A&S grad applies liberal arts education at global tech company

Alum shares journey from UC to VP at Jotform in California

By Shelby Besecker

One might not think that degrees in history and journalism would lead to a successful career in the Silicon Valley. But they certainly have for University of Cincinnati alumnus Chad Reid, who is vice president of marketing and communications for a San Francisco tech company.

Reid, who attended UC from 2005 to 2010, is now vice president of marketing and communication for Jotform, which has developed a platform for creating and sharing online forms. Founded in 2006, the company employs 250 and has 10 million users worldwide. The skills Reid acquired in the College of Arts & Sciences at UC have translated well to a career in marketing, he said.

“Companies need people who can write, especially who can write on a deadline,” he said. “They also need people who can research.”

Becoming a journalism major at UC was “a no brainer” for him, Reid said, because he had been editor of his high school newspaper. But UC didn’t have the major when he first arrived at the university. It announced it was starting a journalism program after Reid’s freshman year.

I’m now VP for a global company, and it all started with an A&S background from the University of Cincinnati. It gave me great skills for my future.

Chad Reid, A&S alum, VP of marketing and communication for Jotform

While studying journalism, Reid was the editor for The News Record, the student-run newspaper.

He said he particularly enjoyed journalism classes taught by professors whose work he followed in local publications. For example, he was a student in a sports writing class with Paul Daugherty, the sports columnist for The Cincinnati Enquirer. And he took a feature writing class with Kathy Wilson, a columnist at CityBeat, the local alternative weekly. He said Wilson ”had a great energy in class,” and helped him clean up his writing.

From these professors, Reid said he also learned that he must read good writing to be a good writer.

He sought the history degree because the subject is one of his main interests.

“People maybe write it (history) off as memorizing facts, but really it’s a lot of research with a lot of writing,” he said. “It’s digging through primary source material…

“It ended up benefiting me, and it was a lot of fun stuff,” he said.

Reid said he has met other UC grads in his new hometown Oakland, California.

“If I go enough days rocking a Bearcats hat or shirt there’s usually someone who will be like, ‘Oh you went to UC too,’“ he said. “That’s always nice, and it happens pretty frequently.”

He said San Francisco even has a bar where alumni often network and catch up with each other while they watch UC games or participate in alumni events.

In addition, while digging through Jotform’s customer database, Reid learned that UC is a customer.

“It was cool seeing a connection between my company and the school that I’m obviously a big supporter of,” he said.

He continued: “I may not be writing all the time, but I’m now VP for a global company, and it all started with an A&S background from the University of Cincinnati. It gave me great skills for my future, and you’re only going to get that with a liberal arts education.”

This profile is one of a series exploring the career paths of graduates from UC’s College of Arts and Sciences. Student Shelby Besecker wrote this story for educator associate professor Bob Jonason’s Journalism capstone class at UC.

Featured image at top: Alumnus Chad Reid, vice president of marketing and communication for Jotform, sits in his San Francisco office.