Our SMS professionals serve as ambassadors for our certification program here at NISM. Not only are they knowledgeable about our curriculum, but they also share our passion for social media. Best of all, their stories help shape our organization and the work that we do here.
We are bringing back our series “Meet and Greet,” which introduces you to one of our SMS professionals and shares their story. It is our hope that by sharing these stories, not only will you learn more about others who share your passion for being an SMS professional, but that you also will want to connect with them further. We encourage you to “meet” this featured individual by reaching out to them through your favorite social media platform or comment at the section below this article.
And with that, we’d like to introduce you to Wendy Wicks and her story.
Hi, Wendy! Please tell us a little about yourself and the work you do.
I’ve enjoyed a long career as a writer and communications professional – working in scholarly publishing and then health care. I’ve also been a guest speaker for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota for several years. More recently, my work has focused on public relations and corporate communications for UCare – where I’ve worked for 16 years. I love telling a good story and earning my wonderful employer (a nonprofit, community-based health plan) recognition in the media and other venues. I manage all of UCare’s social media assets and content.
What do you love most about the work that you do?
The opportunity to tell UCare’s story, and showcase our people power and innovations to improve the health of Minnesotans. I enjoy learning about all the initiatives across our organization and sharing them with the community. UCare is truly a mission-driven organization, and it’s a pleasure to amplify and frankly brag about the organization and its good works.
I also enjoy supporting my fellow co-workers with a robust internal communications program. I am fortunate that communication is a core value at UCare – and that I get to work with many of our senior leaders on crafting effective messages to keep our employees engaged and in the know, especially during the pandemic.
Loving the cause you work for is so important! You had said you work on UCare’s social media content. What prompted you to explore certification as a social media strategist?
I wanted to polish my craft and follow the best practices in social media. I also think that certification adds a boost to my professional status. Another benefit is being part of a community of social media strategists.
We’d have to agree, our community is pretty great. The SMS exam is focused on 6 different content domains. Which is your favorite and why?
I liked the Community Management domain. Sometimes you learn the most from listening and making new connections through social networks.
What advice would you give someone thinking about certification?
Make time to prioritize studying for the exam and apply what you learn to what you do in social media.
Yes, studying is so important but applying what you learn is what matters most. Before we go, can you tell us something unique about yourself?
Many moons ago, I earned a certification in Labanotation (dance notation) from the Dance Notation Bureau (NYC). Labanotation is a method for recording human movement (sort of like notes in music). I am a ballet geek and love all things dance.
Wow, that is unique! Wendy, thank you for your willingness to share your story with us. Keep up the excellent work!
Author: Celeste Russell
Hailing from Las Vegas, Nevada, Celeste began working with NISM as a summer intern in 2019. Since then she has found a real home in the community, earned her SMS certification, and currently works as the Social Media Coordinator. Celeste graduated from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Acting & Communication for the Arts. Her passions have always included effective communication both on and off the stage and she is grateful that working with NISM allows her the opportunity to pursue her acting career simultaneously.
Feel free to connect with Celeste on LinkedIn.