Hometown: Sugar Grove, Ohio
Year Graduated: 1997
School: E.W. Scripps School of Journalism
Major: Public Relations with specializations in political science and sports management
Current job title and location: President & CEO, Krile Communications
What do you do? We are a full-service strategic communications agency. We harness our creativity to tell our clients’ stories. We are grounded in one key goal: to build a stronger community and make the world a better place through our work, whether we are helping to build understanding around complex issues, raise awareness of critical challenges, or generate jobs and economic prosperity by supporting local businesses. We have a wide range of clients, from local non-profits like the Fairfield County Foundation to the internationally touring Cirque du Soleil.
Tell us about your career path. I cannot stress the importance of internships. My internships were what led me to my first and second jobs. I had hoped to work for the company I interned with, but instead, my supervisor was the one who connected me to people who were in a position to hire. My first job, which I started the Monday after graduating from OHIO was a bit of a nightmare. (A bit of advice: Don’t do that! Take a week or more off!) It was a two-person staff for a local arm of a national non-profit. The day I started, the executive director put in his two weeks’ notice, so I was basically running a non-profit three weeks out of school with no clue what I was doing.
Fortunately, one call to my internship supervisor and she connected me with Cochran Group, a public relations and public affairs firm in Columbus. I was hired, and I was there for nearly 14 years. It was an amazing experience with some of the smartest professionals I have ever known. I have always said one year at Cochran is like five years somewhere else. We did complicated, complex work on issues like health care, tort reform, business regulations, education and more. If it was happening at the Statehouse, chances were, we were involved.
Then, nearly 10 years ago, some changes happened there, the stars aligned in a strange way for me…and with two babies at home, a recession happening all around us, but a husband and family who had no doubts, I started Krile Communications. I continued working on complex issues, but also wanted to work with local, smaller organizations and businesses who couldn’t necessarily afford to work with larger firms.
We started with three clients in the front room of our house in 2010. Today, we have a great mix of more than 50 local, statewide and national clients that allow us to make a difference in our community while also impacting issues at the state and global levels. We have a team of five core employees: my mom, dad and husband who help out keeping the office operations running and a group of four freelancers to supplement our team. My office is less than five minutes from my house, too, which is a wonderful bonus after driving an hour every day for work for more than a decade!
What made you come to Ohio University? Were there other places you considered? Well, I thought I wanted to write novels. But I had an English teacher in high school who said “Angela, you’re a good writer, but you’re not amazing. And I know you love writing, but you need to look at public relations. You’re ALREADY amazing at that.” So I did. When I was trying to figure out where to go, I was torn between Muskingum College, where I had a very good friend attending (she even wrote me a letter with 25 reasons to go to Muskingum over OHIO) and Ohio University. I loved both campuses and felt at comfortable in both places. However, when I visited, it was just kind of like being called home—and, once I found out I had been admitted to the j-school, it was “all over but the shoutin’” for me!
How did the Scripps College of Communication equip you with the skills you needed to succeed? Honestly, it’s across the spectrum—from JOUR 133, which was our required grammar course that provided a strong foundation for writing, to my journalism ethics class with Dr. Bugeja, where I penned my very first professional code of ethics, which I still use today. The diversity of instruction, perspectives and experience that my professors brought to work every day and imparted to us was priceless. Combining the classroom instruction with my internships, I felt so well-equipped to enter the workforce when I graduated.
I also feel like my experiences in organizations like Sigma Kappa, Greek Programming Board, PRSSA and Mortar Board supplemented the work in the classroom. I learned leadership skills and interpersonal communication through those activities. I think, across the board, it was a strong combination of all of this experience that helped me start off strong out of school.
What about your experiences here was so memorable? I fell in love with my husband at OHIO and that’s the most important thing in my life—he was then and he is now. We are from the same hometown, but it wasn’t until our time together in Athens that we became a couple. We have so many memories there together, including taking our 6-month-old son to Homecoming after he was born.
I had three of the most incredible, influential professors—Jerry Sloan, Frank Henderson and Michael Bugeja—as well Ralph Izard, a wonderful school director with whom I had the privilege of working. All four of these men had a combination of academic insight and real-world experience that gave them a unique perspective. They each helped shape me into the professional and person I am today in a different way.
Of course, some of my closest lifelong friends came from OHIO. I always have described OHIO as a big campus with a small-school feel. I think that’s why it felt so right for me. I grew up in a very small town, where K-12 is still all in one building and the school is the heart of the community. The intimacy of the j-school, combined with the global reach of the university was such an attractive and exciting combination. I felt like I had the best of both worlds.
What advice do you have for current students? BE PART OF THE CAMPUS COMMUNITY! Don’t just go to class and study. Go to football, basketball and hockey games. Join student organizations and be active in them. Build some traditions for yourself while you’re there, whether it’s an aquarium and beer cheese soup at the pub on Wednesdays, or a Miller’s Chicken picnic at Strouds Run on the weekends. Create your distinct traditions so you can look back on them later.
Oh, and take a finance course. Regardless of your career path, you’re going to need to know about accounting and budgets, no matter how much you hate math.