Taking a tour

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I thought I’d begin my blog series by taking you on a tour of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  Since there are current and prospective WVU IMC students from across the globe, I decided this would be a fitting introduction.  I’ve had the unique opportunity to meet another student from Winston-Salem at the program’s INTEGRATE conference.  Yet, the majority of you will likely never visit the city I call home.

To most, it’s a “small town.”  To me, it’s a buzzing metropolis.  Compared to the places where I’ve grown up, it feels excitingly huge.

There are vast restaurant options, competitive athletic teams, and buildings that seemingly touch the sky.

The Winston-Salem skyline.

Nestled in the heart of our downtown, one of these buildings is an emerald green tower (jokingly referred to as “Oz”), which is the headquarters of BB&T Corporation.  My office is on the tenth floor – a proverbial think-tank where I create communication plans and advertisements to promote our benefits package.  I’m a lone marketing type among Human Resources professionals.  Luckily, the specialization offered by the IMC program helps me fit right in.  Last year, I took the Healthcare Communication and Marketing elective, which was very relevant to the medical program options our department administers.  I was also happy to see the program add an Internal Brand Communication class, which I’m slated to take next.  This course topic sums up the way I can most accurately describe what I do each day: “Communicating the brand of BB&T as an employer to our internal clients.”

Down the street, there’s the stadium where the local minor league baseball team – the Winston-Salem Dash – plays their home games.  The team is named after the punctuation mark that separates Winston and Salem.  As a former English major, I argue that it’s really a hyphen; no one seems to think that sounds very tough for a mascot.  The Dash venue is officially called BB&T Ballpark, as we have the naming rights for a number of facilities throughout the area.  I’m currently planning an event we will host at the field, coordinating all facets of the game (including ticketing strategies, attendee activities, in-game advertisements, and more).   It’s a good thing I just finished my Sports Marketing elective!

On the other side of Winston-Salem’s downtown sits one of my favorite spots on earth: Ziggy’s, a “Roots, Rock, Reggae” music club that brings in everyone from underground acts to big-name bands.  Since it’s triumphant reopening, I’ve seen guitar great, Keller Williams; 90’s throwbacks, Cowboy Mouth; and quirky jam band icons, moe.  This weekend, I’ll be retro-rocking out to Southern Culture on the Skids, a band from right here in North Carolina.  To put it mildly, music is my life.  I particularly love the indie genre, and I played in a punk band back in a former life.

Keller Williams jamming at Ziggy’s, taken from my front-row spot — practically on the stage.

Just outside the city limits – on the outskirts of favorite local sandwich shops, a not-frequented-enough gym with an indoor rock climbing wall, an independent movie theater, craft breweries, and intriguing used book stores – is a small community called Advance.  There are golf courses and tennis courts as far as the eye can see.  As a former college tennis player at Gardner-Webb University, it’s the perfect place for my wife and I to live in the house we recently purchased.

Walking into the house, meandering around sports memorabilia and stepping over two small dogs, you’ll come to a small office with a computer.  This is my gateway to WVU – a school I have wanted to attend since I became a fan in my undergraduate days.  It is a vehicle that transports me there, from my home here in Winston-Salem.  And, it is where I’ll be writing these blog posts, which I hope find their way to you – wherever you may be.

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