From the Desk of our Strategic Comms Intern – What I Learned From an Industry Pro
This week, I had the opportunity to chat with Bobbie Egan, who used to work as the director of external communications and PR for Alaska Airlines. She had an impressive career with Alaska Airlines, working with them for almost 15 years in various roles. Now, she’s moving on to becoming the lead media relations for Boeing Commercial Airlines.
Talking to Bobbie got me very excited about my own future.
Before I spoke to Bobbie, Patti Payne mentioned her and talked about what she does. I was surprised at how closely Bobbie’s career aligns with my passions. I’ve always been drawn to the risk and crisis side of PR and working for an airline, especially Alaska Airlines since I’ve lived in Seattle my whole life. This path seems thrilling to me.
After college, Bobbie interned at the Secretary of State’s office in Olympia, WA. She was passionate about voting, and they loved her there. She said, “They couldn’t imagine functioning without me. I became the first person there every morning, volunteering for everything and securing a full-time job as the communications manager.” Bobbie’s energy and contributions to positive company culture really shine through. She spent about two years in the Secretary of State’s office, overseeing communications for various sectors like charities, corporations, the Washington State Library, state archives, and elections. Bobbie mentioned she had the chance to share some really interesting stories during that time.
Bobbie always envisioned herself working at Boeing. When she was young, she created a “Little Book of Bobbie” (1975-2020), where she wrote predictions and manifestations for the future. In it, she wrote “director of advertising at Boeing.” She emphasized the importance of speaking things into existence and visualizing yourself achieving your goals. She said it is incredibly important to see what you want and go out there and take it. Picture yourself achieving your goals and you can make it there.
Alaska Airlines was another company Bobbie had in mind. She said, I was very much impressed. First of all, I flew on Alaska Airlines all the time, and they were always so nice. They liked their jobs.” She admired how Alaska Airlines was always innovating and doing things first. She greatly respected their response to 9/11 and another accident they had in 2001. Another aspect of the company that really attracted her was the transparency of their culture and how they cared for one another. She added, “I just was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is a company that I want to work for. I want to have a career there.”
All of this was so intriguing to me because I am so interested in the risk and crisis aspect of strategic communications. We had a great discussion about what someone like me can do to boost my future. Bobbie emphasized the importance of networking, asking questions, making yourself known, and showing genuine interest. She also emphasized the value of following the companies you aspire to work for through a story of a young boy who loved Alaska Airlines. She said he engaged with their posts and eventually met the CEO, who gifted him a model airplane when he graduated. The boy then asked the CEO’s assistant if he could meet Bobbie Egan and he said to her “I want your job.” And she responded, “Then you shall have it.”
Bobbie also suggested studying the companies you’re interested in through your classes. She mentioned taking a business communication class that really stuck with her and helped her further her knowledge of Alaska Airlines. Which then, helped her obtain an amazing career with them. She also briefly touched on the increasing demand for cybersecurity and how it could be a great focus for someone like me who is interested in risk and crisis.
My conversation with Bobbie was sensational. She is such an inspiring and empathetic person who is genuinely interested in helping aspiring young people. Bobbie’s words really resonated with me and I’m excited to apply her advice to my own journey.