Half a decade ago, I walked across the stage at Frost Arena on the campus of South Dakota State University with a diploma in hand and my professional career ahead of me. At the time, my dream job was designing on an in-house marketing team for large corporations like universities, health care systems, hotel chains, etc.
A few months later, I found myself packing my bags and heading to Rapid City, South Dakota for my first “big kid” job as a Graphic Designer at National American University. Little did I know, the next 5+ years of hard work, quick deadlines, and creative thinking would help me grow into the professional (and person) I am today. Here’s what I would say to them now:
Dear National American University (NAU),
I’m so very thankful that you were my first job out of college! As the lone graphic designer on the marketing team for your 20+ campuses across the United States, you allowed me to grow and gain experience so quickly. During my time with you, I created everything from brochures to billboards and even a 30-second video displayed on an 8-story video board in Times Square. Thank you, NAU, for trusting me with all projects (big and small) and for teaching me independence, responsibility, and leadership along the way.
In the summer of 2018, I found myself traveling with a jam-packed U-Haul back to the eastern side of South Dakota to start a new job at POET, the largest biofuels company in the world. Little did I know, the next 3 years would bring a learning curve and challenges that would bring so much growth.
As I wrap up my third and final year with you, I can’t help but reflect on how much I’ve learned since starting. I came in knowing the ins and outs of graphic design and left with years of experience and knowledge in social media management, digital advertising, and internal communications. When I didn’t know something, you pushed me to expand my understanding through online courses, continuing education, and visits from external companies. And as soon as I felt comfortable in one role or area, you challenged me with opportunities to learn more and gain experience in others. From a role in digital media to a promotion to an internal communications role, you guided me to reach my potential in this growing industry and company. I leave this week feeling experienced and confident! Thank you for your contribution to that.
On August 13th, I left an 8-5 job for the last time (for the foreseeable future) feeling beyond thankful for the experience, education, and numerous friendships I've built with fellow colleagues along the way. After hundreds of weeknight and weekend hours committed to my “side hustle”, I’m so proud to announce that owner (along with CEO, founder, graphic designer, social media manager, the list goes on) of Kendra Cersosimo Creative will officially be my full-time position starting October 1st! I’m beyond excited to start this new chapter with Kendra Cersosimo Creative, and I’m so incredibly thankful to NAU and POET for years of growth and experience that will help guide me along the way.