Chelsie Pope is the Multimedia Communications Associate at Venture Philanthropy Partners in Washington, DC. Chelsie is a Cause Consultant and recently served as the Class Coordinator for our Cause Consulting class. Chelsie graduated from Georgetown University’s MPS in Public Relations & Corporate Communications in 2015.
Center for Social Impact Communication: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Chelsie! To start, describe your career path and your current position.
Chelsie Pope: My career path has been a winding road, but I always knew I wanted to work in communications. As an undergraduate student, I majored in Public Relations and minored in Fashion Merchandising. I thought I could combine my love for fashion and PR to have my dream career. After a couple of years looking for work in the field, to no avail, I decided that I should look into grad school to stay abreast of the practice of communications. That is what brought me to the Public Relations and Corporate Communications program at Georgetown. I also had the wonderful opportunity to work for the program in a Program Assistant role. It was while I was in the program and working for the program that I discovered a knack for graphic design. Additionally, I wanted to make in impact in my work and became heavily involved with the Center. Now, I am in a position with Venture Philanthropy Partners that combines all of my interests. Working with this organization is confirmation everyday that my career has come full circle, and I have made the right decisions.
The Center: We love those success stories. What is your best piece of career advice for other Georgetown students?
CP: My best piece of career advice is to be to never give up. There have been many times when I felt that I would never break into my career. There have been many times where I doubted if I even had the talent, but if I would have given up on my dream career, I would not be where I am today. It is okay to let yourself have those feelings of doubt or failure, but to be successful, you have to push through those feelings, keep moving, and never give up.
The Center: What accomplishment – it could be in a career, school, or volunteer capacity – are you most proud of and why?
CP: I think that my proudest moment thus far was when I graduated from Georgetown. It was a long journey to get there, and it was so fulfilling to have my friends and family there to witness the moment when I walked across the stage. They have been some of the biggest supporters of me and my career path.
The Center: What can someone be doing now to secure a position similar to yours?
CP: I think that it is always a good idea to talk, talk, talk. Find a mentor to talk to about your interests. There are also always people who work in your area of interest who would be willing to give advice. I believe that you can learn a lot from school and experience, but you can also learn a lot from other people. I also think that finding the time to practice and learn more about your craft is important.
The Center: You completed our Cause Consulting course in Fall 2014 (and you were recently involved with the course as the class coordinator); what was the most useful skill you learned in that class?
CP: The most useful skill that I learned in Cause Consulting was how to unearth a client’s true needs by asking the right questions. Many clients seek out consultants to support and guide them through a challenge. Some clients have a clear understanding of the challenge. Some only know that a challenge exists and they need support in addressing what the challenge is. Either way, the role of the consultant is to take an unbiased approach to discovering the client’s true need.
This is a skill that I realize I use everyday.
The Center: What is your go to source to learn about cause communication trends?
CP: A source that I often refer to is the Chronicle of Philanthropy. This is a good source that is not only a great source for communications, but it’s also great to get a broad scope of the “cause” or philanthropy field.
The Center: What advice do you have for students in Georgetown’s Division of Professional Communications who are job hunting?
CP: My advice is to take a strategic approach to job hunting, just as you would do in a communications role. It’s great practice for when you secure your dream job. Develop a plan with a goal, and map out what you are going to on each day to reach that goal. It could be submitting online applications, conducting informational interviews, volunteering, reaching out to someone in your network, etc. Write down your plan and stick to it.
The Center: A huge thank you to you, Chelsie, for taking time out of your busy day to share your insights with our students! We can’t wait to see what else your future holds.