Meet Amy Villalba

After a 20-year hiatus, Amy Villalba decided it was time to get back into her educational journey.

Villalba spent her first two years after high school attending Western Washington University. During summer breaks, she worked for the University of Washington in order to pay for her schooling. After two years, Villalba decided it would be best to continue working rather than return to school since she had to pay for tuition herself.

For 15 years, Villalba worked her way up the corporate ladder at a financial company in Seattle. She began her career as an Office Manager, eventually moving up to the position of Vice President of Marketing and Communications.

In 2014, Villalba welcomed twins into the world and left the workforce in order to raise her children. Once her kids were around the age of three, Villalba began to think about continuing her education.

 “I never gave my education much thought while I was working, because I was able to learn so much on the job and continued to receive promotions based on my work and achievements,” Villalba said.

But Villalba knew that if she were to re-enter the workforce, she would need a degree to back up her experience if she wanted to get a job at her previous level. After exploring degree options, Villalba found Washington State University’s online Integrated Strategic Communication (ISC) program. 

At the start of the program, Villalba wanted to improve her digital campaign management skills. In her previous roles, she hired and managed the team that created digital campaigns but never got to do the work herself. Now, she is enjoying the courses that the ISC program offers about campaign management and digital marketing. The program has also taught her the importance of keeping up with the trends in communication, marketing and advertising.

Villalba says there is a big difference being in college now rather than attending college right out of high school.

“As an adult with life and work experience, I care more about my grades and my studies. I want to learn and it’s important to me to do my best and keep my straight-A average,” Villalba said. “I didn’t care about that when I was 18.”

After graduating from the ISC program, Villalba plans to continue to do freelance work and possibly start her own company to manage branding, public relations and marketing for small businesses. In the future, Villalba also plans to build and manage an event facility, hosting various types of events and fundraisers.

With her husband and children as her inspiration, and her “never let ‘no’ stop you from achieving what you want” mentality, Villalba has a bright future ahead!

Author: Emma Lorrigan (Dec 2019)