Alumni Spotlight: Catching up with Emily LaFave, Class of 2016
My name is Emily LaFave (Fischer), I am the Marketing Services Manager for the Water Business Group at HDR Engineering. I graduated with honors in 2016 with a bachelor of arts degree in corporate communications with a minor in graphic design. I just moved back to my hometown of Omaha, NE after almost six years in Denver, CO.
Show up early, ask questions, and take good notes. You can (and should!) start building your professional network while at Marquette.
In my current role, I lead the marketing efforts of water engineering pursuits for Nebraska and Iowa, including the development of winning strategies, preparation of proposals and presentations, quality review, and coaching presentation teams. I help our technical teams put together proposal documents that we then submit to clients. These proposals are an opportunity to communicate HDR’s value to our clients, and it’s important to be sure the documents are benefit-driven and exciting to read (even if they are about a wastewater treatment plant!). I love that my role requires a combination of my strengths — I need to be organized, thorough, engaging, and a good listener to put together a high quality proposal. There’s no better feeling than seeing our hard work pay off when the team wins a big project.
My Diederich College experience included classes with Dr. Feldner, graphic design courses at MIAD, studying abroad in Milan, along with internships at Travel and Transport (now Corporate Travel Management) and Northwestern Mutual. I graduated with an understanding of the work I wanted to do and the future I saw for myself. I’ve found a meaningful and exciting career in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) marketing industry and would love to connect with any Diederich students who may be interested in this path. It’s an exciting combination of communication, leadership, strategy, writing, and research. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to engage in client development and hope to spend the next few years of my career building those skills.
My favorite Marquette memory is when housing assignments were sent out before freshman year, I found out that I had been placed in the Honors Program dorm at Straz Tower. I didn’t want to live there; I thought it would be hard to make friends. My dad strongly suggested I give it a chance, and it turned out to be the best part of my time at Marquette. I loved the living-learning community aspect and met some of my best friends in the program. My RA ended up being a bridesmaid in my wedding! I think the moral of the story here is to listen to your parents and to go into new experiences with an open mind.
Advice for students
Get an internship! Show up early, ask questions, and take good notes. You can (and should!) start building your professional network while at Marquette. If possible, I’d recommend not only a summer internship, but also continuing through the semester. Graduating with a few years of internship experience can make the full time workforce a less intimidating place.