Member spotlight: Khushbu Jamnadas

When I prepare for a member spotlight interview, it typically looks like me gathering some generic questions I want to ask, and reaching out to the individual if they would like to meet for coffee or if they would rather me send the questions via email.

To my surprise, I had my first member spotlight interviewee take me up on my request for meeting for coffee. Not only is Khushbu Jamnadas a new member of PRSA Central Iowa, but she is also a new resident to Iowa.

It’s not often you hear someone make such a drastic move from somewhere big, cool and exciting like, New York —and when they do, not only are us Iowans excited, but we’re also often skeptical. Questions like, “are you crazy?” or “why would you choose to move to Iowa after living somewhere that cool?” swirl around in our thoughts.

Growing up in Central Iowa for 20+ years, Des Moines is in fact becoming more popular. And, not to mention, cost of living is cheaper than most big cities, the unemployment rate is at its lowest rate ever, and we have several opportunities in various industries other than farming — yes, even public relations, communications and marketing!

One early, brisk morning, Ashley Dalsing, newsletter chair, spoke with a bubbly and kind, new member (and resident of Iowa), Khushbu Jamnadas over coffee about landing her first PR job at Trilix, and making the big move from the East Coast and finding a home — and plenty of professional opportunity — in the Midwest.

Let’s get started! Can you give me a bit of background on how you landed in Iowa?

I originally grew up on the east coast in New Jersey. After college, I got married and moved to Florida with my husband for a couple of months. Shortly after, my husband landed a job with Mercy Medical Center here in Iowa, which is what brought us to Des Moines.

Give me a bit of background into your time at college?

I started at Montclair State University (MSU) located in New Jersey to receive my undergraduate degree in communication studies with a concentration in PR. It was during my time in undergrad when I knew this was the field that I wanted to be in.

At MSU, I became really involved in our PRSSA chapter and the Communications Honor Society. My involvement in these two organizations inspired me to dive into this field deeper and receive my master’s degree. And, since it was always a dream of mine to attend New York University (NYU) and experience that “New York hustle,” I saw this as the perfect opportunity to take a leap of faith. I spent two years at NYU to receive my masters in corporate communications and public relations, and it was such an amazing and rewarding experience. The professors are down-right awesome. Not only are they top executives in corporations, agencies or businesses of their own, but they are also professors. All of my professors were so passionate about PR and bringing in the real-world experience to the classroom, which helped us gain the practical skills we needed in the communications industry. My educational journey during both undergrad and graduate school allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of my field and to leverage my creative mindset to help businesses develop a more prominent brand presence.

During your time at college, which internships or experiences were you involved with and how did you get those opportunities?

I started dabbling into internship opportunities during undergrad at MSU. I had two part-time internships simultaneously — one in a boutique PR agency — and one with a healthcare communications agency. Both were located in New Jersey and with them being two completely different industries, it was nice to see what kind of niche would spark a profound interest in me.

Once I got to NYU, I started working at the United Nations UN Women division within their internal communications department. While internal communications was a bit different from my external communications-related experience, it was great to see how internal communications impacted the overall progress and engagement of the company.

I also interned at a nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging business leaders in philanthropic initiatives. I interned in the communications department and gained valuable knowledge in my field and a keen interest in philanthropy and the impact it has on businesses.  

After you graduated from the NYU master’s program, what was your next move?

Of course, like anyone else, I was looking to get a job in PR. I knew that I wanted to get into an agency environment so I could get exposure in a fast-paced setting with multiple different clients. But in the same summer that I graduated from NYU, I also got married, moved to New York for two months and then moved to Orlando. You can say that was the most changed I’ve experience in one summer, all of which were amazing changes.

After we landed in Orlando, my husband had an idea. He said, “you know, we’re going to be working for the rest of our lives anyway, so why not take a couple months to enjoy and travel wherever we want?” And so we did just that. We took those eight months and traveled to the western Mediterranean, Thailand and all around the United States until we landed in Des Moines, Iowa.

From landing in Des Moines after traveling the world, how did you end up at Trilix and is the work aligning with what you want to do?

When we moved here, I wanted to get involved with the PR community here, so I didn’t wait—and what better way to get involved than through PRSA? I started off going to the events and networking with other professionals. Eventually, I reached out to the new-member committee, Abby Bottenfield and Darin Leach and met up to grab coffee with them.

Abby and I met again shortly after over coffee, which is when I learned there was an opportunity that just opened at Trilix (the agency she works at) and she encouraged me to apply. I went through the application process and the interviews, and thankfully, I landed the job! And, I love it! Working at Trilix is aligning with everything that I’ve studied and am passionate about — which is creativity, big ideas and helping businesses and clients become more prominent brands in a competitive market.

What do you like to do in your free-time?

I love to bake and cook new dishes, visit different bars and restaurants in Des Moines, travel and spend time with my dog, Chappie!

Tips for anyone interested or looking to join PRSA

Definitely just take the leap and get involved. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people, network with different professionals and attend a lot of fun and educational events.

Whether you grab coffee, or lunch — just network. You never know what great things networking can lead to, and PRSA is the perfect platform to meet new people, learn valuable skills and explore new opportunities.

Want to get to know Khushbu better? Connect with her on LinkedIn. Interested in learning more about PRSA of Central Iowa and getting involved? Contact us today!

This post was contributed by Ashley Dalsing, PRSA Central Iowa newsletter chair. 

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