Member Chat: Q&A with Kimberly Stern who’s ‘Fueling Fandom’ at CSU

    Member Chat: Q&A with Kimberly Stern who’s ‘Fueling Fandom’ at CSU
    By Regina Martel

    From New Media Specialist at the dawn of Facebook to Director of Colorado State University’s (CSU) award-winning social media team, PRSA member Kimberly Stern is arguably a pioneer of higher-education digital communication. She and her team are responsible for the campus-wide strategic direction and management of CSU’s institutional social media accounts. Producing highly creative digital content and sharing it with students, faculty and staff, as well as the broader Fort Collins community is certainly a challenge, says Kimberly. Under her leadership, CSU’s social media presence has blossomed into an internationally recognized powerhouse.

    I asked Kimberly, a mentor of mine, about her career and what makes her so successful as a digital leader.

    RM: Can you describe your career path and how you got to where you are today?
    KS:  My career trajectory has followed the rise of social media from its beginning to present-day mainstream communication. I started at CSU in 2006 as a New Media Specialist and my job was to identify opportunities for the university to engage with Facebook (which at the time was only two years old) and other online channels. Even then, I knew that creating dynamic digital content was a blend of art and science. Today, you can find CSU on nearly every social channel – from Facebook to Snapchat — and I’ve loved every minute of it!

    RM: What do you consider a "good day" at your job?
    KS: A good day for me and my team is when we fulfill our purpose of giving our fans a sense of belonging to fuel their fandom and inform them about CSU — all while pushing the envelope. We do that by listening deeply, sharing meaningfully and building community. A good day also means that we’ve had some fun. It wouldn’t be social media if there wasn’t some fun woven in.

    RM: What specific PR/communications skills or qualifications have you found critical to your success as a practitioner?
    KS: Strong writing skills have been fundamental to my success as a communicator. Writing copy for social media requires brevity AND creativity!

    RM: How has being a PRSA Colorado member benefited you and/or your career?
    KS: I’ve been involved with PRSA since I was a college student at CSU, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in journalism and technical communication and later my MBA. I was involved with PRSSA all four years of my undergraduate career and served as chapter president. It was in college that my roots in PR and with PRSA were planted. For the past 10 years, I’ve served on PRSA Colorado’s Student Outreach Committee and co-chaired the chapter’s annual Shadow Day in which college students from across the state spend a day with PR professionals. My involvement with PRSSA solidified my career track, but it was Shadow Day that instilled in me the value of mentorship and the importance of donating time to help train the next generation of practitioners.

    Kimberly has helped pair hundreds of students with PRSA Colorado chapter members for Shadow Day, and it remains one of her passion projects.

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