Through Communication internships and courses, Christina Pagliero ('10) developed broad expertise in branding and information science. She attributes her diverse and flexible professional experiences to her training in Communication.
Christina Pagliero is currently a Product Manager at XO Group and a Product Management Instructor Associate at General Assembly in New York. At XO Group, she helps couples search and discover wedding professionals to pull off their perfect wedding on the TheKnot.com. She is continuing to learn computer programming and exploring grad school in Information Experience Design. She graduated from the University of Illinois in 2010 as a Communications Major and Double Minor in Spanish and English.
She loves adventures, design, being outside in Brooklyn, yoga, Seinfeld, and all things Chicago!
How did your education in the Communication department at UIUC help in the professional realm? Were there any classes/RSO's you participated in that you have found to be the most beneficial post-college?
Several electives offered through the Communication Department tied directly to the work I've been doing throughout my career. As a general science elective, I took an Intro To Engineering for Non Engineers with Professor Christopher Schmitz which was all about learning introductory engineering principles and communicating with engineers for non-engineering majors. I took a Campaigning To Win elective with Professor Scott Althaus for Political Science and Communications majors. My take away was the importance of competitive communication strategies in politics. To this day, I email him every presidential election to say thank you. During my senior year, I came across a flyer at That's Rentertainment on John Street for an on-campus Coke Zero internship. I applied and got the internship. I was able to apply my second semester internship as credits to an elective - CMN 309. Professor Inger Stole was my advisor and I met with her throughout the semester to apply my learnings on the job. Being able to use a real job experience with guidance from a professor with subject matter expertise was invaluable. At the time, a friend on campus led Illini Public Relations Association. We took a day trip during the year to different PR agency offices in downtown Chicago and got to brainstorm a few brand projects during the year.
Secondly, what have you learned from working with as many companies as you have in your career such as Coca-Cola and Miller Lite?
In working across as many companies, one thing is true. Communication is so incredibly important to building a brand and doing great work. Before my senior year, I received an internship in wealth management and finance at a major company. The internship was a lot of communication with clients and my interview showed I could talk to people, build relationships, and articulate my ideas. In my time at agencies in Chicago with brands like Coca-Cola and Miller Lite, telling a story was crucial to driving connection with customers, sales, or team efficiencies. Throughout my time working at large media outlets, editing and reporting on the truth are invaluable. Words shape the world. Do not ever underestimate your voice or your ability to apply what you've learned here at school for your greater good and someone else's.
Thirdly, how did you decide to do your post-graduate in Experience Design, and how does it relate to the field of Communication?
The program I am exploring called Information Experience Design is focused on information architecture and human centered design. It takes all of the things I love about building products with computer language and combines them with the design of how information is structured. How does language tell a story visually and through data? At the moment, I am focusing first on computer programming and learning different computer languages. Learning a language has always helped me to empathize with other people in life and in my career.
Lastly, do you have any advice for current students in the CMN department at UIUC?
Be persistently curious. The tools you are learning to communicate now will shape your world and the world of others. Technology is rapidly changing how we connect. Data is shifting how we talk about the future of information. Words have never been more important. Keep finding all of the different ways to use them for the good of everyone.