Member Spotlight: Emily Bettridge

As kids, we are usually pretty fearless when it comes to deciding upon our dream job. We’ve all been there—wanting to be a doctor, astronaut, a TV star, a pro-athlete, or maybe all of them at once!

Emily Bettridge, Central Iowa PRSA member, was one of those kids who dreamed fearlessly but ended up in a career she never imagined or dreamed of initially. “I was one of those kids who changed their mind every day, one day wanting to be a photographer, one day wanting to be a painter, one day writing crime novels, and the next a brain surgeon.” Bettridge said.

Even through the fearlessness of her big dreams, and her patience of figuring out what direction she wanted her dreams to take after college, she found a constant: her love for writing. This is a significant reason why Emily is succeeding in her content strategist role at Plaid Swan’s full-service marketing communication agency in Cedar Rapids.

Emily spoke with Ashley Dalsing, Central Iowa PRSA newsletter chair, to talk about her journey of navigating through her many childhood dreams and patience to finding the right career path for her.

First, let’s start with where you went to college, the degree(s) you earned and the activities you were involved in.

I attended the University of Iowa (Go Hawkeyes!) to earn a Bachelor’s in Journalism and Mass Communications. I was involved in the Dance Marathon on the events committee for a while, but then became involved in PRSSA and our student-ran PR firm on campus: Inspire. I was secretary for both organizations.

What did your career path look like from graduating college to now?

Right after graduation, I stayed with my internship employer, the Corridor Business Journal for a couple months until landing a job as a content developer at Plaid Swan in Cedar Rapids. After about six months in that role, I was promoted to content strategist and site supervisor for our office!

Tell me what your childhood dream was for when you were older — did you imagine you would be where you are today?

I was one of those kids who changed their mind every day. One day wanting to be a photographer, a painter, write crime novels or be a brain surgeon. I was all over the place, but the one consistency in my life was my love of writing.

In high school, I picked up the notion that I wanted to be a nurse. So, I got accepted into Iowa’s nursing program right out of high school, and then clinical two years later made me change my mind about that career path. So, I switched to business (because that’s what everyone does when they change their mind), hated my economics class, joined my roommate in attending a PRSSA meeting and my life was forever changed!

Wow—quite the change you made! Instead of working with patients and wearing scrubs, what are some daily tasks or projects you work on at Plaid Swan?

I organize and oversee all our clients’ blogs, press releases, creative and web copy—and anything else that has to do with writing. I assist in writing strategies with account executives and work hand-in-hand with our PR department to make sure messaging stays on track. Since we are a small agency, I am able to dip my toes in a couple other areas as well, one of which is analytics.

What do you love about the industry as a whole or its history?

I love how this industry is fast-paced and always changing. Being able to research and learn about every aspect of something in order to master it…and marketing is definitely something that can change on a dime. This industry is always evolving. I recently wrote a blog post about the history of advertising, and as an account exec still in the industry said, Mad Men doesn’t even scratch the surface of what it was like back then. But, we cleaned up our act and advertising has come a long way since then to become the respectable and necessary industry it is today.

What do you believe is the benefit of being a PRSA member?

I think it’s great being a part of a group that knows your struggles, opportunities, and can relate on a deeper level than a typical networking group with a variety of professionals. I feel comfort in knowing that I belong to a group that not only has my back professionally, but is specific to my industry.

Outside of work, what are some of your hobbies or interests?

I love to travel, whether it’s to Des Moines, Minneapolis, or driving across the country. I am also very interested in health and wellness for both the mind and body—I regularly practice yoga and I’m constantly trying to learn more about food and its relationship with our bodies—I mean, who doesn’t love to find a new recipe?

I also picked up the vintage art of macramé—you can soon find some of my pieces at Found + Formed in Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village!

To close, what is a piece of advice you’ve kept with you since entering in the communications and public relations world?

Write down everything. I take a notebook with me everywhere I go and take extensive notes at every meeting, gathering, speech, conference, networking event, etc.

As Central Iowa PRSA members, we can always learn and grow from one another. If you are interested in getting connected with Emily, click here to add her on LinkedIn.

Plaid Swan is a full-service marketing communications agency offering a broad range of services to clients that strategically align to meet their goals and reach their audiences. Emily has been with Plaid Swan for a little over a year in their Cedar Rapids office.

Visit to learn more about the work they do and the clients they serve.

Are you a recent graduate looking to get involved in Iowa’s public relations, marketing and strategic communication community? Look no further than joining PRSA Central Iowa, a dynamic group of more than 200 diverse public relations professionals—from veteran, seasoned, to young professional. Click here to learn more about how you can join and expand your professional network. 

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