KUEC graduate Christian Vedder returns to school to become more marketable, earning his master’s in integrated marketing communications
Broadcast journalist. Navy veteran. High school teacher. Video production/marketing company owner. Despite his vast experience, KUEC 2019 graduate Christian Vedder knows you can never stop learning ... or teaching. That may be why academic advisor Matt Tidwell chose 49-year-old Vedder as an outstanding graduate as he earns his Master of Science in Journalism – Integrated Marketing Communications this spring. Married to Erika, he is a dad to five daughters – Kara 18, Nicole, 16, Ciera, 14, Cori, 6, Casey, 5, and Eddie, the family dog. Discover the challenges overcome and the wisdom he learned along the way.
Q: What is a typical day in your life like?
A: A typical day in my life starts with having breakfast with my two youngest daughters every morning, before seeing them off to school, which is about the only thing typical about my day. Each day offers new opportunities to work with a wide variety of businesses and professionals from a wide range of industries, which keeps things interesting. Generally, I’m often meeting with clients or managing current projects, facilitating client-team collaboration to support the creative vision and ensure we’re producing campaigns aligned with our client’s strategic marketing goals.
Q: What makes you the happiest?
A: I am the happiest when I am spending time with my family. Personally, I am also happy when I am doing things outdoors, which is why I’m so glad winter is over and I am ready for summer!
Q: What motivates you?
A: My children motivate me, because as their dad I am here on earth to help facilitate their future. So, seeing my girls grow, learn, and achieve to reach their full potential motivates me the most.
Q: Why did you choose KUEC?
A: I specifically wanted to seek an integrated marketing communications master’s in journalism degree. I chose KUEC, not just because it offered the only IMC master’s programs in Kansas City, but rather because it is one of the first and most recognized IMC programs in the country. The instructors are accomplished experts and leaders in business and marketing and have many years of experience working for some of the most notable local and national companies, which helped me to gain valuable real-world insights that will serve me well to advance in my career.
Q: How did KUEC meet your personal and/or academic needs?
A: The IMC program at KUEC offered a variety of elective choices, which provided academic freedom to better personalize and meet my own specific academic needs. Within each class, I was given many opportunities to have the freedom to explore and connect specialized topics to many individual course assignments. For example, one of the topics or themes I frequently researched in this program was artificial intelligence and the varying implications automation might have on the way businesses operate or ways marketers reach and engage with consumers in the future. This gave me an opportunity to become especially knowledgeable in areas like AI, voice search and search engine optimization, voice-enabled assistants, and other internet-connected devices, which is already playing a major role in all aspects of life and the way we market to consumers now, and in the future.
Q: How has your KUEC degree prepared you for the future?
A: My KUEC IMC master’s degree prepared me for the future from day one. I know it has been used as a slogan, but the phrase “learn it tonight, use it tomorrow” is absolutely true. This made learning at KUEC a much more meaningful experience, being able to walk out of class immediately prepared to put what I have learned into action tomorrow and into the future.
Q: What was the most difficult part of earning your college degree and how did you overcome it?
A: The most difficult part of earning my degree was maintaining work-school-family-life balance and keeping things on track in all of those important aspects of my day-to-day life over the last couple of years. Some of the ways I overcame these challenges were to diligently put things on my calendar, set appointments with myself, live by a schedule and then stick to it. You’re going to have constraints, but finding a way to stay agile, while always on the move, yet knowing when to shut things down for what is most important for you and your family is paramount.
Q: What is your proudest accomplishment?
A: My career is rooted in broadcast radio, and I was also a journalist in the U.S. Navy, so one of my proudest accomplishments here at KU was last spring when I was awarded the Bruce Linton Graduate Scholarship in Electronic Media at the annual William Allen White School of Journalism awards and scholarships ceremony in Lawrence.
Q: What is your favorite memory of your time at KUEC?
A: My favorite memories of my time at KUEC was the collaboration and working within groups. The IMC program attracts some of the most talented and diverse professional graduate students, who have a wide-variety of backgrounds, which I feel contributed as much to the learning experience as the actual content of the program course work itself.
Q: What are your long-term career goals and how do you plan to achieve them?
A: I intend to pursue leadership roles in strategy i.e. digital content and brand strategies. I want to seek roles where I am able to contribute in specialized areas of marketing interest, which include: artificial intelligence (AI), voice search and voice-enabled devices (IOT), digital video marketing, 360-video, virtual and augmented reality, which will all play a major role in the way consumers and marketers meaningfully interact online and social media.
Q: What advice would you give others who are thinking of earning a degree, whether a first-time bachelor’s, a second bachelor’s or a master’s?
A: The advice I would give others looking to earn a degree is to find ways to create your own opportunities in whatever career you are seeking. One of the ways I believe this can be accomplished is by becoming an expert in whatever you enjoy doing the most in your career. Then share it and teach it to others, which will allow you to grow as a leader in your field while creating new opportunities for others.
Photo: Christian Vedder hopes to use his integrated marketing communications degree to share his knowledge with others for their success. (Photo by Lindy Rhodes.)