Read the latest and greatest from Kaeisha O’Neal!
When did you attend U.Va.? What did you study?
I attended UVA from ’99-’03 and graduated with a double major in Economics and Studies of Women and Gender.
What work did you do with the Women’s Center?
I was introduced to the Women’s Center by way of the work-study program. For all four years I held a variety of support roles, from front desk to marketing assignments for Iris Magazine. This introduction to the Women’s Center led me to join the Young Women’s Leadership Program (YWLP) as a big sister and eventually a facilitator for three and half years. As well as joining the Iris magazine staff through the internship program as a contributor and marketing team member.
What are you doing now?
Being a digital maven. I work with digital media companies to manage account services teams. As a group we handle the lifecycle of our clients’ campaigns, everything from conceptualizing/media planning to overseeing the day-to-day activities to ensure goals are achieved. It’s never a dull day in this industry, there’s always something to learn. Perfect for my futuristic and curious minded self.
What was your very first job and what’s something you learned from it?
My first job was at a large top-ranked PR agency and it was my dream job at the time. Looking back what I learned was how to be a better business writer; being comfortable asking questions and not assuming and lastly some of the best ideas (award winning) can come from the most junior person on the team (hi-fiving myself).
What’s something you learned in school/college that turned out to be useful later, in some way you didn’t expect?
The combination of being a senior RA and the high level of cultural awareness provided as a SWAG major further my empathetic skills that added to me being a good manager. Most companies don’t train you to be an effective manager but the seeds were planted for me at UVA through such experiences. Especially as a SWAG major I learned there is more to every story, whether you agree with it or not. So to be open-minded in that way was extremely helpful in my professional growth.
What was your favorite memory from working with the Women’s Center?
Meeting women of all ages and experiences in a safe and supportive environment. And of course the holiday gatherings that Sharon Davie would host at her home bringing everyone together.
What do you miss most about Charlottesville?
Cleanliness, community and fresh air.
Looking back, what advice would you give your former, intern-self?
Kaeisha, you have all the tools you need at your fingertips and you are already wired to do great things. Don’t hesitate to be even more daring. No, not everyone is going to get your thought process but that’s ok. You survived being an only child all these years; standing on your own stage should be a breeze.