Skip to main content

The Power of Connections

I joke about having low friends in high places (or high friends in low places) but a recent event brought home the power of keeping connected to people.

This semester I am teaching a Nonprofit Communication and Advertising class. It is part of our Journalism & Public Communication specialization and our Marketing & Advertising specialization. The class is only taught every other spring semester and students who have both specializations get to double-dip.

I last taught the class in Spring 2021, just as everyone was easing out of severe COVID restrictions. We couldn’t have all of the components, like site visits and guest lectures, that we normally do. This time, in Spring 2023, things are little easier. I have two CMMA alumni, who are working in the nonprofit arena, scheduled as guest lecturers. Any time I’ve asked alumni to talk with a class, the answer is always a resounding “yes”. That’s connection #1.

So, on February 13, Katie Wozniak ’19, stopped by my class to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of the nonprofit world. Katie works as a special events coordinator for the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, located on Chicago’s West Side. For the first time, in a while, my students actually paid attention, asked questions and seemed genuinely interested. Katie was enlightening, informative and wonderful. In her job before Mercy Home, Katie worked for a digital marketing firm in Naperville after Amber, another CMMA alum, left the job to get married and move to Florida. That’s connection #2.

After my class, Katie sent an email with her contact info, a job opening and some volunteer opportunities that she had talked about. Then came connection #3. Katie Wrote:

Lastly, I totally forgot to show you this photo – Isaiah DJ’d at our Mercy Day, which is our Employee Appreciation Day, on the Anita Dee! We were in need of a new DJ to liven up our event, so I reached out and the rest was history! Not to mention, everyone at Mercy LOVED DJ Spoiled Milk! Just reinforces my point of keeping your connections, especially with your fellow CMMA classmates! You never know!

Katie Wozniak CMMA '18 and Isaiah Williams '19 (aka DJ Spoiled Milk) aboard the Anita Dee party boat during Mercy Home's employee appreciation day
Katie Wozniak CMMA '18 and Isaiah Williams '19 (aka DJ Spoiled Milk) aboard the Anita Dee party boat during Mercy Home's employee appreciation day

Isaiah Williams ’18, works as a digital media coordinator for several IHeart Media radio stations in Chicago. Here at St. Francis, on WCSF, Isaiah was known as “DJ Spoiled Milk” in some obscure reference that only Isaiah and his WCSF partner-in-crime Christian Hoeger knew about. Apparently he still has his DJ chops going for him and he is now on Mercy Home’s shortlist for special event entertainers.

Such classic examples of the “power of connections” don’t come along that often. When they do, you’ve got to run with them because, as Katie says, “You never know.”

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.