Jenn Strang ’99, Media Relations Manager at Seattle Light
If you ask Jenn Strang ’99 what her favorite part of her job is, it’s how much variety there is.
“I am constantly saying, ‘It’s never dull around here.’ No two days are ever the same,” she says.
Strang, who has been working for Seattle City Light as a Media Relations Manager since 2021, came to the city after holding a series of positions in nonprofits, government, education, and business-to-business organizations in Pittsburgh, PA. The jobs she found the most rewarding, she says, allowed her to utilize her skills, but also challenged her.
“I worked my way up from entry-level positions like assistant and coordinator to director and VP roles,” she says. “I got there by not just working hard and doing my job well, but also making sure to build strong relationships and make meaningful connections, offline especially.”
Like many people, the COVID-19 pandemic made Strang question what she really wanted to do. In need of a change, she decided to move to Seattle—without having a job lined up first.
“I spent the first year of the pandemic working as a communications consultant while trying to figure out what I wanted to do next,” she explains. “Never one to do things in half measures, I picked up and moved 2,500 miles across the country. It was certainly a bold move but one that I don’t regret.”
Now working for Seattle City Light, Strang is the main media spokesperson for the utility. She works with local and national news outlets to “tell the story of City Light,” and plans press tours and other activities. She oversees social media and other multimedia for the utility and is also currently reworking communication between company and customer.
“My role as the main media spokesperson for the utility requires me to be at the ready 24/7. Some of my other duties include planning press events and media/VIP tours, coaching City Light staff on working with the media, and writing talking points and executive communications,” she adds. “I am also currently revamping how we communicate with our 500k+ customers during power outages and extreme weather events around safety messaging, storm preparedness, and power restoration.”
But before Strang was working in the media relations and communications fields, she was a Public Relations major at York College.
Strang, who is originally from Eldred, PA, experienced some financial difficulties when choosing a college. York College, she says, allowed her to attend college within her means.
“York gave me the opportunity to get a quality education that I could afford, and the access to several scholarships that helped ease the financial burden,” she explains.
Strang wasn’t sure what to expect once she got to campus, but she quickly found her place. She cites the Communications and Writing Department as particularly important to her education.
“Like most first-year students I went through that awkward adjustment period, but once I found my group of people and settled in, it felt like home,” she says. “I was lucky enough to be part of the Communications Department when Dr. Furio, Dr. Hall, Dr. Barr, and Prof. Briggs were in front of the classroom. Each had their own unique teaching style, and I certainly learned a tremendous amount from them.”
Additionally, Strang made many lifelong friends from York College, an aspect of college that made her experience even more memorable.
“As eye rolling-ly cheesy as it sounds, the people I met at York are among my favorite memories. From meeting Erin B. at a viewing of Trainspotting to the gang from 555
Springettsbury, the people I met at York made a huge impact on my experience there. I still count many of them among my closest friends today,” she adds.
Strang has advice for current college students, and those who want to follow in her footsteps: broaden your skill set.
“Take electives or develop complementary skills that will help you stand out in your chosen field. Many of my early jobs were secured because I had design and photography skills, which set me apart from other candidates,” she says.