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Communication Alumnus Thrives on Monster of a Job

Ohio native Eric Winegardner of Monster Worldwide gleans huge satisfaction from a job well done.

Date: 9/7/2008
By: Britt Kennerly
Phone: (513) 556-8577
Photos By: Melanie Cannon
When Eric Winegardner stocked grocery-store shelves as a teenager, the product labels faced forward and the prices were correctly marked.

Ten years after his graduation from McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, he brings that same enthusiasm and mission of excellence to his job as vice president of client adoption for Monster Worldwide, parent company of online career giant Monster.com.

Winegardner, who visited Cincinnati this year after being named the Department of Communication's 2008 Outstanding Alumni, left a human resources career in Cincinnati to work for Monster in Boston in 2004.

Winegardner
Eric Winegardner speaks at the 10th-annual CommCeleb.

He got his start in the workforce, however, near the farm he grew up on in rural Ohio.

"It drives my wife crazy I've loved every job I've ever had," he says. "I started working at 14. I was the best shelf-stocker you've ever seen. From the second I started working, it was about excellence in every thing you do."

His roots contributed greatly to that approach. "No matter how big-city I get, how many roles I have, what makes me successful is I'm proud of the fact I came from a farm," he says. "I completely understand and value my roots. What I learned from my family was a work ethic. I paid my own way through college I just paid off my student loans. I had good value models."

Winegardner looks at his life in a sort of Venn-diagram fashion, drawing circles to show the relations between the things he likes to do, the things he gets paid to do and the things he's good at. The goal for most people, he says, "is to find that little sliver where the three intersect." With his job, he says, the three circles come together.

 

Winegardner
Eric Winegardner is greeted by Lisa Newman, Department of Communication undergraduate director.

"The things I like to do are the things that I'm good at and that I get paid to do," he says. "So I get to focus on my other bubbles my family and my life and goals, and my overall sense of 'What mark do I leave here?'"

Whether he's commenting to newspapers or speaking to clients or job-seekers, including A&S communication students, Winegardner's advice is straightforward in a challenging job market: Stand out in the crowd. Strive for excellence.

"The media's job is to sound the alarm, but companies are still hiring," he states. "If you have potential, people want you. People need you. When you look at boomers exiting the market leaves a void and that void is this whole new emerging workforce that's just phenomenal."

The young people in that workforce, he notes, are "making the Internet personal" and using it to take their lives and careers in myriad directions.

"I look at them and think, 'Their ability to trust and embrace and communicate with individuals using the electronic media is a fundamental shift in what our capabilities are,'" says Winegardner, adding that the business he's in has only existed for about 10 years.

"I like to think I was great when I was coming up. But this audience is tech-savvy. They're great with communication relationships. They're blogging. They're Twittering. They're everything. They're just so connected, wired, and it's not just a technology thing. That's a communication thing. They have such power and influence and the companies that understand that are aggressively seeking the best of this population. So I look at it and say, expect the excellence. Excite yourself. Get out there. There's not a job for everybody graduating right now, but why do you think you're a person who's not going to get the job? A lot of it is how you choose to respond to the situation."

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Robyn and Eric Winegardner

At Monster, he says, '"What we're trying to do is bring that excitement to employment, and challenging individuals career-seekers, job-seekers to be the best they can be."

"It's a really exciting wave of defining what you want and being the best person you can be. All of my values and career knowledge, every ounce of experience I have professionally applies to my everyday job. I feel very lucky to have the job I have because I know lots of people who have jobs they just don't like."

His job involves "travel like few people travel," both in person and through instant messaging and videoconferencing.

"I regularly meet with people outside America in real-time. We've defined things differently than when we were all sitting around a conference table," Winegardner says.

When he's at home, he enjoys spending every moment with his wife of 12 years, Robyn, a College of Education graduate, and their two daughters, Emma and Ellie.

"We lead a charmed life and it's all because of the foundation I built here in Cincinnati," he says. "I'm really grateful to be able to reflect on it just a decade later."


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