Climbing the ladder of real-life success

Cindy Rays // Contributing Writer

For those of us in our junior and senior years, entering the “real world” can be a scary thing. Even with a worlds ahead education there is no guarantee we will land that dream job and start a triumphant career.

The Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center invited back three alumni who are successful in their respected fields of journalism, advertisement and public relations to share with current students how they thrived after graduating.

They spoke about their careers, how they got there and gave insights about how their education was the base that took them where they wanted to go.

Joelle Parra, communications and social media manager of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation started her career with dreams of becoming a reporter.

For three years she worked for Channel 7 and made her way up to the associate editor position. “What happens when you get that dream job but you decide you want to try something different?” Parra wanted to make a move to public relations.

“There are three needs you need to do,” she said, “One: be open-minded. Two: learn to create opportunities for yourself and three: never stop learning.”

One thing that Parra stressed is that there is no linear path. You might have to go out and start in an unexpected position, but as long as it is in your field, any skill you gain will be beneficial in the future.

Barbara Corbellini Duarte of the Sun Sentinel says she wouldn’t have gotten her job if it wasn’t for Professor Pinto. “Your connections are everything” Duarte said.

She advises students to look for an internship. In the real world, showing you have a 4.0 GPA will not get you a job. Employers need to see what you can do.

Have a personal blog, learn how to write well, create a portfolio, brand yourself and most importantly have a positive attitude. “Before you go into the job search, take time to really get to learn about yourself and what makes you happy.”

Lily Saviñon, founder and creative director of LD Creative, graduated in spring 2010. A short month after she was already working as a bilingual copywriter.

After working for one year, she decided to go to Boston University to pursue her masters in advertising. She came back to Miami looking for a job and applied for what she thought was “the longest shot ever,” creative and marketing director of the luxury real estate company The Jills.

“You’ll never know if you don’t apply” Saviñon said. It was working at The Jills where she discovered that her passion was being creative. Two and a half years ago she founded LD Creative.

“Knowledge is never going to go to waste,” says Saviñon on majoring in public relations but ending up in advertising. Saviñon also runs the student-driven Bold Agency at FIU.

Parra invites students to “hire themselves.” For example, this includes reach out to small businesses in the community who don’t have the means or knowledge to brand their company. “Create their social media profiles, help them get the word out about their products.” This will not only be beneficial for the business, but it will give students something they can put in their resumes and portfolios.

For more information on the Leadership Seminar series contact Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at or stop by BBC Academic II | Room 251.


All Photos By: Cindy Rays

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