Backpack Alumni Spotlight: Erika Voeller
When did you graduate and what did you study? What were you involved in?
I graduated in December 2016 with degrees in journalism/strategic communication and German, Scandinavian & Dutch. I was involved in all sorts of stuff. I studied abroad in Germany during winter break of my freshman year. I worked with the CLA First Year Experience, Backpack, and at Target Express in Dinkytown (which seems fitting, now that I’m at HQ). I was also involved in TEDxUMN, Her Campus Minnesota, and German Club. I was a production intern at Union Park Marketing the summer of my junior year and a digital marketing intern at Tiger Oak Media during my last semester of school. I was super busy, and it was super worth it.
What is your current position? What do you enjoy most about where you're working and what you're doing?
I am a digital copywriter for Target Creative, which is Target’s in-house creative agency. I write copy for the Target.com website and our branded emails and push notifications, as well as a few other special projects here and there.
What I like most about my role is how collaborative I get to be and how empowered I feel to speak up, share my ideas, and really help craft a more bold and innovative way for Target to speak to its guests.
What has your career path looked like thus far, and what is your vision for your professional career?
My first gig after college was at a small brand & web design agency in Minneapolis. I started as a junior copywriter and worked on projects like website redesigns, email campaigns, digital banner ads, and lots of social media.
After that, I took a stab at being self-employed and earned my paychecks entirely from contract and freelance work. I signed an ongoing contract with a content marketing agency and wrote a lot of long-form content, like blogs, for their clients. I supplemented that work with other freelance copywriting projects.
Then, I found my way to Target and I have no plans to leave. I never thought I’d work somewhere corporate. In college, the dream was to experience agency life. Agency life is fun, and I’m glad I got a taste of it. And, I’m happy to be where I am now.
That’s a simplified version of how my career has unfolded. There have been plenty of twists, turns and surprises along the way—and I know that’s to be expected. I’m really grateful that in a relatively short amount of time, I’ve been able to experience three different types of work: agency, freelance, and corporate.
I like where I’m at now and I hope to continue climbing the “copywriter ladder” at Target, eventually taking on an opportunity to manage other people.
What role did Backpack (CLAgency) play in your undergraduate career?
Backpack, then CLAgency, was the first place I remember experiencing autonomy in my work. The faculty leaders really supported us in pursuing our own routes toward producing a final product. It felt great to have successful adults who knew what was going on in the industry have my back and empower me to create great work. It gave me more confidence and helped solidify that this is the industry I want to work in. And, I feel like I was able to leave my mark at the U of M because my stories still live on the site. That feels really special.