Networking for Discovery
Claire Conway graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2009 and is currently working as a TV Ad Sales Assistant at Discovery Communications in the heart of downtown Chicago. Conway, 26, double majored in Spanish and International Studies while attending Loyola. She was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska and has lived in Chicago since coming to Loyola as a freshman.
Compass: For someone who was attending a new school in an unfamiliar city, was it ever difficult for you to meet new people?
Claire Conway: That was my biggest fear before arriving on campus, but I found out quickly that meeting new people was going to be the least of my worries. There was always something so comforting and humbling about having so many familiar faces on campus, whether those were friends, classmates, professors or staff at the university. I was also on the club soccer team all four years. Through that, living in Creighton Hall my freshman and sophomore years and taking new classes each semester, I felt as if I knew almost everyone.
Compass: What is one of your fondest memories at Loyola?
CC: Well there are many, but one that pops out was finals week my freshman year. I just remember being so stressed out. A student invited me to Finals Breakfast and when I walked in I was amazed. I had not heard of many universities where the entire student body is served a Finals Breakfast by faculty and staff volunteers. It’s pretty amazing.
Compass: Did you ever have desires pursuing a job in the communication field growing up?
CC: I never had dreams of being in Ad Sales as a kid. I feel like as you grow and explore in your career; that is how you start discovering what is really out there. We often times don’t think about how things come to be, like television commercials in my case. I had been interning at an event planning company in the city and through a friend got introduced to Discovery and the opportunities that were available. I knew I wanted to be in sales in some form. After hearing the job requirements and comparing my skills set to those requirements, I knew it was something I could get into.
Compass: Coming from Omaha, was Loyola a good stepping stone for you as far as being able to transition to your job downtown without being too overwhelmed?
CC: Coming from Omaha, Loyola and the city of Chicago were a huge transition for me overall. Having a variety of internship experiences at Loyola while in undergrad definitely helped me and really allowed me to make a smooth transition into the business world. I think the internship opportunities that the city pose are amazing and I’m incredibly grateful I had those opportunities and took advantage of them. Transitioning from the student life into the working world wasn’t necessarily overwhelming, although you’re not in class or seeing as much of your friends, it just seems to be the natural progression–everyone is trying to do the same thing as you are and that is make a name for yourself in the working world, it’s all very exciting.
Compass: Are you still close friends with people that you attended Loyola with?
CC: I am still close with my friends from Loyola–thankfully there are a good number of us that are still in the city. Although we don’t get to see each other much because of work, it’s always nice to catch up. A group of us actually went to a LUC basketball game this year. I was shocked at how much the campus has changed in such a short amount of time.
Compass: If you could give a piece of advice to current Loyola students what would it be?
CC: I would advise current Loyola students to really take advantage of the resources that Loyola has to offer. Get started on your networking skills and start talking to people around you–friends, classmates, professors, career services, etc. Continue to be involved and put yourself out there, you never know when a casual conversation with someone is going to open you up to a world of opportunity.