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Alumna Spotlight: Jillian Mullin

Name: Jillian Mullin

Hometown: Lenexa, KS

Theta pledge class: MC ‘13

Where do you live now? Dallas, TX

When did you graduate from Mizzou? Spring 2017

Major/Degree: Bachelor of Journalism – Strategic Communication

What do you miss most about Mizzou?

The community! I really found my people in the four years I was at Mizzou. They made my Mizzou experience what it was. I can no longer walk the streets of downtown and wave ‘hello’ to friends right and left. Reestablishing that sense of community post graduation in a new, bigger city takes a lot of time, especially when you and everyone else works a full-time job.

What do you miss most about Theta?

*Brace yourselves for a philosophical answer* I knew that when I was at Theta or with my Theta friends, I was home. I was safe. I was known. Theta saw my true self and loved me deeply and embraced me thoroughly. Theta watched me grow up from an 18-year-old girl to a 22-year-old woman. My Theta sisters carried me through every peak and every valley. When I exited that environment after graduation, I moved to a city where nobody knew my name and had zero reason to give me the benefit of the doubt. I no longer had that comfort zone to fall back on. Like everyone eventually experiences at some point in life, I had to reestablish my reputation and sense of home again from scratch. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Where do you work right now/what have you been up to since graduation?

About 3 weeks after graduation, following a much-needed vacation with my lovely parents, I moved to Dallas, TX and started my first “real” advertising job as a Junior Art Director for The Marketing Arm. For 10 months, I worked on the Frito Lay account on the Cheetos, Doritos, and Tostitos brands, and last month, I switched to the Lay’s team under the same account. I now work exclusively on the Lay’s account designing limited edition packaging, social media posts, in-store promotions, experiential activations and helping with photo shoots while also being part of the the brainstorming and ideation process for the brand. In August, I traveled to New York with the Cheetos team to open and run the first ever Cheetos pop-up restaurant in Tribeca during New York Restaurant Week. I’m still waiting for something to top that.

Other future career/life goals:

Eventually, I aspire to be the Executive Creative Director for a large advertising agency. As of now, I want to stay on the agency side of advertising (opposed to the client side) because that’s where all the fun is! While Dallas has been a wonderful place to begin my career, I don’t see myself being here forever. In the future, I’d love to take the leap to New York take my career to the next level. That city is the Mecca of advertising and truly makes me feel like I’m at the center of the world. I also aspire to live aboard at some point, start a family and open a business with my sister. But who’s to say how my journey will actually play out? Life throws curveballs that are usually better than what I can dream up myself.

What's your favorite thing about your job?

Most days, (emphasis on most) it’s hard to find a workplace more fun than an advertising agency. The workplace reflects the creativity of the industry. It’s not buttoned-up or formal, to say the least. All day I get to hang out and laugh with other quirky co-workers while doing what I love in an environment that gives me freedom. Plus, there are always unexpected challenges around the corner. A couple weeks ago I spent half my workday designing flowers out of pickles. Next week I have to make a stop-motion animation using BBQ sauce and honey. I really never know what’s going to be next, but sometimes I get to feel like a little kid in art class and get paid for it.

What's your favorite thing about the city you live in?

It hardly ever gets too cold to function in Dallas, so people hang out around town all year round, at all hours of the day. I noticed this when I went to pick up a 9 p.m. carryout order on a winter Monday night at a random sushi restaurant in my neighborhood, and every seat and square foot was filled. People tend to hibernate in cold cities, and get in by 9 p.m. in smaller cities, but Dallas has neither of those problems. I can expect everywhere I go to be busy and full of life, no matter when and where I go. I love that about Dallas.

What are you passionate about?

This is a loaded question! My most all-encompassing answer is celebrating culture: food, art, tradition, fashion, music, dance, politics – I’m here for all of it. I cook, I go to festivals, I visit galleries, I follow the fashion world, I explore new music, etc. I’m captivated by rich culture and I think it’s vital to keep it thriving. This is part of the reason I’m so addicted to traveling; I enjoy learning about and embracing the culture in every city and country I visit. There isn’t a place I don’t want to visit. I live by the mantra that our differences are our only defense in the war against homogeneity. Embracing our own culture and learning about others is my most valuable way to live out this mantra. I know that if I aspire to make a valuable contribution in the world, I can’t influence that which I don’t know.

Do you have a specific favorite Theta memory?

I was a four-year member and one-year director of the Theta dance team, which absolutely led to some of my favorite memories and most cherished friends in college. It revealed to me how Theta facilitated this rare environment of community and friendship that transcended age, pledge class or stage of life; we were all one united team. I specifically loved every minute of participating in RAMS Rock-It. Nothing felt more empowering than taking the stage with my girl gang and representing Theta like bosses.

What do you do in your free time?

I’m always scheming my next weekend trip to see friends or explore a new city. With limited paid time off, I have to use my free time wisely to create a healthy balance of professional and personal life. Typically, I don’t go a month without hopping on a plane on a Friday afternoon to spend my weekend touring another city. I love traveling, so this is great way for me to create events in my schedule that I can look forward to. But when I am around Dallas, you can probably find me enjoying the gorgeous weather biking on the Katy trail, seeing the latest movies at Alamo Drafthouse or taking full advantage of the food scene on an Uptown patio.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I’ll forever be proud to be a Mizzou Theta. Thank you to all of the women past, present and future for making it what it is. TLAM!

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