Be Open Minded, Ask Questions, & Find a Company that Encourages Growth: From a Young Professional

Sponsored by Aramark

Christina Smith

Photo courtesy of Aramark.

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June 13, 2024 at 4:38PM UTC
Featuring Christina Smith, Marketing & Communications Specialist 
“Be open minded and receptive to help.”
That’s Christina Smith’s No. 1 piece of advice for other young professionals, especially those in the communications field. Dive right in and network,” she continues. “Your colleagues are full of knowledge, so try to meet as many people as possible and get involved in a variety of projects to expand your knowledge base.”
Your colleagues are also there to help you if you make mistakes — which aren’t the end of the world (even if they can feel like it). “In my career, I’ve learned that mistakes happen, and you just need to learn from them,” shares the Marketing & Communications Specialist at Aramark. “I’ve been very lucky to have amazing managers who support me and help me learn from my mistakes. The best thing you can do is own up to your mistake, try to not internalize it, and use it as a learning tool.”
And, really, growing a career comes down to just that — learning — which means not being afraid to ask questions, says Smith. “Whether you’re in tech or communications, it’s better to ask questions and get help,” she emphasizes. “Do not hesitate to “make your voice heard.
Though still early on in her career journey, Smith’s focus on active learning and growing has resulted in her gathering a great deal of knowledge. Here, she shares a glimpse into her life as a young professional in the communications field, as well as her best advice for growing on the job!

To start, can you tell us more about your role at Aramark and your day-to-day work?

My current role is the Marketing & Communications Specialist for Aramark Information Technology at the Corporate level. I started in this role as a contractor in December 2020 and was brought on as a full-time employee in May 2021. I began on the IT Finance Team before moving to the Service Excellence Team. 
My day-to-day varies based on what projects are happening with the Tech team! Most days, I have anywhere from two to five project meetings, and I always check in on the status of all projects and work on the necessary communications. Some teams I work with include Corporate Communications, Infrastructure, and Operational Services. I also support all the technology Vice Presidents.
One big project I’m currently working on that plays a huge role in my day-to-day life is the creation and migration of our intranet site. I’m part of a project team that’s creating a new intranet site on SharePoint, and my role is to help facilitate meetings, generate and manage new team channels, and migrate and create content for the technology sites.
I’m also responsible for other communication projects, including updating our technology intranet site with new information and generating the monthly internal IT newsletter. 

What do you find most rewarding and challenging about your work?

What I find the most rewarding about my work is getting to teach my team members and others within tech about effective communication strategies and working on a variety of different projects. When I first started at Aramark, there was almost no communication strategy in place for the Tech team, so it’s been very rewarding to have been instrumental in implementing that strategy. Also, I’ve met so many wonderful people in different areas.
What can be challenging is making sure we find the most effective communication plan and channels because our end users and target audiences vary widely from Vice Presidents all the way to Frontline Managers. It can also be challenging to take these very technical topics and turn that into something easily consumable for those not in tech. 

How have you found your own passion, purpose, and voice at work?

I’m still early in my career journey, so I’m still discovering my own passion, purpose, and voice. However, this job has pushed me out of my comfort zone (in the best way possible), and I’ve really grown as a professional and an individual. From this job, I’ve learned that I enjoy helping others reach their desired goals by being creative when crafting communications.

What advice do you have for others who are looking for their passion or authentic voice at work?

My advice would be to learn, learn and learn. In my experience, when you learn from those around you, you take those skills and craft them into your own voice. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance because that guidance will lead you to find your passion and your own voice. If you want to find what you’re passionate about, get involved in a variety of projects and work with different teams to learn what you like, what you dislike, and what you excel in. 

What people, resources and tools do you rely on to get on to attain work-life balance?

I rely on a few things! For people, I rely on my amazing manager and team members, who encourage us to prioritize work-life balance and will always support one another when needed. I also really rely on Teams and making sure my calendar is up to date — I'm a big organizer and scheduler, so keeping my Teams calendar up to date allows me to keep “work at work” and make sure I have a balanced schedule. 

What’s your favorite aspect of Aramark’s company culture, and how does your company help you succeed?

Aramark is really customer-focused, which I love. The company and employees strive to be the best for their customers and are always looking for ways to be innovative. My company has also helped me succeed by always offering support and encouraging me to think outside the box. One thing that I really like about Aramark’s company culture is that they offer a variety of employee resource groups (ERGs) where you can network within Aramark, find volunteer opportunities, and build relationships with your colleagues based on common interests. Some of these groups include Aramark Young Professionals, Aramark Dietitians, Aramark EMPOWER, Aramark Pride and so many more. 

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