Broadcasting, Better Business and Beyond
Sometimes it’s hard to know where your dreams will take you. That’s what Katie Mitzner ‘98 has learned in her whirlwind eight years since graduating from Alma.
Pursuing her ambition to be a television news anchor before starting a career in public relations, Mitzner has worked in five cities and four states, relocating most recently to Los Angeles — a locale and lifestyle far from her Mason, Mich., origin.
While the news industry can be difficult to break into, Mitzner was more resolute than most in pursuing her goal. Determined to work her way up the broadcasting hierarchy, she often reported to the newsroom at 3:00 a.m. to prepare for the day’s broadcasts.
Mitzner’s dream to be in television broadcasting began in high school and only strengthened during her time at Alma. A communication major, she gained practical broadcasting experience through several internships.
Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and Mitzner '98
After graduation she worked part-time at a CBS affiliate station in Lansing before becoming a newsroom assistant. The determined Alma alumna moved on to field reporting, working at news stations in Lansing, Arkansas and Flint over the course of six years. Though she admits that working in the news industry “can be very stressful and chaotic at times,” Mitzner thrived on the unique demands of broadcasting.
“News operates on its own schedule,” she says. “It’s a whole world of its own.”
While she enjoyed broadcasting, after six years in the “crazy, crazy business,” Mitzner was ready for change.
“I wanted to be more in control of my life,” she says of the career move. Relocating with her husband, Todd Dagenais, to Colorado Springs, Mitzner entered the public relations field as director of communications for the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado. Mitzner enjoyed the flexibility and freedom of her new position, where she was still involved with the media, but able to operate on a normal schedule.
“I wanted to branch out, to gain a part of my life back,” she says. “I loved the news, and it was very hard to leave, but I don’t regret it.”
After a year in Colorado it was time to move again — this time to Los Angeles. When her husband left an assistant coaching position with the U.S. Volleyball National Team to become head assistant volleyball coach at the University of Southern California, Mitzner took over as director of communications for the Better Business Bureau of the Southland in Southern California.
As in Colorado Springs, Mitzner works primarily with the media in the Los Angeles area, relying heavily on knowledge and skills she gained in broadcasting. She helps the bureau represent consumers by taking their stories to the media, which in turn informs the public. In many ways Mitzner acts as an intermediary between fraud or scam investigators and the media. She feels “a sense of accomplishment” when a message or report she helped develop reaches consumers through media outlets.
Mitzner says her own Alma experience had a “profound impact” on her development.
“My Alma experience was the best four years of my life so far,” she says, reflecting on the academic, social and personal growth she experienced as an undergraduate. Micheal Vickery was Mitzner’s faculty mentor and “guiding force at Alma,” while study abroad and Spring Term experiences opened her eyes to the world.
Reflecting on the influence of her collegiate roots, Mitzner says, “I am who I am because of my years at Alma.”
– Kelly O’Connor '05