Skip to main content
Ashley Gregerson

Ashley Gregerson

SFU Co-op Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication

empty
Portrait of Ashley
While working in a small team presents its challenges, I’ve learned to love it.

In May of 2014, I landed my dream co-op position as the Communications Assistant for the City of White Rock, and was rehired for an 8 month co-op this summer. In terms of municipalities in the Lower Mainland, White Rock is very small, so it has fewer employees in comparison to cities like Surrey and Vancouver. Despite being a smaller municipality, the communications department still has to deliver services similar to those of cities with larger teams and resources. My joining brought the communications team up to a whopping two people.

Here are a few things that I have learned, and what you can expect if you join a tiny Communications Department:

Be Prepared to Learn New Skills Very Quickly

I joined the City eager to utilize my writing, graphic design, photography and creative skills. While I use and grow these skills daily, I have also adopted a variety of new skills that I never thought I would encounter. For example, I now know how to transcribe and simplify decisions made in Council Meetings, plan ribbon cutting events for new rail crossings, and write research papers on topics such as sister cities and social media usage throughout the Lower Mainland.

Be Flexible – Curve Balls Will Be Thrown Your Way

If I were to be asked, “what does an average day look like for you in this position?”, I’m honestly not sure how I would answer. Sure, I have the daily tasks like writing and monitoring our social media accounts, creating web and intranet content and writing newsletters, but there are always new projects given to us and issues that need response. In the span of three months this summer, the City of White Rock has hosted three public information meetings, held special Council Meetings, and launched an Official Community Plan review. These have all been intensive, City-wide projects which have caused us to work very quickly to ensure that we meet the new objectives, while still completing our ongoing duties.

Your Input and Ideas are Valued

As a student and new addition to an organization, it can be intimidating sharing your thoughts, and you may feel that your voice will be overlooked if you’re in a large team. In a smaller team, new ideas and techniques are extremely valuable, and you can directly see the impact your decisions make.

It’s Okay to Say No

When you’re one of two people in communications at an organization with nearly 200 employees, people from other departments will request help or delegate new projects to you. Sometimes these requests can take five minutes and sometimes they can be week-long affairs. When I started in this position, I found myself taking on additional work whenever anyone asked me for help. Soon, I had too much to do and not enough time. I’ve learned that it is completely fine to explain that you have competing priorities and will be happy to help when you’ve completed what is already on your plate.

While working in a small team presents its challenges, I’ve learned to love it. The wide array of projects and tasks that I’ve been able to work on has been invaluable to me. Being half of the team tackling these various tasks, I’ve had the opportunity to work closely on major projects, and that has given me a better understanding of a career in this field.

About the Author

Ashley Gregerson

Ashley Gregerson

SFU Co-op Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
Connect with Ashley on LinkedIn

You Might Like These... During the Work Term, Professional Development, Workplace Success, Workplace Transition, Communication

Co-op coordinator wth student during site visit
Make the Most of Your Co-op Site Visits

Your Co-op Coordinator, supervisor, and you in the same room -- time for a site visit! Co-op site visits are a time for reflection on your work term including what could be improved and what has been great so far.

person with their head in a book
Responsibility and Success

One of the most memorable parts of my time in co-op was the collection of accidents, errors, mistakes, and mix-ups that happened in the course of working in the laboratory.

 

grey paper bag spilling peanuts with the words "pay packet" written on it
Salary and Benefits: What you Need to Know

Calling all job seekers. If salary and benefits are important to you, learn the art of negotiation while discovering what compensation packages include and what to ask when the time comes to negotiate for them.

Portrait of Ashley
library_books
Blog
Working on a Tiny Communications Team
Communication, Professional Development, Workplace Success

This summer, Ashley Gregerson landed her dream co-op position as the Communications Assistant for the City of White Rock. Here, she worked as part of a small communications team consisting of only two staff. Ashley shares what she learned and what you can expect joining a tiny Communications Department.

Portrait of Ashley
library_books
Blog
Working on a Tiny Communications Team
Communication, Professional Development, Workplace Success

This summer, Ashley Gregerson landed her dream co-op position as the Communications Assistant for the City of White Rock. Here, she worked as part of a small communications team consisting of only two staff. Ashley shares what she learned and what you can expect joining a tiny Communications Department.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

8 studnets standing in a line with their hands in the air celebrating
What I Really Learned on My Co-op Work Term

Fulfilling your learning objectives is one thing, but what did you really learn on your co-op work term? The OLC asked some current and former co-op students what lessons they took with them so you can make your next work term a success.

Portrait of Laura
Applying Communication Skills in the Workplace

Ever wondered how your academic Communication skills stack up in the workplace? Co-op student Laura Tuturas sheds insight into how Communications prepared her for her workterm at ZE Powergroup.

Image of a diverse group of people dressed in business attire, standing in a semi-circle, laughing and drinking together
Working in an English-Speaking Environment

In today's global labour market, the ability to converse in a second language is an increasingly useful skill. Here, Jessica Tse shares some tips she learned as an international student from Hong Kong working in an English speaking environment.