Scripps alumna works as digital media coordinator for 2016 World Series champs
By Cassidy Selep
"My current job is my dream job."
Not many people get to say that. But for Ohio University 2012 alumnus Nicole Bersani, it’s her reality. Bersani is the digital media coordinator for the Chicago Cubs baseball team, and she got her start in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.
During her time at OU, Bersani was the CEO of the student-run public relations firm, ImPRessions, and an executive member of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Bersani said she benefitted greatly from these organizations, which sparked the beginning journey to her dream job.
"I learned a lot about teamwork [through PRSSA and ImPRessions]," Bersani said. "Definitely time management as well from both of the organizations that I utilize in my job or any job in particular."
Connections Bersani made in ImPRessions and PRSSA also helped her get her dream job. "Through PRSSA and ImPRessions, I met my current boss," Bersani said. "I kept in touch with them, and eight years later I am working for them."
Bersani’s other on-campus experience as well as off-campus internships played important roles in securing her current position. She worked as a sports stringer for The Post, the student-run newspaper at OU, and interned at Ogilvy Public Relations and Comcast SportsNet (CSN) in Chicago.
Bersani said she believes three things helped her land her job: Whom you know, what’s your experience and what’s your timing.
Bersanis past internships helped her ease into her career with the Cubs. The teams digital media coordinator position is a mix of her jobs at Ogilvy Public Relations and CSN.
"While [the Chicago Cubs] have a very structured calendar and campaign, we also have large flexibility in what we think will work and test it out to see if it actually does," Bersani said.
Bersani’s main obligations with the Chicago Cubs is creating content and researching analytics. Since this is Bersani’s first year with the Cubs, she’s still trying to figure out all the details, but she is excited for what is to come.
"This is probably the best time, because we won the World Series," Bersani said. "We have so much content that we can use in the off-season that we will be sharing sporadically."
Bersani is not always behind a screen. During games, she does promotional work and fan engagement by reaching out to fans that posted about their birthdays or anniversaries, even sending them a promotional toy or the W flag during the game.
"It is a very small part of my job, but I also think that it is really rewarding," Bersani said. "We try to build those relationships with our fans through social media, and they really notice and appreciate when we go out of our way to make their experience there the best we can."
In addition to the Cubs winning it all on the field this year, it was ranked as the most impactful team on social media during the playoffs, according to Hookit, a data, ranking and insights platform for sports. Bersani attributed the Cubs social media success to the strength of her colleagues.
"Our team is working around the clock to come up with the best strategy they possibly can that we think our fans can engage with," Bersani said.
She added that it still seems surreal to work on a high priority account that has millions of eyes on it. "Sometimes I have to sit back and remember where I work and what I do because it is pretty incredible," Bersani said.
Now that the Chicago Cubs are World Champions, it makes her job even more incredible, Bersani said. She remembers containing her excitement during Game 7 of the World Series after the Cubs came back from a 3-1 deficit against the Cleveland Indians. It wasn’t until the Cubs victory that Bersani had an emotional reaction.
"It didn’t officially hit me until almost two hours after the game when I was standing in the clubhouse surrounded by empty champagne and beer bottles, and drenched in both," Bersani said. "I started to cry in amazement."
The best part of the celebration was knowing her family got to experience the excitement too, added Bersani. Bersani had been able to bring her father along to all the games.
"He brought me to my first game when I was eight months old, and I was lucky enough to bring him to the World Series," Bersani said. "He also brought a few pictures of my grandparents because he said, ’They should be with us as we witness history.’’"
Bersani’s success with the Chicago Cubs started with the hard work she put in at ImPRessions, which didn’t go unnoticed by ImPRessions supervisor and E.W. Scripps School of Journalism instructor Dan Farkas.
Farkas remembers Bersani’s innovative efforts and hard work as CEO. Bersani was the first to create the now four-year client relationship with the Copperheads, Southern Ohio’s Great Lakes Collegiate Summer League team. Bersani was also an early adopter of social media and incorporated them into ImPRessions. Farkas credits her success to her focus and organizational skills.
"Any time you try to implement something new, it never goes the way you want it to," Farkas said. "Her ability to say ’That’s OK’ and ’We are going to work through it,’ I think that was really distinctive."
Farkas also remembers Bersani as a mentor. "She was literally sitting there [with] thirty or forty students flooding her with questions," Farkas said.
Today, Bersani offers students this piece of advice: "Learn as much as you can and network as much as you can because you have no idea what jobs are going to be coming up after you graduate."