Career Coaching through Ketchum Mindfire

When Dr. Brenda Wrigley, Chair of the Public Relations department at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School, sent out an e-mail asking students to join Ketchum’s Mindfire crowdsourcing community, I leaped at the chance. Fast-forward seven months, and Mindfire has become an integral part of my life by providing experience with real clients through a world-renowned agency.

Mindfire’s various creative challenges help flex my creative muscles. The contributions of the global community open my mind to new schools of thought and the rewards — charitable donations, exclusive seminars and the potential of having my ideas used — keep me coming back for more.

On Mindfire, I leverage my creativity, research skills and prior knowledge to contribute my ideas to a host of challenges. My favorite challenge, the Sensual Shower Gel Challenge, allowed me to employ the above traits AND my location.

The challenge’s target audience was young adult females in China and this past semester I lived in Beijing. One of my primary reasons for studying abroad in China was to research the growing consumer market. During my six months there, I completed three research projects on different aspects of consumerism in China, so the Sensual Shower Gel Challenge was timely. 

One of Mindfire’s top incentives is the ability to connect with a Ketchum partner or executive for career coaching. Recently, I visited the director of Ketchum South, Hilary McKean, a busy woman who had also just returned from a trip abroad. I went into our session with a variety of questions, hoping to receive guidance for my post-graduation plans. I walked away with a renewed sense of direction and new life goals. Ms. McKean was candidly honest and, as a person who communicates the same way, I could not have asked for more. Our time together was insightful, inspiring and, in many ways, humbling.

I appreciate all of Ms. McKean’s advice, especially a message that I had heard before, but put out of mind: don’t be afraid to take risks. Before, I was willing to forgo my smaller goals, fearing they would deter me from reaching my ultimate goal. After talking with Ms. McKean, I realize that each person’s path to success is unique; by taking risks, I can pave my own road instead of letting one be paved for me.

I look forward to continuing to contribute to Mindfire and remaining in touch with Ms. McKean.