Provide a brief bio/background.  Examples of things to include could be; name, where you work and what you do, how long you’ve been in Decatur, your educational background, kids&pets, hobbies etc. 

  • Kiersten Sheary, Skeff Distributing Company, Inc. Communications Manager, but I just recently accepted a new position at Illinois State University as an Online Marketing Coordinator in the College of Education and I start in March.
  • I was born in Decatur at St. Mary’s then my family moved to Indiana for 10 years, then moved back to Maroa/Forsyth area. Currently, my fiance Brock & our two Australian Shepherds, Oakley & Maui, reside in Decatur on the Northwest end.
  • I graduated from Maroa-Forsyth High School and then went on to obtain my Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations with a minor in Sociology from Illinois State University in December 2017. I then returned back to obtain my Master of Science degree in Communications from Illinois State University in Fall 2018. I will graduate with my MS this May 2020.

What was your biggest career fail or lesson learned? 

  •   My biggest career/personal lesson learned was accepting the fact that I’m never going to be just interested in working in one field or having one area of expertise and that’s OKAY! I have many interests and many fields that I want to learn all about and if I see something that intrigues my interests I want to know more. Accepting this has been hard because it would probably be a lot easier to be apart of one field if I were a more specific person. For example, “I want to be in HR or I want to be in the medical field.” We always joke in my field about how you are getting a communications degree for everything and for nothing at all; however, that’s the beauty of it because my opportunities are endless.While I recognize that I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to get a higher education, I’ve also had the hard lesson of learning that a higher education isn’t enough anymore. It’s becoming the bare minimum to even apply for careers and a candidate has to do a lot more than have a piece of paper and a good GPA.

What is your favorite outreach/fundraiser you have been a part of and why?  

  • I always enjoy the Judy Thanksgiving boxes because I’ve been doing it with my mom since Middle School. It’s such an easy way to help out around the holidays and still have a big impact.

  What is your ultimate dream?

  • My ultimate dream is to retire in Kauai or Maui and live on a huge piece of land with lots of Australian Shepherds lol. Pipe dream? Maybe! But, I’m working towards it! ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Also, a big dream is to flip houses. We recently renovated our house and I loved the interior design and landscaping parts so much I think it would be a fun side business or something full time once I retire. I could look at houses on Zillow for days and I just pick them apart on all the changes I would make haha.

  What is your favorite professional resource/tool? 

  •  PEOPLE! I can’t stress this enough. If you know and have good relationships with people they will forever be your greatest resource. I still reach out to my old professors, mentors, and bosses from internships. Keeping those professional relationships alive is key to being successful in any field especially in our community.
  • Also, coinciding with this is confidence. There have been so many times where I’m petrified to go network with someone that I know is important in the community or whatever the situation may be. But, sometimes you just have to know your worth and go for it!

 Why did you join NextGen, what do you hope to get from being a member or why do you think Decatur needs NextGen?  

  • I joined NextGen originally to network for potential job opportunities and to get more involved in the community with other younger like-minded professionals. Now, I would really love to giveback to students. Potentially I think Decatur NextGen needs a mentorship program maybe with High School or College students from Richland/Millikin. I would love to be able to help a student(s) even if it’s just letting them pick my brain or giving them a resource in their interested field to ask questions by giving them my email. I think this would be great for our community & to grow NextGen for future generations.

 Which NexGen member would you like to nominate for a future spotlight?  

  • I would like to nominate Eva Das because I met her through NextGen and she was so helpful in trying to give me insight into open jobs at DMH. It was extremely kind of her to take the time out of her day to help me and I really appreciate it!