Woo, Communications and Marketing, 270 Sherman
We recently caught up with Kathy Woo, who works in Communications and Marketing at 270 Sherman, a historic building re-adapted as a creative complex for artists, artisans, and creative professionals. 270 Sherman has over 50 tenants, from visual artists, to wood workers, photographers, film companies, and designers. Well-known productions have also come through the doors of 270 Sherman. Such productions include the new version of Nikita and the popular CBC TV show Murdoch Mysteries, and film productions such as The Kennedys, Turn the Beat Around, and The Art of the Steal, recently released in theatres on September 20th 2013.
Kathy did her Honours Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Cultural Studies at McMaster. She graduated in 2012.
You are currently working in communication and marketing at 270 Sherman. What are some of the most exciting things that you do in your job?
It’s exciting to meet a range of creative professionals such as film company representatives, photographers and performing artists. Their work fascinates me because it is a blend of a couple things I enjoy: creativity and storytelling. Learning about the history of the building also never ceases to excite me; the 113-year-old building occupies160,000 square feet of space and retains a feel of the rich history of its original purpose as a cotton manufacturing company.
What experiences did you gain at McMaster that were relevant to this job?
At McMaster, I gained experience writing press releases, creating media kits, and identifying target audiences. Through the courses I took on qualitative research methods, I learned how to develop interview questions. I also gained skills valuable in researching our competitors to enhance our brand.
At McMaster, you did an internship at Cossart Exchange (now known as CoBALT Connects). What experiences did you gain through this internship?
This was the first place that I was able to dip my toes into a career in communications. I learned the reality of Marshal McLuhan’s lesson that the “medium is the message”. Different mediums of communication serve a purpose, and my internship allowed me to use different mediums to develop different messages, including social media, e-newsletters and blogging. Learning this at my internship gave me real-life experience of how certain mediums of communication draw people’s attention differently. At my internship, I also developed “soft” skills, such as the importance of building relationships and listening to people first.
“If I could sum up the value or my work experience at McMaster, it would be to never fear trying something new!”
At McMaster, you worked on campus in the Student Success Centre and at the McMaster University Student Union’s “Get Cultured” program. What did you gain from these experiences?
Working on campus provided many learning opportunities. I gained much appreciation and respect for the professors, counselors and administrative workers on campus that supplied helpful advice and recommendations regarding networking and event planning.
Perhaps one of the most helpful lessons I learned was establishing goals on what I wanted to achieve out of the experiences I went through. Working at the Get Cultured program, I knew I wanted to create a website, a social media presence, a logo and a blog, which are the ingredients to creating a brand for any type of organization. At the Student Success Centre, I had a similar experience in my skills that I gained. There, I created the foundation for their social media presence.
Every lesson I learned from my work experience at McMaster seemed to have come from learning from a mistake or building on top of something else I’d done that was a success. If I could sum up the value of my work experience at McMaster, it would be to never fear trying something new!
What was the most important experience you gained at McMaster?
Treating my volunteer work at the “Get Cultured” Program and the Cossart Exchange as if it were work I got paid for is what propelled me into the communications career I have today. I disciplined myself to achieve a work ethic that people could count on me for. I don’t think there was one single experience that caused an epiphany. It is the experience that I accumulated over time that led me to where I am today.
Why did you choose McMaster?
I chose McMaster because of the school’s reputation, the community within the school, and the distance from Toronto—McMaster is not too far and not too close.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received in your life?
“Winners Never Quit and Quitters Never Win” (Vince Lombardi)
What advice do you have for McMaster students?
Get as much experience as you can now before you get into the real world.