Kinsey Lane Sullivan is communications coordinator at TRUPOINT Partners in Charlotte, North Carolina. The company provides regulatory compliance solutions and consulting services, and it works with more than 450 financial institutions nationwide. In this interview, conducted by email, Sullivan discusses her job, her journalism training and her freelance interests.
Q. Describe your job at TRUPOINT Partners. What is your typical day like?
A. Every day at TRUPOINT is different. In my book, that’s one of the benefits of working at a small and growing entrepreneurial business.
I’m the communications coordinator, and I lead the marketing initiatives. That being said, a typical day involves lots of collaboration. I work with almost everyone in our company at least once daily.
Generally speaking, I spend half of my time on inbound content strategy and the other half on outbound marketing strategy. Branding, advertising, writing, editing, design, analysis, audience research and even conferences planning are all part of the role.
Another aspect of my role that wouldn’t show up on a resumé is learning the industry. Regulatory compliance is a specialized field. It requires a lot of technical knowledge. Learning the nuances of compliance has been a critical part of my job, and one of the most interesting.
Q. You graduated from the journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013. What skills that you learned there do you use in your job? What new skills have you picked up?
A. One of the greatest skills that studying journalism teaches you is to consume information in various formats, from biased sources, and then reframe that information in way that is informative, trustworthy and readable.
Almost everything I know about writing, editing and design I learned in the j-school. That includes InDesign from your class and editorial writing with Professor Brinson. I’ve also drawn heavily from lessons I learned in Professor O’Connor’s reporting class as I dissect government publications.
Almost everything I know about marketing and communication strategy I’ve learned on the job.
I studied reporting, and the wall between the editorial and advertising sides of journalism is substantial. I see that changing rapidly in the industry, but I didn’t have any exposure to promotional communication while I was in school.
Truth and clarity will always be central to effective communication, but so is knowing your audience. From that perspective, the editorial-advertising fusion is natural.
Q. You also have freelanced at Mic and elsewhere. What do you like to write about, and how do you go about pitching ideas for freelance pieces?
A. I love freelancing. I’ve been doing it since I was in the j-school and started submitting pieces from Professor Cole’s feature writing class to local publications. My first published piece was a front-page feature on beekeeping that was published in the Chapel Hill Herald-Sun in 2011. That experience got me hooked.
I’ve been focusing on digital media lately and am writing for two niche media platforms. The first is Mic, which is geared toward a politically engaged millennial audience. The second is HelloGiggles, which features positive stories with a feminist slant.
Art is my passion, so that’s what I cover most. I do research online, and when I find an artist or an event that is compelling, I pitch it! Cultivating good relationships with my editors has really helped me have the freedom to pitch whatever I want.
Without a specific connection to a platform, I’ve found it to be easier to pitch online. That being said, I wouldn’t be freelancing today if I hadn’t done the legwork to get in touch with friends of friends (of friends) who were already established in the field. It may be intimidating, but that networking is just what you have to do – and everyone is doing it.
Q. You’re succeeding in a competitive field. What advice do you have for journalism students who are pursuing internships and jobs?
A. The field is changing a lot. Be open to new experiences and opportunities, and be flexible. There are many opportunities for people who communicate well.
Also, leverage your resources! If you’re in school, there’s no excuse not to take advantage of the career services and the knowledge of your mentors. If you’re out of school, start having conversations with friends and family about where you want to go and who they may know.
Your path will almost certainly be unconventional, so embrace that. It’s a lot of fun!