Natasha Omar, Master's in Professional Communication '18

Openness to Change

Although Natasha already had ample experience heading marketing and communications for top companies around Australia, she had a strong desire to break into the tech industry in Silicon Valley. This desire is what drew her to USF’s Master’s in Professional Communication. She moved 7,000 miles across the Pacific so she could expand her skillset and professional network in the middle of a thriving tech scene.

“Being part of the Silicon Valley narrative was exactly the reason I moved so far away from my home in New Zealand and Australia,” she said. “I love the innovation of this city, its openness to change, its diversity, and its culture.”

A Tech Hub

Through the program’s partnerships in the community and monthly guest speaker series, Natasha has had the opportunity to expand her network of contacts and meet professionals from top tech companies like Twitter, Facebook, and Salesforce. The wide network of Bay Area contacts she’s already building will allow her to show off her marketing skills while she’s a student and will help advance her career after graduation.

On top of building a professional network, Natasha will also have the opportunity to test different tech companies’ prototypes and products through USF’s usability lab. Currently, the lab primarily functions to assist faculty and student research, coursework, and experiments. In the near future, the lab will also function as a portal for tech companies that require usability tests. The lab was one of the things that drew Natasha to USF’s program.

“I wanted to be involved in a degree program that taught students technical as well as strategic communication skills that would align with start ups in the tech space,” she said.

Hands-On Experience

After graduation, Natasha aspires to consult tech start-ups and eventually start her own communications consultancy. She hopes to use the considerable experience and knowledge gained in the program to provide innovative solutions, end-to-end communications, and go-to-market strategic consultation.

Already, the program is helping her on her way to achieving this goal. The Communication Consultancy class (dubbed MAPC Consultancy) gives students the opportunity to get real life experience delivering communication content to USF’s partner companies and nonprofits.

Natasha actually had a hand in the development of the class. She wrote a proposal for what a consultancy club might look like in the Professional Communication program. Taking an interest in each of their student's specific goals and career aspirations, program directors David Ryan and Porter Shreve adapted Natasha’s proposal into the MAPC Consultancy.

The MAPC Consultancy will be instrumental in helping Natasha advance her career by providing her hands-on experience actually practicing consulting. It will also allow her to continue to build her portfolio of written and visual content that will be invaluable when she reenters the workforce.