Name: Kirsi Dahl
College & Majors/Minors: St. Cloud State University English/Education
Current Location: Minnesota
Current Form of Employment: Brand Communications
Where do you work and what is your current position?
3M is a global company based in Minnesota. At 3M, we take science and apply it to life. It’s often said that you’re never more than few feet from a 3M product (whether you know it or not!). While a large majority of 3M’s business is industrial, some of its most famous products come from the consumer business: Scotch® and Post-it® brands, for example. I’m the Brand Communications Manager for the Scotch-Brite™ Brand. Whether in your kitchen, bathroom or even your clothing, if you’ve ever cleaned anything, you’ve probably used a Scotch-Brite™ brand product!
Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).
When I graduated from college with my English teaching degree (grades 7-12), there were significant cuts in education budgets in my area and the school district referendums had failed. I wasn’t able to get a job in my home state. So I substitute taught for several years and then having started my family realized I would need a more reliable job. My English degree got me a position as an Office Manager at a small company. In this role, I was able to wear many different hats: finance, sales, marketing, and PR. I learned what I liked (marketing/PR) and what was less desirable (finance!) From there I moved to a design agency and worked with clients at 3M for many years helping them build their brands. When one of my long-term clients moved on to a new role, I knew I’d want to move to the client side where I’d have the opportunity to develop and influence the strategy vs. executing against it.
What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?
In my office manager role, I was responsible for not only strategizing the marketing and press material content, but also writing it, distributing and following-through with press contacts. This experience was an important foundation builder for me, particularly in realizing the importance of knowing your audience and crafting content appropriately.
What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?
As part of my Education degree, there was a lot of rigor around teaching methodologies. Cooperative learning and lesson planning in particular standout as preparatory course work of which the basic principles are something that I still leverage today.
What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?
No matter what career English degree graduates go into, I think that we all have something in common: a passion for clear and effective communications (written or spoken.) It is hard to believe how rare these skills are in the workplace. If you do nothing but bring these passions and skills, you will stand out.