As a freshman, Spencer Berryman ’21, a marketing major at UMass Dartmouth, learned that communication skills are at the heart of a flourishing career. The aspiring marketing manager credits many of his professors at the Charlton College of Business for helping him boost his ability to connect with others – whether writing, speaking publicly, collaborating with his peers, or serving as a youth advocate.
Learning the basics of business communications
Before entering college, Spencer did not consider writing as one of his strongest areas. “Professor Jacqueline O’Dell changed my view and taught me how to write great papers,” he said. “My Business Communications professor, Nicole Belair, further refined my writing abilities, opened my eyes to a potential career in business communications, and encouraged me to lean toward a future in the field of communications.”
Another professor encouraged him to pursue an internship that integrated his marketing degree studies with communications. “Professor Kristen McGillicuddy helped me land a marketing internship at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center where I conducted research on different audiences and upcoming shows to help create promotions,” he says. “At the time of my internship, I was taking one of my first marketing courses and we discussed the four Ps of marketing, which are product, placement, promotion, and price. All of these played a role in the projects I worked on during my internship. And the head of marketing at the Zeiterion told me that following the four Ps is the key to a strong marketing career.”
Building professional skills through community service work
Spencer is a youth group leader at his local church in New Bedford where he mentors kids and helps them develop strong social skills. The enriching experience also exposes him to other professional development opportunities that benefit him as well as the church community. “I find opportunities to capture photos and post content on Instagram and other social media accounts for the youth group,” he said. He also volunteers with the New Bedford Health Initiative, which provides basic supplies to the homeless population in the New Bedford community. “We offer many services such as free haircuts, blood pressure checks, water, and prayer,” Spencer said. When asked what is most fulfilling about his community involvement, he said his leadership roles have helped him develop a heart for serving others.
Testing his communication & community relations skills at Dell EMC
This spring, Spencer participated in the Dell EMC Changing the Faces of Technology STEM Leadership workshop organized by Black History Four Seasons Co-Chair Peggy Dias (Executive Director of IT Service Assurance for the IT department at UMassD) and Dr. LaSella Hall (Associate Director of the Frederick Douglass Unity House). The experience offered him the opportunity to hone his public speaking, critical thinking, and presentation skills.
Several small groups engaged in design-thinking workshops and presented case studies to a panel of judges, which consisted of Dell executives. “It was a huge honor to have the opportunity to give a presentation at a prestigious tech company,” said Spencer, who was nominated as “Best Individual Presenter” among the many participants. “Gaining real-world experience during the Dell EMC workshop has helped me see into my future, realize my potential, and envision working in corporate America one day – eventually as a director, manager, or vice president.”