Alumni Spotlight

Proud to be featured alongside one of my closest friends, and co-creators of One Brick Shy by our Alma Mater, Webster University. [reader version below. Full link: here.]

CeCe O’Neill, ‘15
B.A. in Scriptwriting with a PR minor

Why did you choose Webster?
I liked the idea that there were international campuses I could access within the University to travel and study abroad, all from the cozy home base in Webster Groves. It was also just far enough away from ‘home’ at the time (Nebraska).

Favorite memory from Webster:
There are too many! I remember introducing myself to my first scriptwriting class freshman year & thinking “well I tanked that, they’re all far more artsy than I am.” Then to directly contrast that memory, a year later I was getting up in front of my classes to pitch scripts and outlines that had the full support of my fellow students and professors. Electrifying to create something out of nothing and have your peers love it.

Professional Career Path:
It all started on the internet. My favorite place. LinkedIn to be exact. I was in a professional development class for PR with Debra Carpenter and we were going over the intricacies of being professionally presented online. Within a day of creating my LinkedIn profile, adding my resume, and a personal bio, I had inMail waiting for coffee meetings and interviews around town. I attended each one, shook hands, got biz cards, and followed up. I accepted what was basically a data entry social media position with a one-woman startup working out of Bigwidesky’s office in Clayton, and began working part-time during my junior year. That owner decided to sell a few months later as she became a full time mom, but the startup she planned to divert existing client work to agreed to meet with me, and to possibly keep me on. I met with John Bracamontes of Acumen Studio and we both agreed it would be a great fit! I was also working part-time at Apple in West County as a specialist and sales person, so I was a full-time student with two part-time jobs, and a whole lot of motivation! After graduation, I stayed in STL and worked for about a year before I moved to Lincoln, Nebraska to be closer to family and to fall in love with my now-fiancé. I maintained freelance hours and a friendly relationship with Acumen Studios after the move, but eventually took up a full-time Content Writer position for Assurity Life Insurance Company. (I learned a lot at this job, but let’s just say it was a dark, two-year blur.) I was terribly unhappy; so I quit. Not exactly my most conventional move, but I hit the ground running and again I had another job waiting for me within the week. Back to startup-land, Oh Hello, was about as nimble as they could be when I joined; three co-founders and myself. We all worked our assess off to create killer branding, messaging, strategy and content for professional athletes, consumer products, fashion, travel, and more. 11 months was enough to burn me out, but it also overlapped with another move- back to St. Louis! I landed a job with MarketPlace as a writer for products and companies in food, pet and wellness industries. At about my 6-month mark, I was approached by a recruiter on behalf of FleishmanHillard and knew it would be an opportunity that would be hard to turn down. Work at FH was fast paced and cutthroat- kinda my style- but seeing as I was a freshly hired contract position, I was unfortunately also one of the first rounds of COVID-CUTS. So here we are! Behind the scenes I’ve been running the social media and all outreach, partnership, and distribution strategy for One Brick Shy. We’ve been working on this show since 2018, and it finally started to come to life!

How did Webster University prepare you for your professional career?
Aside from all of the obvious life skills learned, cultural exposure and knowledgeable interactions… It felt like Webster pushed me to think of more than just what I was there to get my degree for. I wasn’t in any business classes or biology classes, but I hope those students also learned how to critically communicate with one another and solve problems that may lie outside of their initial scope.

Words of advice to students:
If your ideal job doesn’t exist. Find a way to create it. Recognize value and invest in it. There’s only up when you start at the bottom.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s