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Bethany Bell, 25
Assistant Public Relations Manager, deep
The daughter of a Cape Girardeau coffee shop owner, Bethany Bell has worked as a barista at The Coffee Ethic and for Shawn Askinosie at his Commercial Street chocolate factory, where she worked in publicity and social media for the global brand. The common thread: a quality product with a social conscience.
Now Bethany is putting her expertise to good use in campaigns for deep’s national food-service clients. She helps plan out promotional goals and schedules for the companies, and is increasingly busy in the area of social media (both for deep’s clients and deep itself), which she says is on the verge of becoming an expected channel of communication, like the white pages 30 years ago.
That said, her philosophy is for businesses to use social media responsibly—less for promotion and more for customer service. “Social media is a way to save your customers time, to educate them and to turn a bad experience into a good one by responding in a timely and gracious fashion,” she says.
Job title and where you work: Assistant Public Relations Manager at deep
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Spanish from Missouri State
City or town where you live: Springfield, Missouri
1. How did you end up at your current job/profession?
I was first introduced to the profession of public relations by my aunt, Dr. Pam Parry. As a communications professor, she told me that my love for writing, speaking and creativity could all fit beautifully within this career path. I took her advice and pursued a degree at Missouri State and never looked back. At the time, I wanted to do PR for a non-profit organization and had many opportunities to intern at great organizations around town. Right after graduation, I landed a job managing social media and PR for Askinosie Chocolate, a local bean-to-bar chocolate factory in town. My passion for artisan coffee and charity came together wonderfully for this first “big kid” job. Although I’d never originally considered working at an agency in college, when I heard about the job opening at deep, I had to apply. I knew that it was a great opportunity to hone in my skills among other great professionals like my boss, Amy Rosendahl. Little did I know that working at deep would ignite a new passion within me for the PR profession as a whole. I’m so grateful to work in an office with such a creative culture that pushes its employees to dive deeper for extraordinary work.
2. Where do you find passion to do what you do?
Oh where do I start? I absolutely adore everything about public relations. From release writing to social media strategy, it is like this profession was tailored to my passions and personality. Specifically, I love working at deep because of the servanthood attitude throughout the whole office. It’s a joy to create good work for all of our clients, and it doesn’t hurt that we work in food. Working with big food brands to solve problems for restaurant owners every day makes me feel like I’m contributing to the world in a meaningful way.
3. Are you single/married, and do you have any kids?
I married my high school sweetheart two years ago on April 27. We both are originally from Southeast Missouri (where they filmed Gone Girl!) and relocated to the 417 area for school about seven years ago. Travis is currently in his second year of Physician Assistant’s school at Missouri State, and I’m so proud of all he’s accomplished so far. No babies, but we do have the most adorable Siberian husky named Sasha and a sassy calico cat named Daphne. You can often find me, Travis and Sasha walking around Nathaniel Green Park, window shopping at Bass Pro or getting ice cream at Andy’s Custard.
4. What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?
My mom owned a coffee shop, so I grew up in the specialty coffee industry. Throughout college, I worked at The Coffee Ethic on the square and I’m affectionately known around the office as the coffee nerd. I love to learn about best practices for brewing as well as educating people on the poverty many coffee farmers face—making direct and fair trade extremely important. I try to frequent all of the local Springfield cafes to relax with high-quality cappuccinos and other enthusiasts. I also love to bake, host parties, craft, travel and occasionally blog.
5. Are you involved in any charitable organizations?
As I mentioned earlier throughout college, I interned at three different local nonprofit organizations, and now, I continue to express my passion for the community and social justice through volunteer work. To stay connected with my first internship at Ozarks Food Harvest, I love to volunteer when I can at Hungerthon, the food bank’s largest fundraiser. Also, I’m one of the founders of a small local group that promotes intentional and community living, called Spare Key. The group meets weekly and volunteers at local organizations such as Harmony House and Rare Breed on a regular basis.
6. Are you a member of any professional organizations?
Yes. I currently serve on the board of the Southwest Missouri Chapter Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) as the student liaison. My role is to be local university students advocate within the professional organization and also connect them with any opportunities the chapter offers such as scholarships or networking events. I’m also a member of the International Foodservice Editorial Council (IFEC) and Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF).
7. How would you define the secret to success?
My secret to success is the people around me. I’ve been blessed to have a supportive family, friends and professional mentors. While that may sound a bit cliché, cultivating these relationships is key to a successful PR career. As a young professional, you can’t be afraid to put yourself out there to meet new people and then you must keep up with your network. Even if it’s just grabbing coffee with a past internship supervisor or a professor every once in a while, these little moments build up a network of support that leads to success.
8. What's your favorite thing about your career?
This may be repetitive, but I adore my co-workers. Deep is a magical office where people genuinely care about each other and work together as a team to produce top-notch work. Now that I’ve found a place with such a vibrant culture, I can’t imagine myself anywhere else.
9. What's your favorite thing about working in 417-land?
I’ve loved Springfield ever since I moved here in 2009. The downtown and local coffee scene immediately captivated me. This town is full of unexpected character and culture without being too big and overwhelming like a big city.
10. If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
There are so many careers out there that no one tells you about in high school (like PR). I would tell my high school self to stay encouraged because there is a career out there that is perfect for you in every way.
11. What was your “dream job” at age 5?
Well when I was little, I wrote, designed and delivered a newspaper called Fruit News to all of my neighbors on the street on a regular business. Now, I work with journalists and editors every day, so I’m kind of living my dream job.
12. List three traits that define a successful career:
- Hard work
13. Why are you a 20 Under 30?
I’m still so honored that my co-workers thought enough of me to nominate me for this award. Believe that I was selected because of my passion for the PR profession and Springfield community as a whole.
14. What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?
We’ve really tried to step up deep’s social media game lately, and I’m really proud of what we done and look forward what we will do this year. Recommend following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for an insider’s look into our quirky office culture including our weekly features such as #KeepWedsnesdaysClassy and #FridayFoodStories. Stay tuned for more antics!
15. What completed project are you most proud of?
One of my first real achievements as a PR professional was when I got Askinosie Chocolate into Food & Wine magazine through my persistent pitching efforts. Although seeing my work in publications is more common now, I still hang that original clipping from my first successful pitch as a reminder of where I started.
Fill in the following blanks with five words or less:
Friends makes life worth living.
A day at work wouldn't be complete without good food and laughter.
Ten years from now, I hope I'm an awesome mom.
If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would travel the world.
The best part about being a 20 under 30 is knowing my co-workers care.