My 12-month journey as the Levitt Foundation’s 2022–2023 inaugural Communications Fellow has been a tremendous learning opportunity that has been immensely rewarding, and I am thrilled to share a bit about my experience the past year with you.
I was born and raised in Southern California—the land of sunshine, palm trees, and avocados—where I developed a lifelong passion for the arts. From the time I was seven, I began playing classical piano, and eventually, I could even play by ear. Music has always been a mode of artistic expression and relaxation for me. While working toward my Public Relations and Advertising major at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, I extended this interest by enrolling in classes such as “Music, Politics, and Social Movements,” giving me the opportunity to explore music’s impact from a global, social, and political perspective.
Having experienced the ability of the performing arts to spark creative and emotional growth, build connections with others, and inspire social change, I was drawn to the Levitt Foundation’s mission to creating thriving communities through the power of free, live music. I believed the Foundation’s Communications Fellowship would be a great opportunity to hone my communications skills and contribute to a cause that resonated with me. As Levitt’s Communications Fellow, I have worked on a multitude of projects, including blog posts, research, media, and social content.
If I could describe a typical workday at Levitt in two words, it would be: “joyously busy.” I balance multiple projects with varying deadlines in a fast-paced and highly collaborative environment.
During my fellowship, among other projects, I played a key role in promoting and monitoring the annual #MusicMoves contest, an Instagram campaign that captures the energy and excitement of experiencing Levitt concerts across the country. I crafted compelling social media posts to continue inspiring Levitt audience members to share their memorable moments on the lawn throughout the campaign. When the season was over, I created the 2022 #MusicMoves recap video, featuring engaging photos and clips from Levitt concertgoers nationwide, that was shared on our website, social media and email newsletter distributed to nearly 100,000 subscribers. It was exhilarating to play a role in showcasing the joy, inclusivity, and dynamism that free, live music brings to communities. Attending Levitt concerts, I gained a first-hand perspective into how music moves communities in activated outdoor spaces. A particular highlight for me was experiencing the 2023 Levitt National Tour artist La Santa Cecilia at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles in MacArthur Park alongside fellow Levitt Foundation colleagues.
My capstone research project, which I worked on over a period of months, was an intensive communications strategy audit exceeding 70 pages, exploring how other foundations communicate the launch of major initiatives. I analyzed external foundation communications channels, including websites, blogs, press releases, and social networks, before compiling a comprehensive report with the guidance of the communications team. I take pride knowing that this audit will help provide background and insight as the Foundation strategizes impactful ways to communicate their major initiatives for years to come.
Being in a professional setting for the first time, my supervisors and colleagues helped me strengthen essential skills for the workplace. Operating within a small, collaborative team with a high output required me to adapt quickly to time-sensitive projects, competing priorities, and swift turnaround times. Organization was key because it helped me work effectively and more efficiently. These opportunities were a reminder that learning continues far beyond the classroom.
While I was able to continue familiarizing myself with software programs I had learned in college, such as Microsoft PowerPoint and Adobe Lightroom, I also became familiar with new tools, such as Adobe Premiere Pro and SharePoint. All these tools helped me become more tech savvy in our current digital era. It was extremely rewarding to witness the joy on our grantees’ faces as they watched a slideshow video I created during the 2023 Levitt National Convening, a gathering that took place last February in Los Angeles bringing together Levitt grantee partners from across the country. Speaking of which, I loved gaining the opportunity to meet the grantees and learn more about their work.
Speaking and presentation skills were also essential to my time at Levitt. Whether it was through giving formal presentations during team meetings, or participating in weekly Communications meetings, I was able to refine and develop multi-faceted skills that increased my confidence as a professional.
A lot can happen in a year: I worked my first job, met inspiring people, and flourished both professionally and personally. Serving as the Communications Fellow at the Levitt Foundation enabled me to see the impact of creative messaging and storytelling on audiences, and to further explore my passion for sharing stories with visual interest. I learned new skills and competencies, oftentimes surprising myself during the process. I will always treasure my year at the Levitt Foundation!