Kristen Fikse is a fourth-year student at the University of Georgia from Smyrna, GA graduating in May 2019 with degrees in Marketing and Entertainment & Media Studies. She has also pursued a minor in Spanish along with a certificate in Personal and Organizational Leadership.
When asked about all that she is studying, it is extremely evident that Kristen is passionate about learning through pursuing a double major. She believes that her two complementary degrees will allow her to “help bridge the data and people side of marketing with the innovation and creativity side of visual storytelling.” She said, “When it comes to marketing, good marketing tells a story well where audiences can be empathetic to the story. I think honesty in that story is really important too.” It comes to no surprise that her favorite book is all about the concept of storytelling. Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years says, “We live in a world where bad stories are told, stories that teach us life doesn’t mean anything and that humanity has no great purpose. It’s a good calling, then, to speak a better story. How brightly a better story shines. How easily the world looks to it in wonder. How grateful we are to hear these stories, and how happy it makes us to repeat them.” Kristen truly believes that it is her calling to tell better stories, whether it be for people or for businesses.
This past summer, Kristen worked as a Marketing Research Intern at World 50. World 50 is a company located in Atlanta, GA that facilitates business conversations by providing a private forum for global executives to share ideas and insights on their strategies. While interning, she helped identify and research candidates for membership as well as supported the sales associates in generating leads.
Outside of attending classes, Kristen is involved with The Wesley Foundation where she serves on the media leadership team. As a leader, she photographs events throughout the week that the organization can later use for promotional content on social media. She also films interview-style testimonial videos and edits them using Adobe Premiere Pro. When asked about what she loves most about Wesley media, she said that what she values most is “that students realize and know that their stories matter and are worth telling. Everyone has a story unique to them, and I’m honored to be able to have a small part in helping tell those stories.” Kristen also actively mentors younger students within the organization.
In addition to serving students through Wesley, she was also involved with UGA Miracle, an organization that raises money for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Within that organization, she served on the Family Relations committee for three years. Her favorite thing about serving on the Family Relations committee was interacting with families and siblings of children who have been or are in the process of being treated at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. She loved partnering with those families and having the chance to stand beside throughout the year as a “family pal.”
Kristen’s biggest inspiration in life is her dad; he’s the leader she looks up to. She explained, “He is the definition of the ultimate servant-hearted leader that I admire because he’s always learning, he prioritizes people first, and he has outstanding character and integrity as a father and within the company that he works for. I hope one day to be the tiniest bit of the kind of leader he’s been in our family and in his work.”
She describes herself as servant-hearted, a creative problem solver, and dedicated, and throughout her four years at UGA, she’s proud of the way that she has learned and discovered more about herself in terms of who she is as a student, leader, and friend. She wholeheartedly believes that listening is a trait that many people overlook in the creation process in projects, and it’s important to her whether she’s filming for a project or strategizing for a marketing campaign to observe, see the big picture of any situation, and listen to all perspectives before making a decision.
When asked about how she landed up in Marketing and Entertainment & Media Studies, she talked about how when she was in middle school her dream company to work for was Disney. When she was young, she was fascinated with Disney Imagineering and all the intricacies of the design and everything that happened behind-the-scenes. Through having a curiosity to study Disney’s processes behind-the-scenes and then moving into the technical theatre world in high school, she learned to appreciate good design and the work that goes into storytelling. That is what inspired her to eventually land on a dual degree in the colleges of business and journalism.
After graduation, Kristen hopes to work full-time at a marketing agency where she can serve different brands and businesses better market their stories to consumers.