The industry is always changing. With new trends, technologies, innovation and ideas, the industry isn’t the same as it was ten, five or even one year ago. This is why Eric Winkfield, a 2016 graduate, decided to pursue the Integrated Marketing Communications program at West Virginia University.
Eric, the vice president at M Booth and M Booth Health leading diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, came to the program with one thing in mind — being a storyteller. Finding the stories he was connected to and the ones he wanted to tell helped guide his career path toward his current position. It’s a first step he recommends to anyone trying to find themselves, their passion and a fulfilling career.
He also stresses the importance and power of a network to help guide you along your path. Networking helped get Eric to where he wanted to be and helped him in staying there, and it is a step that he stresses for people on their career journey.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions,” he said. “You’d be surprised just how open
and vulnerable people may be to give advice and even show you what they’re journey
was like to help figure out what your next steps are.”
In his journey toward becoming the storyteller he has always wanted to be, Eric found a few things along the way to enhance his ability to tell genuine stories. He found a connection to and passion for the stories he was telling. He discovered a network to help him through his journey by offering guidance or support. Most importantly, he discovered that in order to be able to tell a great story, he had to be an even better listener.
“Listening. That’s the most important skill that anybody can have in this industry,” Eric said. “Yes, we’re storytellers. Yes, we can message things. Yes, we can put on events. Yes, we can counsel, but the biggest and most important aspect that you need to be in this industry is the ability to listen. Listen to your audiences. Be clear on what they’re needing and what they’re asking for. Listening to your clients or your corporation to understand exactly what they’re trying to do. Be able to connect the dots.”
Listening. That’s the most important skill that anybody can have in this industry. Yes, we’re storytellers. Yes, we can message things... but the biggest and most important aspect that you need to be in this industry is the ability to listen. Listen to your audiences... Be able to connect the dots.”