DAC Alumni News and Profiles: Doing What in the World?!

Are you a DAC alum? We want to know and share what our alumni are doing out in the world with their DAC certificates or DAC degrees. Send us a note (dac-info@uwm.edu) if you’d like to be featured or to nominate a DAC alum to be profiled.

The next DAC Testimonial comes from Colleen Hickman. Colleen graduated in 2010 with the certificate in Digital Arts and Culture, a BA in Journalism & Mass Communications, and a BBA in Marketinghttps://www.linkedin.com/in/colleenhickman/

DAC: What’s your title and where do you work?

Colleen: I am currently the Creative Director (and founder) of my company, Corvidae Collective. Corvidae Collective is a creative design + marketing studio based in Carbondale, CO specializing in crafting timeless brands with an authentic and collaborative approach. https://www.corvidaecollective.com/

DAC: Can you describe your job–what are few of the things you do on a day-to-day basis?

Colleen: The easiest way to put it is that my job is being me – an entrepreneur. My day to day is anything from running the business – administration, accounting, organizing, scheduling meetings, taking phone calls, answering emails, marketing, legal, etc. to managing clients and their projects –  creative director, graphic designer, content creator, web designer and developer, managing a production team, and the list goes on.

DAC: Did you imagine that you’d be doing this work when you were in school or recently graduated? How did you know, or what was different than you expected? What has changed, what do you think will remain the same?

Colleen: Yes and no – I graduated fully ready for the corporate ad agency world and got recruited immediately out of college to the agency I was hoping to work for. It was a quick lesson that while I was really good at this scale of work, I wasn’t passionate about it. I moved back to Milwaukee, refocused, and relocated again to Colorado where I now work with small businesses providing that elevated scale of work that my large scale experience provided.

DAC: How did DAC prepare you for the work you are doing now, the job market in general, and/or help you land your current position?

Colleen: DAC gave me solid background knowledge, experience, and focused skill in digital arts. While I was not able or willing to go back for another degree – which would have been a focused graphic/web design degree – DAC allowed me to get the overall structure for my continuing interest and learning after graduating. I took this self-learning streak head on with my entrepreneurial spirit. 

DAC: What advice would you give to someone considering a degree or certificate in DAC?

Colleen: When I attended UWM, I primarily went through and graduated from the business school with a marketing focus. As a sophomore, I also added the journalism degree for strategic communications and quickly after added DAC. These additions gave my structured business degree a creative side focus. This combo has directly led me on the path I am today. If you are similar and have a variety of interests and want to run a business or find yourself in a more entrepreneurial or managerial type role, get all the experience you can across the industry fields. DAC was my first start to this – I also interned during college at a large international ad agency in LA, then back in Milwaukee at a boutique marketing firm, then back to LA to experience a PR firm. It was a lot of bouncing around but between that variety of experience and my multiple educational tracks, it really allowed me to be the well-rounded entrepreneur I am today.

DAC: What’s something cool you’re involved with?

Colleen: Other than running my own business, I have also been part of the founding group and am a current board member of a group called Aspen Entrepreneurs. Aspen Entrepreneurs is building an entrepreneurial ecosystem – we are a network of people that have come together to build a #GiveFirst, inclusive, collaborative, and welcoming place for entrepreneurs and small businesses in our local community since 2014. https://aspenentrepreneurs.com/