Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program
Below is work completed as a Marketing Communications Coordinator at CVR Associates, Inc, where I am currently employed under the CHA HCV Program contract. I began this role as the only staff member under the supervision of the Marketing Communications Manager in the Marketing Communications department. After about a year, we added another Coordinator to our team. Functioning as a department of three staff members, we currently fulfill all written and visual communications for print and web use, as well as event planning and coordination, for the entire HCV Program population. This population includes 38,000+ Participants (tenants) and 14,000+ Property Owners/Managers (landlords) located throughout the Ciy of Chicago.
While at times my duties may differ from week to week, or even day to day, one of my primary responsibilities includes developing, managing, and enforcing the production calendar for the quarterly HCV newsletters, as well as creating visual and written content for both newsletters. Another primary responsibility in this role is developing and implementing a communications plan for the Owner-Tenant workshop series, as well as planning and coordinating the workshops from beginning to end.
Biggest Challenge(s) - Newsletters: When initially hired, I was tasked with writing the newsletter articles. Before my employment at CVR, I was more experienced with writing web content, so writing for print was definitely new to me. However, all writers must be prepared to adjust their tone, voice, and language based on the audience. Hence, I quickly adapted and eventually became the "owner" of the quarterly newsletters. Also, because we work for a government entity and distribute the newsletters to over 50,000 readers each quarter, the production process requires approval from chief staff members at CHA and CVR to ensure all information presented is clear, concise, and accurate. Being new to the HCV Program, I had to not only become familiar with the details and operations of various departments, but also develop confidence while doing so, all while holding myself and key staff, management, and the client to predetermined deadlines.
How I Overcame the Challenge(s) - Newsletters: In order to adapt my written and visual communication for the audiences, I made a point to get to know them. I read over the three guidebooks produced by our department and distributed to our audiences, I reached out to staff members in Owner Services and Tenant Services to learn the priorities and goals of tenants and landlords, and reached out to my manager to learn more about the difference in education and reading levels, and what has been done in the past. This process also helped me become familiar with HCV Program operations - if I am required to write about a topic that I am unfamiliar with, I research the guidebooks and reach out to appropriate staff members to obtain accurate information so that I can "translate" content into language that readers can more easily understand.
You can view recent issues of the quarterly HCV newsletters below:
- Going Places Q1 2015 (File taking too long to load? Open in new window)
- Owner News Q1 2015 (File taking too long to load? Open in new window)
- Going Places Q4 2014 (File taking too long to load? Open in new window)
- Owner News Q4 2014 (File taking too long to load? Open in new window)
- Going Places Q3 2014 (File taking too long to load? Open in new window)
- Owner News Q3 2014 (File taking too long to load? Open in new window)
Biggest Challenge(s) - Workshops: Prior to employment at CVR, I had very little experience in planning and coordinating events. After about four months from hire, my manager switched this responsibility over to me. For the first time in my career, I was in charge of an ongoing event series and would soon learn and implement the entire event planning process from beginning to end, all while still becoming familiar with a new industry and audiences.
How I Overcame the Challenge(s) - Workshops: With the help of my manager, I developed a to-do list for planning and coordinating the workshops - drafting invitation letters and emails, researching and confirming topics, booking speakers and venues, developing the workshop schedule, updating and mailing the invitations, confirming staff for attendee resolution, and monitoring registration. I consider myself a highly organized person, and this quality definitely helps me to accomplish each step of the event planning process. During each workshop session, I act as the supervisor for event-day operations by delegating tasks and articulating expectations to staff members from other departments, while monitoring attendee sign-in and distributing agendas and surveys. Once each topic/segment is complete, I synthesize survey and attendance data to develop an analysis report, which serves to identify the success of communication methods and learn what topics with which the audiences need or want more training.
You can view workshop-related materials I created for internal use below:
- 2015 Owner-Tenant Workshop Series Communications Plan (File taking too long to load? Open in new window)
- 2015 Owner-Tenant Workshop Series Workshop Schedule (File taking too long to load? Open in new window)
- 2014 Owner-Tenant Workshop Series Synopsis & Analysis Report (File taking too long to load? Open in new window)
You can view workshop-related materials I created for external use below:
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The Legal Balance
Below is work completed as a Web Communications Intern at The Legal Balance during Summer 2012. While I was initially hired to be a Web Developer intern, I ended up assuming the responsibilities of the Marketing intern, who was not available to start until July due to a medical emergency. One of these projects was compiling and designing the monthly e-newsletter according to the Founder/CEO's communications goals for that issue.
During this fast-paced and iterative process, I was required to design third-party advertisements to insert into the issue. This process included contacting the third-party advertisers and business owners to discuss logistics, gathering logos, images, and text for the advertisements, and combining elements to produce an advertisements with specific dimensions that were compatible with the templates on MailChimp.
Biggest Challenge(s): Because each newsletter had a strict deadline, I was required to gather materials, contact third-party advertisers, create the advertisements, in addition to inserting designated content into appropriate columns and sections within what seemed like a short amount of time - not to mention working on issues with the website.
How I Overcame the Challenge(s): I did what I do best - I took one step at a time. While the Founder/CEO went over the current state of the e-newsletter, I worked on perfecting the advertisements, since I had become confident in finishing them more quickly. After the Founder/CEO requested her changes, I implemented them one by one. If I anticipated myself running out of time, I would stay past my designated internship hours in order to complete the issue and meet the deadline.
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The freelance Market Copywriter position with L2TMedia was my first non-internship, paid position I acquired about a month after graduating from college. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to utilize my English degree as a professional, in addition to learning how the digital environment shapes how web users absorb information, and how companies can adjust their marketing efforts to meet this evolution.
Biggest Challenge(s): As a freelance writer, I was assigned multiple clients per month, each of which were entitled to four blog posts per month. The biggest challenge was finding new ways to write about similar topics, multiple times per month, while following many SEO guidelines, which were often different for each brand.
How I Overcame the Challenge(s): I did my best to search for only positive news about each brand - if I could not find anything new, I would often search for "Top 10" lists or "How To" lists to find new content to write about and then apply to the brand.
You can view writing samples from this position below:
- Buerge Ford Blog Sample (File taking too long to load? Open in new window)
- Fields FIAT of Highland Park Blog Sample (File taking too long to load? Open in new window)
- Mike Miller Kia Blog Sample (File taking too long to load? Open in new window)
- Classic Toyota Webpage Sample (File taking too long to load? Open in new window)
ARS Business Solutions, LLC
Below are samples of B2B (business-to-business) writing as a Marketing Assistant for ARS Business Solutions, LLC. The company wanted to hop on the internet marketing bandwagon, and I was hired to implement the initiative.
Biggest Challenge(s): When I was hired as the first Marketing Assistant for the company, I had never written for B2B purposes before, nor for the software development industry. I knew that I had to broaden my skill set to be successful in this position.
How I Overcame the Challenge(s): As any good writer should be able to, I learned how to properly adjust my writing skills according to the audience and the subject matter. I thoroughly researched each topic that was assigned to me, as well as looking up blogs and articles that shared information about writing and marketing for B2B purposes.
You can view writing samples from this position below: