Ashley Siskey '00

Major

Communications

 

Favorite

Course

 

Civil War with Dr. William Ketchersid and classes taught by Mr. Michael Palmer

 

Favorite Professor

 

I loved them all.


 
What in the world do you do with a Communications degree? It's the question Comm majors ask every May as they sit and gaze at their new diplomas. Ashley Siskey put her Comm degree to the test by moving to New York City, without a job, on Sept. 1, 2001. Ten days later the nation recoiled from the terrorist attacks immortalized in the term "9/11."

It was in this shattered environment that Ashley decided to take a job to make ends meet—as an elf in the legendary Santaland on the eighth floor of Macy's Department Store. As the Christmas season progressed, Ashley was promoted to "Press Elf" which required her to be Santa’s escort and publicity liaison for public appearances.

During her Bryan days, Ashley enjoyed planning events ranging from impromptu skate parties or activities for the hall of girls where she was RA. She combined these experiences with her “Press Elf” status to gain access to the Events Department and by March she was working as Macy's Events Operations Coordinator.


Ashley (the drummer) and other Macy personnel
promote the store on the streets of New York.
“I was responsible for coordinating the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and 4th of July Fireworks among many other events that carry the Macy's branding," Ashley explained. "I could write a novel on my responsibilities as they ranged from the normal—street permits, security, telecast logistics—to the bizarre—dressing up as Peter Rabbit and standing between two newscasters during the news, or driving a police boat in the East River doing radio testing. It was by far, the most interesting, but insane, job I've had!"

Her transition from elf to event planner showed her that doors open when you do a good job in the little things. She also credits the power of networking: "Always talk to people and let them know what you are interested in.”

After several years, the magic of Macy's faded and the lack of country music stations drove her to the country music capital of the world: Nashville, Tennessee. Ashley took a job as senior meeting planner for the National Federation of Independent Business and planned over 75 events and meetings a year ranging from an appearance at the 2004 Republican National Convention and the 2005 Presidential Inauguration to national business summits.

In 2006 she spent several months working in Washington, D.C., planning events, including the Marine Corps Museum dedication ceremony which was attended by more than 15,000 people. "Washington is just a great city for events," Ashley said.

But DC also had its crazy moments. "I got pulled over in the middle of the night by the Pentagon police while setting up part of an event!” she recalled. "It was also my second presidential event to work on - which is always exciting, and a pain when dealing with the demands and security of the event as a whole."

After her work in Washington, Ashley moved back to Tennessee and spent time working as a secretary at a pharmaceutical company.

"I was so bored I could read a book every two days," she recalled. Yet, once again, her faithfulness in the little things led to her current job as senior meeting planner at Cross Country Education. “My primary responsibilities are special projects and multi-day conferences for healthcare professionals,” Ashley explained. “I also oversee the travel department and special events staff. It's a great supplement to my entertainment and political experience.”

Ashley's diverse career shows that you never know what opportunities will come your way and proves that you can do a lot with a Communications degree.

"I have loved my life after Bryan," Ashley said. "I wouldn't trade it for the world. I feel very blessed."