There are few news outlets that connect with their readers like theSkimm.
The New York City media company is known across the web for its widely read Daily Skimm newsletter, which quickly recaps the biggest stories in subscribers’ inboxes so they can start their day in the know.
But it doesn’t stop there: theSkimm has an app that keeps users up to-date on news, upcoming events and more, and the outlet creates guides on the issues and stories everyone is talking about.
And for the 20,000 most engaged Skimm’rs, theSkimm has created a loyal grassroots community, complete with Skimm swag, meetups, networking events, and a private Facebook group. And one of the people making sure those dedicated readers — also known as Skimm’bassadors — stay engaged is CofC grad Kara Cronin ’14.
The New Hampshire native moved up to the Big Apple after graduating from the College and immediately made her mark keeping theSkimm’s popular ambassador program up and running.
Tell me a little bit about your background and how you ended up at CofC.
I grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire, and heard about CofC from my dad’s client whose daughter was a year or two ahead of me. That’s how it first got on my radar. I thought I wanted to stay a bit closer to home, but after several visits I didn’t find that “home” feeling everyone talks about. So my dad and I took a quick trip down to Charleston so I could cross it off my list, and an hour after arriving downtown, he looked at me and said, “You don’t want to leave, do you?” I quickly fell in love with the city, and was able to connect with a few communication professors who made me feel like CofC was the place for me. I enrolled the next day.
What is your current job title and how would you describe your responsibilities?
My official title is “Skimm’bassador Skimm’r”, and I’m focused on community engagement. Our Skimm’bassadors are 20,000 of theSkimm’s most engaged members. They help the company with grassroots marketing and product testing. They connect with us at Skimm HQ and connect with each other through local meetups, networking programs and a private Facebook group. And they rep Skimm swag.
I do a lot of the day-to-day work that keeps our brand ambassador program up and running, and brainstorm new ideas to keep Skimm’bassadors engaged. I also organize local meetups around the country and travel to meet with Skimm’bassadors face-to-face. How can brands leverage our most engaged Skimm’rs? How can we connect Skimm’bassadors to one another? How can we continue to add value to the program? Those are all questions I ask myself each day.
What experiences at the College stand out as having prepared you for this role?
I was very involved in many areas of campus. I worked with the Higdon Student Leadership Center, I was an orientation intern, I was president of my sorority and I helped start “Committed to Charleston.”
Through all of those experiences I was exposed to excellent mentors and had the opportunity to work with people very different from myself. I learned to be a self starter and to follow my passions. But the best prep for my job at theSkimm was my senior capstone, Wired and Inspired. Dr. Merissa Ferrara spoke my language. The class was all about doing what you needed to do to propel yourself forward; be creative, confident, and always push the envelope. In my job, you have to be open to trying new things, going with the flow and testing ideas that are out of the box. At theSkimm you also touch just about every project and work together with just about every member of the team — and startups move a mile a minute. It is challenging and exciting. So that class definitely prepared me to be ready for anything and feel good about wearing many hats.
What drew you to theSkimm as a career path?
I was never a person who had a concrete career plan. I didn’t have a specific dream job, but there were a few things I was always sure I wanted: to work with smart people, to exercise creative freedom and to be in an environment where I would be challenged and always learning. I was a huge fan of theSkimm and became a Skimm’bassador pretty early on. I was inspired by the co-founders and their company’s mission. They came up with a brilliant idea to make it easier to be smarter… to tell you what’s happening in the world in a voice I could relate to. I knew right away that it was something I wanted to be a part of.
What do you like most about living and working in New York City?
There’s so much to do! Endless restaurants to try, live music to check out and our office isn’t too far from Broadway so it’s easy to catch a show. Plus, my sister and brother-in-law live in the city. It’s great to have family here.
What advice would you offer students interested in pursuing a career similar to yours?
First: Don’t be afraid to go after what you want. Be scrappy and prove that you’re willing to work hard. Second: Make sure the company is the right fit for you, just as the employer will make sure you’re right fit for the company. Company culture is a huge reason I was so attracted to theSkimm, and a huge reason I’m so happy here.