Some majors direct their student into a specific career path, but that isn’t the case for those who pursue a degree in communications. BYU School of Communications alumna Siovhan Johnson is learning this lesson as she makes the transition from broadcast news to strategic communications.
After getting married and moving from Dallas, Texas to Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, Johnson realized it was time for a career shift.
“We prayed about me switching professions, and it just felt like it was a time to take a break and have something more flexible,” said Johnson.
The transition has been bittersweet. Johnson spent a decade producing TV news, and it was a job she loved.
“Broadcast producing was exciting and I got to use some of my favorite skills. I got to see what was going on in the world on a grand scale and tell people’s stories,” said Johnson.
Johnson’s passion for her job as a news producer manifested itself in various awards, including three Emmys for “Best Morning News.”
“I was always genuinely shocked and elated to win those awards,” said Johnson. “So much time, learning and lack of sleep went into it. I gave up so much to do those things really well and it was wonderful to be recognized for something that I had put so much effort into.”
But her career wasn’t without its challenges. Johnson said there were many times where she had to stand up for her values. When faced with these situations, Johnson said she remembered the words of her mentor Erin Goff: “You have these things that you believe and it’s important for you to let people know you believe them. You don’t have to be pushy, but you need to let them know you believe them.”
Following those words paid off for Johnson in the long run. “I got called in to cover breaking stories because my bosses knew I hadn’t been out drinking,” said Johnson. “They knew I had standards set for myself.”
Johnson said she recommends all students set standards for themselves now that they will be able to take with them into the workforce. “Set boundaries for yourself now and have the self-respect to uphold your standards no matter what,” Johnson advised.
Despite leaving behind a career she loved, Johnson doesn’t regret her decision to accept a position as a Social Media Specialist at Vanderbilt University.
“Even though I haven’t been in this position very long, I’m learning that I love this side of things too since I get to use a lot of the same skills,” said Johnson. “It’s hard to narrow down which position has been my favorite. Each has been so different, and in each one I’ve learned and grown so much.”
With all the different opportunities available within the communications field, Johnson said it’s important to make sure you really love what you’re choosing to specialize in.
“In a world where there are so many options, make sure you’re doing something you actually love. That will get you really far,” said Johnson. “It’s such an exciting time to be in communications because everything is changing and growing.”
Years after graduation, Johnson said she’s still happy she chose to get a degree in communications. It has opened up multiple opportunities for her professionally and personally.
“It’s tricky to balance everything, but the Lord provides opportunities where they’re needed,” said Johnson. “I think as women a lot us, when we’re going through school, think ‘what do I do when I have kids and I have a career?’ Comms degrees are so helpful with that. There are so many options that are opened up for us to be able to have careers and be moms. I’ve seen countless advantages to having a comms degree.”