Alumni Profile: A Thoughtful Interview with Alumna Maddy Shannon, Coordinator of SEFA and Subsequent Florida State University Grad Student

Interviewed by Jacob Graham-Bialer
Maddy Shannon is a SUNY New Paltz Strategic Communication graduate who has held numerous positions. She has been the cashier team leader at Bagels and Bites, front desk agent at Hasbrouck House, and Donor Development Intern and Coordinator at United Way of Dutchess and Orange counties. She hopes to earn a graduate degree in Integrated Marketing and Management Communications. Throughout her various occupations, Shannon has been a stalwart learner, and she excels in the field of communications—both written and verbal.

Below is an interview I had with Maddy Shannon.

Question: If you were to advise a strategic communication major who is a junior or senior what would you say?

Answer: “I would tell them to be diligent about pursuing what you want. Make as many connections as you possibly can in the time you have. Connect with your professors. Pursue internships and just ask questions while you have those resources still available.”

Question: I understand your internship led to a full-time job. What led to this?

Answer: “The main skills were being timely. Showing commitment (that I wanted to be there). Really volunteering to put in the work and understand the company. I was working on our company’s social media sites. The social media courses I took at New Paltz were extremely helpful at curating posts and tracking donor engagement. Showing up and showing you are curious and want to learn is the best skill you can have.”

Question: Can you tell me about your career at United Way?

Answer: “I was hired after my internship at United Way of the Dutchess-Orange region. I started as a donor development coordinator. That is, handling local campaigns. We cover Dutchess and Orange counties. We had 25 campaigns locally, which is talking to a representative of that organization. Finding ways to get representatives engaged with United Way. Doing donations, doing raffles. From there I got my first promotion to SEFA (State Employees Federated Appeal) coordinator. SEFA is an easy and comprehensive way for state organizations to give charitably. I am coordinator of the Hudson Valley outlet of that. There are over 60 organizations I track.”

Question: How important was networking for you?

Answer: The most important thing, without a doubt. Meeting people that want to pursue some more things even if they can’t offer you a job, they can offer you advice. I would say networking is one of the most important skills a strategic communications major can have.

Question: Did your P.R. coursework prepare you for what you are doing?

Answer: “Absolutely. Without a doubt. I still find myself going back to my notes and presentations I did in college. For advice but also just to put on LinkedIn but also to put on your resume. These projects really are very, very helpful.”

Maddy noted internships are available for those who want to work for United Way! To apply go to Scroll down to “Development Intern” click apply and follow the steps to send in your application.