Finding a job that pertains to the degree you have worked so hard for – the overwhelming anxiety that looms over many college students. This was especially true for USI graduate Holli Melton ‘19. In her free time, Holli enjoys working political campaigns. She began with smaller tasks, like knocking on doors and handing out signs. From there, she worked her way into leading social media campaigns. “That’s when I figured out that the public relations side of politics was my niche and exactly what I wanted to do,” she says. Soon enough, people were recruiting her to work on their campaigns.
“I switched my major and literally had a complete 180-degree experience with the College of Liberal Arts.”
Holli’s love for campaigning and public relations helped her find a home in USI’s Liberal Arts program, but that wasn’t the beginning of her college story. Having transferred to USI as a biology major from Henderson Community College, Holli quickly learned that her interests were aligned elsewhere. “I was at the point where I was like, ‘okay, is USI the place for me; do I need to try out something else?’” After the switch to the political science program and a warm welcome from everyone in Liberal Arts, Holli knew she was right where she needed to be. “I felt so comfortable just walking in [professors’] offices and sitting down and talking,” she explains. “I had the chance to have a personal connection with each of my professors.”
With a major in political science, Holli landed a job at Field & Main Bank in Henderson, KY – a job that falls far outside the world of politics. However, she found that the skills she acquired through her time at USI and her experience campaigning made her the perfect fit to be Field & Main’s Brand Experience Specialist. “What I did for the political campaigns, I now do for the bank,” she says. “I go out into our community and represent the bank at different events and work to foster relationships with our current and potential customers through the proper marketing channels. Social media is a big part of what I do. Field & Main also sponsors a lot of events in the communities that we serve, and I help with the organization of those sponsorships. …Community outreach is one of the most important parts of my job.”
“It was like a chain reaction.”
Before securing her job at Field & Main, Holli felt frightened by the thought of not finding work in her hometown of Henderson. She found comfort in a public relations internship with the City of Henderson but was crushed to learn they were unable to offer her a job. “I begged them, ‘please let me stay, I don’t want to leave,’” she states, but the City just didn’t have the funding to bring her on board. So, what led her to Field & Main? Her internships and the connections she made along the way. Her first internship was with the Henderson Area Arts Alliance, which is where she met the public information officer for the City of Henderson. “Having the courage to walk up to someone I don’t know, shake their hand and say, ‘Hey, I’m in college, I’m about to graduate and I would love the opportunity to work with you.’” was one of Holli’s networking strategies and it worked. This interaction helped her score her second internship with the City of Henderson, which eventually led to her current job at Field & Main. “…Honestly, if I look back it was like a chain reaction. Everything just fell into place.” Holli transferred her skills from campaigning and invested them in this new opportunity.
For now, Holli plans on staying with Field & Main in Henderson, though a public relations career in politics is not a dream she is ready to give up on just yet. Through her career in community banking she has been presented with opportunities to meet new people, foster new relationships, and her favorite part is traveling to the various Field & Main banking centers. “I love traveling to our banking centers in Central Kentucky. I have a newfound love for that part of the state.” The chance to serve a community through banking is an experience that Holli would not change for the world.
Written by Brandon Hartman