Posts Tagged ‘Fayette’
When Ini Augustine started SocialWise Media Group out of her home, she found that she finally had time to realize one of her life goals – earn a college degree. But, she needed a university that would work for her. “I needed the freedom to schedule my school work around my work schedule, which varies from week to week,” she said.
Augustine learned about Upper Iowa University’s Online program from a mentor, Tom Smartwood of the Buchanan Center at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. “I investigated several schools, but Upper Iowa kept coming up very positively in reviews,” Augustine said. “Even if I am out of town on client business, I can still submit school work and participate.” She is majoring in management information systems and expects to graduate in 2015.
Augustine’s entrepreneurial spirit was ignited at a young age. She started her first business, Provision Staffing Group, in St. Paul, Minn., at the age of 23, but returned to her roots in the Des Moines area where she developed SocialWise Media Group. “I was writing and producing commercials for a local TV station at the time. When I sat down with business owners to discuss their commercials, I always asked for their social media pages and websites,” she said. “It was shocking how many business owners would say that they didn’t have one, or that their current one was so bad they didn’t want customers to go to it.
“It was like, (screech of tires) ‘Whoa! You cannot go on TV without your website and social media profile. People won’t think you are a serious business without one.’ Clients then asked me to help them set up and manage their social media accounts, and so SocialWise Media Group was born.”
Augustine has been recognized internationally for her efforts to educate business owners through the quagmire of social media. She was quoted in an article, ‘Mastering the Digital Marketing Basics,’ in The Guardian, England’s popular national newspaper in March. Closer to home, Augustine was just recently named the ‘Aspiring Woman Business Owner of the Year’ by the Central Iowa chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.
In addition to Augustine, SocialWise Media Group employs three others, all of whom are virtually located. “We are big technology users, so we have the freedom to work from home most of the time,” she said.
Together, the four help companies manage their online marketing and website development. Using platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, blogging and Twitter, etc., SocialWise helps businesses generate more sales and stronger customer relationships. It also specializes in social media management and training, as well as public relations and reputation management.
Augustine has set goals for SocialWise, which will ensure its future in the ‘Silicon Prairie’ of Iowa. “I want to focus on making social media accessible to everyone – old, young, urban or rural. Social media is the only tool I know of that can change a company’s fate literally overnight. Ninety-two of the Fortune 100 companies are using social media to hire, and so really everyone needs to have this skill. That is why I am offering anyone who wants one, a free online social media class, whether it’s for business or personal use. It is crucial that everyone know how to use social media as a professional.”
To schedule a class or find out more about Augustine and SocialWise Media Group, visit www.getsocialwise.com.
For nearly two years, Kate (Mortensen) Zimmerman ’07 held the title of Iowa’s youngest director when she was hired as executive director of the Ringgold County Conservation Board. She may have lost that crown two months ago when a younger conservation director was hired elsewhere in the state, but she is one of only six female directors in Iowa, and the recent recipient of the very prestigious Bohumil Shimek Environmental Educator Award for outstanding efforts by an environmental educator.
Zimmerman was raised on a small Hereford cattle farm south of Guthrie Center, Iowa, where she developed a strong work ethic thanks to her parents and grandparents. “I always loved working outdoors on the farm, and my grandparents, Fred and Neva Compton, took me for nature hikes all the time. They were always supportive of my dream to work in conservation and did everything they could to encourage me,” she said.
Her desire to work in conservation one day led to many exciting opportunities for Zimmerman. She participated in 4-H and FFA, and began her career at Springbrook State Park directly out of high school for two summers. The summer of 2006, Zimmerman acquired an internship with Carl Kurtz, a man renowned for his efforts in prairie restoration, something that she too now holds close to her heart. The following summer, Zimmerman interned at Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa, and also worked with Fayette County Conservation at the Gilbertson Nature Center as a naturalist/zookeeper, and assisted at the UIU Maize Maze which is located across the road from the nature center.
Zimmerman graduated from Upper Iowa University’s residential campus in Fayette, Iowa, with degree in conservation management and minor in biology in just three years. “I accomplished that thanks to awesome science professors Dr. Scott Figdore, Dr. Kata McCarville, Dr. Rick Klann and math instructor Dr. Maureen Busta,” she said.
