Eileen Porzuczek is a copy and content creator at Threefold in Indianapolis, a venture capital and private equity company that invests in real estate and property service companies. She’s a creative professional who is passionate about social responsibility and seeks meaningful experiences that put people first. As a creative, she’s worked in a variety of areas like copywriting, editing, design, strategic marketing, and publishing. Both her writing and design work is published in public memoir anthologies, literary magazines and across various blogs. Eileen has also presented her work at local and national conferences, covering a wide variety of topics like literary activism, community-building, digital literacy education, and aging. She graduated with her BA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in Professional Writing and Digital Media, as well as her MA in Emerging Media Design and Development (Design Thinking, Transmedia Storytelling, Human-Computer Interaction, and User-Experience Design) from Ball State University. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.
I noticed that you changed majors a few times—could you talk about that a bit? What major did you ultimately graduate with, and what prompted you to decide on that area of study?
During my time as an undergraduate student at Ball State University, I changed my major two times. When I entered as a freshman, my original major was Speech Pathology. I thought this would be something I’d like because I enjoyed cadet teaching and speech team in high school. However, I soon found out that the major was more science focused than I expected and realized it wasn’t a good fit for me. So, I thought about what I might like to do or what I could see myself doing in the future. I knew I always liked English and teaching, which led me to switch my major to Secondary English Education in the second semester of my freshman year. I remember having one of my first classes in the major with Dr. Darolyn “Lyn” Jones and loved all of the writing exercises would think about when planning lessons or practicing writing to student prompts. After that spring semester, when I arrived back in the fall of 2016, I remember going to my Secondary English Education classes the first week and being like “Ahhh…I don’t know if this is for me.” So, I sat down with Dr. Jones, and we talked about my interest in studying creative writing as my major. She then directed me to Cathy Day and miraculously I was able to switch majors within the week.
Ultimately, I graduated with a degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in Professional Writing and Digital Media. I think what prompted me to switch to this major and minor was my love for writing and my passion for storytelling. I had always loved writing, but I never knew it could be something that I actually do for a job. So, it was pretty cool when I learned that there were so many job opportunities for writers and so many industries that need writers.
Did you feel that graduate school was a beneficial addition to your professional journey? If so, how?
I 100% feel that going to graduate school was a beneficial addition to my professional journey. So, my career path is a little out of the ordinary because I actually went straight into my master’s degree after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree. I did this for multiple reasons:
- I knew that if I didn’t go straight into it, I might never go back, and getting a master’s degree was something I knew I wanted to accomplish
- My chosen program was going to allow me to build on the skills I had already learned and learn even more highly marketable skills
- I was able to get a graduate assistantship, which allowed me to work part-time for the university and get tuition remission
The program I went into is called Emerging Media Design and Development, and it’s actually here at Ball State. The program focuses on design thinking, transmedia storytelling, human-computer interaction (HCI) and user-experience (UX) design. During my first year in the program, I learned a lot of the foundations of these specific topic areas and got to experience some unique networking opportunities.
In my second year, it was also cool because everything was immersive. I and two other second-year graduate students in the program got to work on a real-world project together. The project we worked on was called Professor Garfield and Digital Literacy Pathways. For Professor Garfield, we conducted research on how to build digitally interactive digital literacy lessons for K-5 teachers to use with their students. Doing this was really cool because we were also able to work directly with Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield. Then Digital Literacy Pathways was an initiative where we worked with K-5 teachers to create a digital literacy professional development series, including 10 learning modules. My team had the opportunity to present this portion of our project at the 2021 BEA (Broadcasting Education Association) Conference.
During my graduate studies, I also worked in two different graduate assistant positions. The first year, I worked in Ball State’s Marketing and Communications Department and ran all the official Ball State social media channels. Then in my second year, I worked in the Ball State Online Department doing work with the website, online events, and communications for both current and prospective online students.
Describe your career path after graduating from undergraduate studies. What is your current career position? What are some of your daily responsibilities in this position?
After graduating with both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, I immediately started working for a copy agency out of Tampa, Florida called CopyPress. They actually hired me a couple of months before I finished my master’s and waited for me to start upon completion. While working for them, I worked as a Copywriter for their Indeed Jobs account and wrote Indeed Career Guide articles. If you’re unfamiliar with Indeed Career Guide, it is essentially a library of articles pertaining to just about every career, job, professional or personal skill. I wrote these articles on a wide range of topics for Indeed Career Guide U.S., as well as international markets in Canada, Australia, the UK, Singapore and India.
While I was working there, although I loved writing, I realized that I might enjoy more variety in my work. So, one day when I was scrolling through my LinkedIn feed, I saw a post from my old manager’s friend who is a Co-Founder of a marketing agency in Indianapolis. The post referenced that one of her clients was hiring for a marketing role and if anyone was interested to direct message her, and she’d let you know if you might be a good fit. At the time, I thought, “Eh, why not? I mean, what are the odds that this would show up on my feed anyway. Might as well just see what it’s about.” Upon reading my message of interest, she replied and let me know that she felt I might be a good fit and did an email introduction.
This led me to where I work now as a Copy and Content Creator at Threefold, a self-funded private equity and venture capital company based in Indianapolis. There, in this role, I manage all marketing content across their 6 brands and manage 20 social accounts – besides other marketing materials like emails, blogs and sales collateral. These brands currently include White Hat Industrial, Casual Nomad, Renovia, California Closets Indiana | Illinois | Kentucky | Ohio, CertaPro Painters of Indianapolis, and CertaPro Painters of Dayton.
What valuable skills did you learn in your English studies that benefit your professional life now?
The creative and professional writing skills I learned in my English studies have been super valuable to my professional life. Without them, I don’t think I would be where I am today. There is truly something special about being able to find the right words and the right balance between creative and professional language.
How do your current creative writing skills influence or contribute to your current occupation, as well as your life outside of work?
My current creative writing skills influence and contribute to my current occupation because I am telling the stories of these 6 brands on a daily basis and without those skills, I don’t know if I’d be telling the best story. I also feel that my creative writing skills contribute to my life outside of work because I have worked on the collaborative publication of 4 public memoir anthologies and various other writing projects in my spare time.
What advice would you give to other English majors, especially those pursuing a degree in creative writing?
- Network, Network, Network. If you don’t have a LinkedIn, make one and start using it to connect with others you know and others who you want to network with or others who work in careers that interest you. I know when I was a student, I was always anti-LinkedIn until I took a career preparation course with Cathy Day. During this course, it was literally part of our homework to make a LinkedIn and connect with new people. Being forced out of my comfort zone to do that has been super helpful as a professional and it’s honestly a great tool to take advantage of. In-person networking opportunities are also great to take advantage of if you have the chance to attend one.
Don’t ever stop thinking outside the box (yeah, I know it’s cliche) with your words because there is something really special in the professional world when someone can share stories in a meaningful way, whether they are brand or human-based.
- Take advantage of immersive learning opportunities!!! Ball State, especially the English Department, is a really special place because of all the immersive learning opportunities you have at your fingertips. I know in my undergraduate degree I took multiple immersive learning courses and was given such incredible opportunities like presenting at national conferences (including one for the Institute of Human Rights) or publishing work on a national level.