In a world of pandemic problems, some workers value remote options

Mission 2 Picture of Emmy Stephens. Submitted Photo
Emmy Stephens. Submitted Photo

Gabrielle Fairey
Oxford Stories

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted and changed our lives.

But for some, having the option to work remotely and by teleconference is one of the positive changes.

University of Mississippi graduate Emmy Stephens, a marketing associate for Georgia Banking Company in Atlanta, said remote work has been beneficial for employees in her marketing department.

“It’s taking a lot of things virtual, so that’s beneficial in a lot of ways,” she said. “My boss works two hours away sometimes, and we can still get together and do Zoom meetings and stuff, which has been super helpful.”

That means clients are also doing business remotely.

“A lot of our search engine optimization . . . has been key to reaching our clients and customers and pushing social media,” said Stephens who began her college career seven years ago after touring and falling in love with the Ole Miss campus.

“I kind of wanted to go somewhere not in Georgia,” she said. “That’s where I’m from. I went to (Ole Miss) to expand my horizons and go somewhere new with new people, and I think it’s the best decision I made.”  

Stephens was initially undecided about her studies before realizing her passion and goals involved integrated marketing communications (IMC) and journalism. She loved the hands-on projects and opportunities the major offered.

“(IMC) just fit what I wanted to do . . ,” she said. “It’s so broad that you can go into so many fields, and it helps in so many ways.”

Stephens said she loved the broad range of IMC classes UM offered.

“It’s hard to leave the place that you love so much and all the people that you love hanging out with,” she said. “Meeting them was one of the best experiences in my college life. I learned so much there. I miss it so much.

“I took a design class, a PR class, copywriting classes and much more. I feel like it really helped me prepare for the real world in the work I do now, because it really is like you have to be so adaptable, and you learn so many skills through IMC.”

Stephens also enjoyed the professors who encouraged her to try new things.

Mission 2 Picture of Emmy Stephens. Submitted Photo
Emmy Stephens. Submitted Photo

“I had a class with Dr. (Samir) Husni, and he kind of just (taught) the fundamentals of IMC,” she said. “I thought he was super funny, and he’s a really interesting professor.”

After college, Stephens began working at Georgia Banking Company as a marketing assistant with boss, Margaret Whieldon, and co-worker Lauren Pfrogner.

“I think my IMC background has really helped because I got my hands in so many different projects, and I work on so many different things since there are only four people on the marketing team,” she said. “So I do event planning, do the credit card design, which my graphic design class in college helped with.  Then I worked with our third-party vendors, so all of the communications classes at Ole Miss really helped with that.”  

Pfrogner describes Stephens as creative, fun to be around and innovative.

“She is very detail-oriented and a team player in our marketing department with everything we do,” she said.

Whieldon said Stephens recognizes the role of the marketing team in serving the greater good of the organization.

“She is a problem-solver, and most importantly, a team player,” Whieldon said. “She is eager to learn and always willing to lend a helping hand.” 

Stephens has worked on GBC’s credit card design, their new website and branding projects. She loves graphic design.

“I love being able to have my hands in all different departments,” she said. “I get to do marketing for a lot of employee events.”

She said she hopes to grow professionally with the bank.

“I’d like to see where I go with IMC in the future,” she said. “I really like the marketing aspect and being able to do a bunch of different things. In the future, I just hope to do what I love and keep moving up wherever my heart takes me.” 

She offers the following advice to IMC professionals and students: “Keep an open mind, and be adaptable, as well as be willing to put yourself out there . . . Communication is key. You have to over-communicate.”

 Stephens said she loved her time at Ole Miss and will never forget the memories and friends made.

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