My Journey to CHEN: Surrounding Ventures with Comfort

Company Culture, Public Relations Posted Feb 21, 2020 by Claire Mutty

Yes, I only started at CHEN this week. And yes, “love” is a strong word to use for a company I just met. But my fellow employees have given me several reasons to genuinely love my new job. From homemade banana bread on my first day, to constant support and willingness to answer questions throughout the week, I already understand why “family” is a common synonym used to describe the company culture at CHEN. Despite only having a few days’ worth of experience in the industry, I’d be surprised if another high-tech public relations company made a newcomer feel as welcome and special, while still devoting full attention to next week’s major cybersecurity event: RSA Conference.

What led me to be a CHENer? Well, I believe the answer lies nearly four years ago at the end of April 2016. College selection day was drawing near and I was torn between two schools that, in my opinion, could not be more opposite. One had more than 15,000 students and was located in Chicago; the other had less than 2,500 in total enrollment and was nestled in Colchester, Vermont. I found myself debating between the risk of a distant city and the familiarity of a local, small school. Ultimately, my heart was drawn to Saint Michael’s College in the cozy Burlington area, especially after spending my Accepted Student Day visit ogling the mountains that outline Lake Champlain, eating delicious farm-to-table food, and petting countless dogs on Church Street.

Two amazing years later, I was a second-semester junior craving new adventure. And as a French and Business double major, I wanted to improve my fluency and inter-cultural skills. The obvious solution was to study abroad. Yet again, I was pulled toward mountains. I spent my spring semester in Grenoble, the heart of the French Alps. During the short five months, I stepped far outside my comfort zone (for arguably the first time in my life) – living with a host family who hardly spoke English, attending solely French classes at the local university, and traveling to a new European country each weekend. I absolutely loved it. So much so that I barely returned home. I attended my sister’s graduation and then was immediately whisked away again, this time to Hong Kong for a two-month summer internship.

Here was another incredible adventure thanks to Saint Mike’s and a generous scholarship. I started to build on the international business career I had imagined for myself, working in the marketing department for local co-working and event space company The Wave. There I discovered the type of workplace I could greatly benefit from: intimate with a close-knit community focused on growth, teamwork and fun. I will always be grateful for the professional experience I gained, and I will forever treasure the bonds I formed with my co-workers. Traveling to white-sand beaches and hiking breathtaking islands on the weekends were a bonus. Don’t let the crowded, bustling city intimidate you – Hong Kong is spectacular.

Upon returning home, and just before starting my senior year, I realized it was possible for me to graduate a semester early. I felt ready to permanently leave the undergraduate classroom and dive further into the professional world. If you learn anything from reading this blog, I hope it’s the next piece of advice: utilize your friend and alumni network! For months leading up to my graduation reception in December, I had full-time opportunities laid out before me. In early January, I started my interview process with CHEN. As if it were speed dating, I felt an instant connection. Multiple friends and family members mentioned the importance of seizing my available time and expanding my horizon. Yet, I couldn’t let CHEN go. Public relations was drawing me in because it promised excitement: forming personal relationships with both clients and reporters, organizing agendas, staying updated on current events, and much more. For CHEN, that meant following the constant change and innovation of the fast-paced technology industry at a company with impressive PR experience.

The position seemed to me the perfect balance between risk and comfort: starting my career early in an industry unfamiliar to me, surrounded by wonderful co-workers willing to take me under their wings in my home city of Boston. The moment I stepped out of the elevator on my first day and saw the thoughtful, welcoming gestures around the office, I knew I had won the gamble. I’m extremely excited to learn more about PR and the high-tech industry each day as I continue to take on life with CHEN by my side.