The Weber Shandwick Connection
“You will be searched,” warns Springer Harris ‘10 in giving advice to students looking to gain entry into the burgeoning world of social media and online communications. Shortly after graduation, Springer, a former business management major, landed a position as an Account Coordinator at Weber Shandwick, one of the leading public relations agencies in the world.
Springer is referring, of course, to the importance companies now place on social media sites and how students looking to enter the PR and communications industry can use online media to their advantage. “New graduates are social media natives. We grew up with it and are natural at it,” Springer notes, so companies like Weber Shandwick conduct online searches to see what potential hires are already doing online, such as tweeting and blogging.
Knowledge of online communities is important to Springer’s position in the company’s Office of Digital Communications. This office works with a number of Fortune 100 and 500 firms and manages a variety of the clients’ online needs, such as running Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, blogs and micro-sites. In his position, Springer has the opportunity to work across a variety of these accounts. “Companies don’t just have a space online, they need someone to manage it,” says Springer. “With Facebook and other trends changing daily, we can recommend what a client needs.”
As an undergraduate, Springer served as Vice President of Kappa Alpha Fraternity, captain of the crew team, and treasurer of Sigma Beta Delta while pursuing his business studies. Based on his academic performance and leadership skills, his business professors recommended Springer to Kevin O’Keefe, the 1974 Washington College graduate who now serves as President of Weber Shandwick’s Baltimore office. O’Keefe, a former College Trustee, had contacted the school in search of a good candidate for the position. Springer had searched for a position in advertising, but O’Keefe’s relationship with the school opened up an unexpected and very exciting opportunity for him.
“I don’t know where I’d be without Washington College,” says Springer. “The lessons I learned inside and outside the classroom helped me get where I am now. And the business program, especially the senior thesis project, was great preparation for life in the workplace.”
— Lauren Lawson ‘11