The comfort zone

Today I wanted to talk a little about professional development and how important it is for people to continue to grow in their career. I have been very lucky. Next week happens to be my 20th anniversary with NC State — well, besides from my brief encounter with UNC-Chapel Hill, which lasted about a year and a half.

I remember pulling onto campus 20 years ago and asking for directions to the human resources office. You couldn’t submit your application online back then; had to hand-carry it or trust the post office.

If all goes as planned, I will also receive my Web Developer Certification next week. I submitted my Capstone project today. Took a few months to get it all finished, but it looks pretty good now– this website is actually my final project–and since you are reading my blog, it must be working. Let me know what you think about it at

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to further my knowledge of Web design. For years I had a basic understanding of web design from training that I completed in 2002, but if I needed to change something or heaven forbid, make it ADA compliant, I was lost. Web design has changed a great deal in the past ten years, and my focus gradually drifted away in favor of a career in marketing.

Last summer, I began to realize that my career needed a jolt of energy. I was the marketing manager for the NC State Bookstores, and while I loved my job, I felt like I had given it all I had to offer over the past ten years and was losing steam. That wasn’t me. I got to this point in my career because I have always been passionate about my work and driven by results. My director made a comment that I really took seriously. It wasn’t aimed at me, but the message was clear. “If you were given a wheel barrel, would you rather get in and ride, or go behind and push?” I didn’t want to become a rider.

So last year, my manager, Jennifer Gilmore, convinced that the marketing office needed a full-time web person, created a brand new position. In order to qualify for the job, I’d need to refresh my skills. Thankfully, the opportunity was presented to register for the university’s webmaster certification training, so I grabbed it! What it meant though, was letting go of my comfort zone.

We have a new bookstore marketing manager — Alex Barnett — and he’s brought renewed energy to marketing the bookstore. And knowing the bookstore is in good hands frees me up to do new things.  I am excited about telling Campus Enterprises’ story through its websites and digital presence. Stay tuned for more! I’ve only gotten started.