Former student attributes success to involvement with speech team

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Living abroad enhances a résumé along with practical experience.

By Katya Harmel

Students should take advantage of résumé-building opportunities in college, the marketing communications manager at AT&T Services said March 27 in a workshop sponsored by the speech program in McCreless Theater.

Mike Martinez, who attended this college 1991-1993, said his participation in campus activities and internships during college strengthened his résumé and helped him acquire his current job.

He emphasized the positive experience he had competing on this college’s speech team. He specialized in interpretation competitions, which included drama and prose events and won national best multiple times.

He told the audience to take advantage of campus resources and activities such as the speech team, theater or the campus newspaper.

“Get involved in activities,” he said. “For me it was the speech team; for you, it may be writing for The Ranger.”

He said internships help build work experience and help an individual make good contacts.

He interned for fine arts Chair Jeff Hunt as the assistant coach of the speech team.

“That was an awesome, awesome experience,” he said. “Your education is so important, but your internships are going to show a potential employer that you have some experience in what you are studying.”

Martinez explained he was a quiet person until his senior year in high school.

 “I did not put much of myself out there,” he said.

He said he felt as if he had nothing to lose his senior year and decided to join theater and choir, which created opportunities for him.

“I thought, ‘Why did I wait so long to put myself out there?’” he said.

One opportunity was to live abroad in Serbia as an exchange student for one year. The opportunity was presented to him by the American Field Service Intercultural Programs.

The purpose of the program was to provide American students the experience of living in a country different from their own.

“There was no coming back for Christmas, no coming back for birthdays,” he said.

Martinez said the time away from home taught him three important lessons.

“First, it taught me how to look at myself as an individual and made me realize I am capable of so much more,” he said. “It made me appreciate what we take for granted in this country every day. Finally, it broke off the ‘San Antonio visor.’”

Martinez encouraged the audience to travel abroad if they have not left the parameters of Texas because the world offers perspectives one would not encounter at home.

Martinez transferred to the University of the Incarnate Word in 1994. He changed his major from business to communications and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts in 1997.

His résumé displayed his achievements in speech, his internships and his travels away from Texas, which elevated the confidence his employer had to promote him.

Martinez began working part-time with the company while taking night classes at Incarnate Word. After graduating, he was promoted to work in diversity advertising, mass media and direct mail — the position he holds today.

Working for direct mail, Martinez creates catalogs and letters to be distributed across the country to sell AT&T products.

He said he contacts specific individuals to collect information on ways to target their needs and sell the products.

“In the world of advertising, nothing happens by accident,” he said.

He said the communications industry is split in two: the agency side and the client side.

“No matter what facet of communications you go into, there will always be this dynamic of agency versus client,” he said.

He said the agency side provides a laid-back atmosphere filled with creative people but requires a lot of energy. One con of working on the agency side is not being able to work from home, he said.

He explained an agency job requires collaboration with other employees, and working from home severs the fluid communication between agency workers.

Working on the client side, Martinez’s side, allows employees to work from home, and the agency does what it can to keep the employees satisfied, he said.

“It’s the agency’s job to make sure that you are happy,” he said. “They’re going to take us to dinner whenever they’re in town.”

He said he has five agency employees who report to him for projects, so a negative aspect of the job is constantly having to answer to them.

“Sometimes I turn off my phone and throw it and say, ‘Don’t call me anymore!’” he said.  


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