“When I graduated from Upper Iowa, everyone I talked to in this career field told me the most important thing you can do is ‘get your foot in the door,’” she continued. “That was the best advice I have ever received. After graduating, I went after the illusive fulltime job with hard determination.”
Zimmerman got her start as a naturalist with Bremer County Conservation located in Tripoli, Iowa. There she learned from another naturalist how to engage in environmental education. After a little over two years, Zimmerman wanted more of a leadership role in her career, but did not want to lose the field work aspect and environmental education that she had grown to love.
“I began applying for jobs, but knew it would be hard to find the right fit,” she said. “I received an interview for several positions and none of them were quite what I was looking for. Then came the Ringgold County Conservation Board Executive Director position. It was the best interview of my life, and two hours after the interview they called and offered the position to me before I was even halfway home! It has been a learning experience, but I always work best under pressure!”
As the executive director, Zimmerman is in charge of the clerical aspects of the position, as well as maintaining the parks, trails and wildlife areas, managing seasonal staff and environmental education programming.
“My favorite part of the job is that I get to do a little of everything. It is a lot of hard work and can get a little overwhelming at times, but we have a great community that supports us, and that makes it worthwhile. We also have a wonderful network of conservation employees across the state who are always more than willing to lend a hand,” she said.
When Zimmerman started in 2010, there wasn’t an environmental education program in Ringgold County. In her first year, she presented 71 programs with 852 participants. Since then, the program has increased. In fiscal year 2011-12, Zimmerman presented 114 programs with 2,543 participants.
Zimmerman is married UIU alumnus Mike Zimmerman ’05.
Her advice to prospective students interested in conservation: “Don’t limit yourself in high school and college. I worked in many different sectors of the field during this time and gained a well-rounded work experience background, which helped me land that first full-time job. Try fisheries, wildlife, habitat management, park enforcement and environmental education, along with so many more, to find out what it is that you like and don’t like. This will help you know what you really want when applying for jobs in the future.”
Written by Ain Suraya Mior Azri, Intern
UIU Office of Communications & Marketing
March 26, 2013, marked a new tradition at Upper Iowa University as we celebrated the birthday of our beloved peacock mascot for the first time.
The “Peacock” became the official mascot of UIU athletics in September 1920. In his current recognizable form, the peacock arrived on campus in 2003 and “Pete” became the name of the mascot. Being one of the biggest and most prominent figures at UIU, Pete’s arrival on campus is one that should always be remembered and celebrated.
Pete the Peacock is well-known on campus, and has been the life of the party at all home games, student activities and events that are available on campus. Student members of Peacock Alumni for Students & Tradition (P.A.S.T) spearheaded the 10th birthday celebration with the goal of building a strong tradition that will be carried out for future students. As an effort to infuse school spirit, P.A.S.T created this event during the week after spring break to welcome everyone back and start anew after the short break from classes.
A week before Pete’s birthday, P.A.S.T members and Pete himself went around during lunch hour to promote the event. Pete personally invited every person he saw to his birthday celebration, and was a fun addition to the event.
For the event, the Servery and Student Center were decorated with balloons while P.A.S.T members were busy handing out party hats for students to wear for the big celebration. As the guest of honor arrived at the dining hall, he was presented with a big birthday card that had been signed by the student body wishing him well on his big day.
Pete, who turned only 10 this year, surprised many students as most of them thought that Pete had been around for many years and was very aged.
Being his usual self, Pete went around thanking fellow students for being at his birthday party and took many pictures with celebrants in conjunction of this auspicious day. Not only was Pete having fun, but the entire student body was also enjoying the party.
No birthday party is complete without a cake and singing the birthday song, and thanks to the great work and cooperation of ARAMARK, students enjoyed delicious treats in honor of Pete’s birthday.
Alyssa Joseph, the advisor of P.A.S.T and director of annual giving, said, “It is our hope that these P.A.S.T. students are well on their way of becoming the next tradition-makers of UIU as they celebrate our Upper Iowa history, as well as add new elements that will build and infuse peacock spirit in each UIU student!”
Happy Birthday Pete!
Check out more photos of the birthday celebration at http://www.flickr.com/photos/upperiowauniversity/sets/72157633147826565/!