Stacey Engle (’08) awarded 2015 UW Comm Alumni Mentor Award

Stacey Engle headshotGraduating from high school in Virginia, Stacey Engle’s (B.A., 2008) friends and family didn’t expect her to attend a West Coast college – but University of Washington was the school she was set on. She has gone full circle as a student and now an alumna being named the recipient of the UW Department of Communication’s 2015 Alumni Award for Excellence in Mentoring.

Engle’s father was a Navy officer, which meant she moved every few years, but it was the three years she spent in Seattle as a little girl that stole her heart.

“I remember being in the San Juan Islands crabbing in the Puget Sound and loving being in the Pacific Northwest,” she said. “So when the early admit letters all came out and I got mine from the UW, I said, ‘I’m done!’ while all my friends scurried to get more applications out.”

Packing up all her belongings and moving across country was a familiar feeling, but nonetheless an adventure that landed her in a city where she knew no one. She started taking classes in political science and business, but then communications caught her interest.

“I took a couple communications classes because I was really interested in how they fit with the business courses I was taking, especially the effect of mass media and interpersonal communications. It’s all so integral to marketing,” Engle said. “I fell in love with the classes and the Department, and committed myself to getting a degree in Communication in addition to Business because I felt it was a more well-rounded approach.”

Engle worked all through college at Kidder Mathews, a commercial real estate firm, and decided to go a different route after studying abroad in Greece during her junior year. Right as she was graduating, the program was going to end – that’s when she devoted her time to making sure the program still happened for other students.

“It was a gift to help students get to Greece and continue to do the civil society research,” she said. “I acted as a liaison for a year doing research and documentary production with professors, students, and locals in Greece.”

After returning from abroad, Engle dove into marketing roles, ranging from technology with Microsoft vendors to freelance work, which eventually landed her at Fierce, Inc. – a leadership development company that specializes in improving workplace communication. She has built the marketing department at the company, directly contributing to its continual double digit growth and landing it on the Inc. 5000 list for four years and receiving Best Places to Work awards.

“Yes – I am the person who has degrees in communication and marketing, and now has a marketing job at a communication company,” Engle said. “I often tell students that your degree doesn’t have to translate that literally; the skills translate though. As the head of marketing at Fierce, communication skills are relevant to me every day – writing, public relations, talking to the media, speaking, everything.”

While striving to grow every day, Engle said giving back is essential because focusing on helping others is above all else. She joined the UW Department of Communication Alumni Board in 2011 and served as president in 2013-2014. There, she led the branding and creation of Career Kickstart workshops that have continued to flourish in helping prepare students for life after college. This academic year, she is founding chair of the UW Department of Communication Professional Development Board that focuses on alumni outreach, recent graduate engagement, and supporting other Department initiatives. She often mentors students at professional development workshops and plans to bring students to Fierce on a Career Exploration fieldtrip in May.

“I’m personally passionate about helping students navigate and see the diverse paths they can pursue with a degree in communication,” Engle said. “I always share with them that I learned a lot about what I wanted to do by doing things that I didn’t necessarily want to do – it’s more about saying ‘yes, I’ll try it’ than having a preconceived notion about what it should be. There’s no way I’d be in the position I am today without all of my experiences. And all the people who helped me along the way.”

Loyal to putting her money where her mouth is, Engle recruits volunteers and donors to help the Department. Additionally, she supported a table at last year’s Leadership Luncheon – a prime example of digging deep into resources to connect academic with professional and personal learning experiences (part of the award description).

“I am really grateful to receive this award; I have met the most amazing people,” she said. “It made me think of some of the times I signed up to get stacks of resumes to go through and the students that I’ve kept in touch with telling me they got their dream job,” she said. “That’s what it is about – helping them get to where they want to go.”

“The Department has so many brilliant minds and hearts, so this acknowledgement meant a lot to me and it definitely drives me to want to do more for the students,” she said.