News & Stories
Annabelle Norton
February 28, 2024

Awesome NYC Adventure: Becoming a Master Storyteller

Last summer, Annabelle Norton ’24, a communication and English double major, arrived in New York City for a social media internship with IEX, a national securities exchange facilitating the trading of U.S. equities, and embraced her new environment with energy and curiosity.

She says, “The biggest culture shock was the ability to walk everywhere instead of sitting in an hour of Atlanta traffic to travel a mile. I was unbelievably nervous, but getting outside of my comfort zone and just exploring (whether that looked like a 30-minute walk around the East Village or a 30-minute train ride to another borough for an event) not only showed me how capable I am to rise to a challenge but also allowed me to experience a lifestyle I had not yet lived.”

Plunged into the unfamiliar fintech world, Annabelle took on the challenge of reaching audiences in the tech, retail and finance industries through LinkedIn and X (formerly known as Twitter). “Part of my projects’ business objectives was to expand this audience to early career talent and to get those entering the workforce excited about working at IEX,” she says.

She adds that Berry’s winning combination of academics, on-campus jobs and leadership roles positioned her for this moment in the Big Apple: “Communications and English go so well together as degrees because at the end of the day, their primary focus is to master creative storytelling that has intention and purpose. I've come to think of building a brand in a similar way to telling a good story; without plot, dynamic characters and, above all, a guiding theme and message, you don't have much to go off of.”

Public relations classes with Associate Professor of Communication Kim Field-Springer provided essential hands-on experience. “In her Cases and Campaigns class, I had the honor of developing a PR campaign strategy for the Rome Family Resource Center with a group of five classmates,” Annabelle explains. “Over the course of the semester, we conducted PR research, held client meetings, hosted focus groups with stakeholders, distributed a survey and presented our findings to our client in a pitch deck.”

LifeWorks positions rounded out Annabelle’s professional development and built the values and work ethic prized by IEX. She says, “Working as the PR coordinator for Viking Fusion and the communication manager for the Office of Diversity and Belonging ignited my core value of cultivating thriving company cultures and fostering authentic company communities as each environment invested in me the way I invested in it. Working at IEX affirmed this all the more.”

With a firm grounding in the humanities and relentless drive, Annabelle made the most of her time in New York. She went from design and calendar planning to navigating analytical suites and interpreting data to drive business objectives and tell IEX’s story in a meaningful way.

She also connected with significant mentors, including IEX Chief Marketing & Communications Officer Marija Zivanovic-Smith. “From her, I learned the importance of developing authentic and engaging narratives for your company — and how to position those she collaborates with as thought leaders while being one herself.”                                                                                     

Photo credit: Marv Marcel /IEX

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