By Daphne Martin of the Cowbucker account team.

When Kelsey Fuson graduated from the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication almost two-and-a-half years ago, she looked forward to returning home to Portland and begin networking her way into an advertising-related job position. As most college graduates can relate, Fuson was nervous about entering the next chapter in her professional life. However, she knew the skills she developed during her time in the SOJC would reassure her confidence and help pave the way for the future. 

I held an informative interview with Fuson, who is now the Marketing Manager for BurnCycle PDX, a spin studio located in Northwest Portland. Looking back on her experience as an SOJC student, Fuson shared insight on the significant experience she gained in the SOJC, the value of teamwork and tips for exploring the health and fitness industry.

Fuson’s journey through the health and fitness industry started out as a part-time front desk position at BurnCycle while she looked for full-time agency work. She explained that her promotion was a “right place at the right time” scenario situation, since the owner came across her resume and noticed substantial social media and marketing experience through extracurriculars and internships.  

“I quickly learned that the more willing you are to take on projects of any nature, the more respect you’ll earn from the entire company.” Fuson continues, “Taking on projects both big and small allowed me to learn the nature of the business quickly while also earning the trust and respect from every team member.” 

When it comes to interviewing in the health and fitness industry, Fuson emphasized the importance of “owning your confidence” and preparing thoroughly by doing research on the company beforehand. She suggests preparing a few one-liners or sentences that one knows to be true in describing strengths, past experiences, or why they would be a strong fit for the position. “Having something to fall back on when nerves strike is really helpful in keeping confidence levels up throughout the process.” She continues, “Preparedness is really easy to quickly identify. You don’t want to be caught off guard when you’re talking about yourself and your work experience.”

From analyzing BurnCycle PDX’s paid media strategies, to projecting numbers for the following quarter, to directing a 500+ person pop up workout event, Fuson loves her ability to come to work every day with a variety of different creative tasks. She works with a small team of six full-time employees, which reminds her of the days spent in Allen Hall working on group projects. 

“As funny as it may sound, my favorite and most lasting memories are the late night jam-sessions with classmates on assignments we had put off for too long.” She continues, “It may sound a little backward to look back on commiseration fondly, but I learned some of the most applicable skills and lessons in these collaborative situations and they have most definitely applied to my real life work.”

The ability to be willingly capable of taking on several projects with an optimistic attitude is a significant key to success in small businesses. One lesson Fuson learned later on in her career was how her experiences in the SOJC created a foundation of knowledge suitable for a variety of industries, jobs, and workplace environments. Her ability to build the BurnCycle PDX brand and business from the ground up set her up with an incredible unique set of skills, which separated her from her peers with a similar amount of work experience. “It really allowed me to dive into what I’m passionate about when it comes to my career.”

Fuson has made her presence count with BurnCycle PDX’s brand success, and she only hopes to continue expanding her knowledge by fueling her drive to build and tell brand stories in a non-traditional way. As for what’s next, her plans are open-ended and optimistic. She sees herself moving toward agencies which work for multiple clients, or going into business development in a consulting agency to help brands define the culture of their company. “As long as I’m doing something that challenges me every single day and aligns with my passions,” Fuson says, “I know I’d be very happy in a variety of different roles.”


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