Home > finals > Marketing Coordinator Stephanie Onken says ‘to stop learning and get comfortable with where you’re at means you’re officially out of date’

Marketing Coordinator Stephanie Onken says ‘to stop learning and get comfortable with where you’re at means you’re officially out of date’

By Jenna Brende
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Stephanie Onken, marketing coordinator for The Hayzlett Group and TallGrass Public Relations

Stephanie Onken, marketing coordinator for The Hayzlett Group and TallGrass Public Relations

Stephanie Onken attended the University of Minnesota-Crookston, originally to study agriculture.  After quickly realizing science wasn’t for her, she switched to communications and business management with a minor in marketing.

After a stint as director of communications at Tiger Rock Martial Arts in Sioux City, Iowa,  TallGrass Public Relations and The Hayzlett Group in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, hired her.

“My life changed in that I needed to move and needed a change in scenery,” Onken said in an interview.

Originally, Onken’s position at TallGrass Public Relations and The Hayzlett Group was executive assistant, but the company quickly realized that her skills in marketing, social media, managing and communications were not being used.

She was promptly promoted to marketing coordinator.

A normal day for Onken begins with opening Hootsuite, a social media management tool, and checking for engagements with the accounts she manages. While juggling these accounts, she also assists Jeffrey Hayzlett, the owner of The Hayzlett Group, chairman of TallGrass Public Relations, and co-founder of the C-Suite Network.

“I’m looking to see if there is anybody we need to respond to or if there are any minor crises or fires to put out,” Onken said. “It’s a really great tool that we use to manage all of our social media accounts.”

And Onken definitely has her hands full: She manages accounts for Jeffrey Hayzlett, TallGrass Public Relations, The Hayzlett Group, C-Suite Book Club, C-Suite TV, and she assists with the C-Suite Network.

Managing and planning these accounts becomes easier with Onken’s “nifty little planner.” She defines strategic objectives with her clients. Her planner helps her to stay on task and ensures she is not missing anything. It’s a great way for Onken and her clients to have a high-level plan that they can fill in themselves and she can help manage as well.

When Onken attended college, social media was just something nice to have a presence on – it wasn’t a necessity. On the job, Onken has learned that it is important to be where your audience is, and sometimes trying to get businesses and C-Suite leaders to understand that proves to be difficult.

“It’s kind of a challenge, but it’s a fun challenge,” Onken said. “And so college was great — I absolutely loved it and learned so much from it, but all the things I’m doing at work I completely learned on the job.”

A quick glance at Onken’s Twitter profile proves her love for her job: @StephanieOnken. She expands her knowledge of social media by listening to podcasts and attending conferences.

“Jeffrey has been great about it too,” Onken said. He understands how important it is for personal and business purposes. “Having him as a mentor, learning these things, has been invaluable.”

Onken uses editing skills in her work with Hayzlett. He often gets requests to write forewords for books or to do Q&A interviews. Onken edits these pieces to match his brand.

“The way he writes and speaks is very unconventional compared to other professionals,” Onken said. “It’s a lot more fun and relaxed versus what might be read in a press release for a major corporation that is stuffy and impersonal.”

To get an idea of Onken’s work, check out Jeffrey Hayzlett’s Facebook page or C-Suite TV. Onken does not write things for Hayzlett herself, but edits and co-writes to make sure the writing matches the brands.

Learning skills on the job has been vital for Onken’s career. She has welcomed each challenge. And she’s constantly learning new media tools.

For example, C-Suite TV was created for busy executives who do not have time to sit and watch content they want to watch on television. Instead, they can watch an episode of “Mind Your Own Business” or “C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett” on any device.

“That’s one of the ways that we realized that content is being consumed so much in such different ways that there are folks trying to figure out the next best way to do that,” Onken said.

Over the Top Television, C-Suite, and podcasting are all great ways to view how content is changing for viewers.

Onken’s advice for students is to never stop being hungry.

“Never stop being hungry for knowledge, for advancing yourself, for advancing your career, learning more about your craft and trade,” she said, “because we work in such a digital age that to stop learning and get comfortable with where you’re at means to give up.

“But to stop being hungry and to get comfortable with where you’re at means you’re officially out of date.”

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