Thursday, May 19, 2016

From Boston, tattooed with curiosity

@vargas1 Skyping in to #clarkclass from Boston

"Put community first," said 2000 UCO grad Lauren Vargas, one of the most astounding students I've been privileged to know, to #clarkclass. "No matter what form of media it takes," she added, Skyped into class from her home in Boston.
She is not an "early adopter" of new media; she's a "first adopter," and it's lead to multiple successes since she's graduated. Her Linked In resume will tire you out, moving from helping set up Department of Defense digital operations to her current position as director of marketing technology ad operations for Aetna in Boston.
She's a lifelong learner, currently working on a doctorate in museum studies at a university in England. With two masters degrees, one from Harvard where she's an adjunct professor, she started here as a Public Relations grad. Her first MA was in communications, with a thesis about  digital media changing PR forever, in spite of being discouraged by the powers-that-were who didn't believe it.
She's a voracious reader, and rattled off books to students to consider.  She's a self-described nerd, but more, and certainly not a traditionalist as shown by her collection of wild glasses matches her "Mad Hatter" moniker also.
I best enjoy, other than her friendship, her comment about everyone having a "digital tattoo," which she coined in speaking to school students about using social media (What you put out there isn't going away). Yes, she has real tattoos--my favorite "Nevermore" with a raven on her forearm. And all of hers have special meanings, she says.
Her outlook on social media, including twitter brings this great quote: 
"We don't understand the ripple effects. Using twitter is like designing, building and flying a plane, all at the same time." 
I deeply appreciate her emphasis on curiosity, which I think has tattooed her every success as a forward-looking woman and profesisonal. I hope it inspires my students; it does me.
Here are student debriefing comments, recorded by @AshleyNapier:
@Vargasl debriefing
  • She’s a real go-getter. She is very involved in education and isn’t afraid to leave her comfort zone.
  • She is accomplished and has gone head-first into everything
  • It’s cool she sucked it up and took a government job even when it wasn’t glamorous
  • Social media has remained constant, there hasn’t been a lot of significant changes
  • She reads 3-4 books a week, it’s impressive
  • She is tenacious
  • She is vibrant and bright and works for an insurance company
  • It’s cool that someone from UCO can go to Harvard and eventually end up teaching at Harvard
  • She doesn’t follow the rules, it has allowed her to stand out
  • It is important for everyone to understand and carry out the company brand
  • Her awesomeness makes us feel inferior
  • She is integrated and involved in everything that she does
  • You have to build trust through conversation
  • Always be curious
  • If it happens, it happens- we should remember to take risks
  • Even though her creativity was stifled at times, she was unafraid to try new things
  • Everyone’s voice has an equal weight on social media
  • Be the bridge to the community

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