Cristie Brinker-Field is working as a multi-channel communication manager for U.S. Cellular. She specializes in identifying and creating comprehensive communication strategies for the company’s marketing and operations projects and initiatives. “I work on designing and delivering effective communication solutions designed to drive specific action and outcomes relative to key organizational initiatives and programs with employees across all levels of the organization,” she says.
Cristie’s passion for learning and education first led her to a career as an elementary school teacher. After a few years as an educator, she realized that a corporate setting would be a better fit. She began working at U.S. Cellular as a learning and development coordinator—while she pursued a Master of Arts in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Argosy University, Schaumburg. “Once I began pursuing my degree, doors to other parts of the organization opened up. In addition to my current role, I’ve held roles in leadership and organizational development, change management, and marketing communications,” she says. Cristie completed her degree in 2012.
In addition to her daily role, she also serves as a communications lead for one of the company’s Affinity Network Groups, CapAble. The group focuses on providing educational developmental resources and increasing the awareness of matters that affect people with disabilities. “Not only does this allow me to contribute to the organization, but the greater community as well.”
Like many in the marketing industry, Cristie has personally been impacted by an organizational restructuring that eliminated her position. “Although these situations were challenging, I was able to overcome them by maintaining professionalism and continuing to work hard, despite the impact and change. By maintaining a positive attitude, I was re-hired both times into roles that have helped to advance my career.”
Cristie adds that her educational experience provided real-world experience that benefited her career. “The majority of our assignments were based on real-life applications. I was able to take textbook theories and models and apply them within my current organization. These assignments helped me navigate complex and unique situations by applying proven practices and theories, and allowed me to contribute at a higher level in my organization.” She mentions that earning a Master’s degree was always been on her bucket list, and Argosy University, Schaumburg gave her the opportunity to be flexible with her school schedule. “I’m a huge proponent in life-long learning and am always on the quest for more knowledge. Additionally, I chose to pursue a Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology to help further my career and take my skillset to a heightened level. [The school] offered me the classroom setting with real life application that I was looking for, with the flexibility in class times that I needed.”
Cristie is thankful for her professional instructors who worked hard to ensure that students were instilled with the skills they needed to be successful in the workplace. “Assignments incorporate a variety of teaching methods, tie textbook theories to real-life examples, and stretch students to think at a higher level.” She specifically mentions Dr. Stephanie Marberry for serving as a mentor and leader.
Balancing school and work was not easy for Cristie, but she says that it’s paid off dividends. She encourages current students to work hard, remain focused, and apply learning to real life. “Never be afraid to ask for help! The staff is there to help you navigate challenging situations and help you achieve success.”
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