Meet Laura Sterenberg ’15, a recent grad who is using her Strategic Communication degree to work toward enriching and progressing communication at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids.
Q: What have you learned and accomplished as a marketer in the healthcare field?
A: As a Communication Specialist at Spectrum Health in the System Communication & Marketing department, part of my job is working with the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and part is with the provider marketing team. I do something different and meet someone new every day. I’m a liaison between clients in the hospital and outside sources. We do a lot of things with design firms, production firms, and paid media. When we do a segment on the news, I work with the doctor to create talking points as a rough outline of what the conversation with the interviewer will be about. I do a lot of social media. We have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Our audience is usually very responsive and we’ve seen significant growth of followers, especially with our Instagram. The job is unpredictable and I’m learning something every single day.
Q: How has a Calvin CAS degree proved valuable in your post-grad career?
A: Interpersonal Communication and Group Communication have been two of the classes that I think about the most. You can learn theory and specifics, but if you’re not also learning how to effectively communicate with people within groups and person to person, you won’t be successful. We have to be actively listening and responding to people. Another thing that has been important to me is learning from other generations. Those classes made me very aware of the fact that different generations communicate differently and that it’s important to better understand them so that they can better understand me. In marketing, you must know how to best communicate with an audience based on age, demographic, what they do and where they live. Critical knowledge of how to meet our audience where they are and have a conversation makes me a better marketer, communicator, co-worker and friend.
Q: What other experiences as a Calvin student developed your communication skills?
A: Something that I gleaned the most from was orientation. I did something with orientation all four years at Calvin, but I learned that each year is different from the next. I had the realization that no two people or groups of people are the same or will respond in the same way. We need to make our approaches to communication malleable, so that they’re not so fixed with the assumption that a response will be the same from group to group. Communication has to be vibrant and changing all the time.