Interview Series: Nathan Plym, Director of Marketing and Advertising

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Our last blog was an interview with our CEO, Susan Fochs – and it was such a hit, we thought you should all get to know the rest of our team a little better! We were so excited to sit down with the latest member of the ONA Team, Nathan Plym, as he has quickly become an integral member that we simply couldn’t operate without. He’s become our advertising guru, cracked the code on all things Google Ads, has designed some killer billboards for us, and more. Take a read and get to know the man behind our ads!

How did you hear about Operation Not Alone and how did you get involved?

I first heard about ONA through the Wisconsin Leadership Seminar (WILS), a non profit organization that fosters leadership skills and volunteerism in young student leaders. ONA Founder and CEO Susan Fochs is a fellow WILS Alumni, and she spoke at one of our events. From there, I got in contact with Susan to bring some WILS volunteers to help make blankets for ONA care packages. Susan informed me about their internship program, and she was able to tailor it to my needs as a Communication major. Since then, I have continued to volunteer with ONA as the Director of Marketing and Advertising and I am loving the experience.

Tell us a little bit more about WILS how you got and stay involved with it?

I attended WILS as a student leader the summer of 2016. There I met some amazing role models and made friendships that have continued to today. At the seminar, students are met with a weekend full of fun and engaging activities that help them discover more about their own leadership style, foster empathy for others, develop teamwork and collaboration skills, and so much more. I could not be more grateful for that experience. 

After I attended the seminar, I joined the Alumni Association, which is composed of WILS Alumni that volunteer together throughout the year at different locations around the state. We also held reunions throughout the year to bring back some of that “WILS energy” for our alumni. At these reunions we would volunteer at different locations, take tours of the local attractions, and spend time getting to know each other better. I stayed involved in WILS by attending all of these events as well as joining the Alumni Association Board, an elected group of alumni in charge of planning these events as well as coordinating volunteer opportunities for our student leaders. I volunteered on the Board for four years, and again, I am extremely thankful to have had that experience teach me so much about leadership and working in a non-profit setting. 

What do you do with ONA and what has been your favorite part thus far?

I am in charge of marketing and advertising for Operation Not Alone. I work with online platforms such as Google AdWords and Analytics, Pinterest, Canva, and more to bring more awareness to the services that ONA provides. I have been creating billboards for a future outdoor advertising campaign, running Google search ads, and working on ways to shed more light on the ONA brand. One of my favorite parts thus far about working on this team has been our bi-weekly meetings where all us team members meet virtually to report on what individual projects we’re doing. Seeing all the effort and determination from my fellow team members is always inspiring and provides a burst of motivating energy to push myself further. Another really fun part about what I do with ONA is working with Susan to figure out what new forms of advertising we haven’t explored yet, but know would be a really good opportunity to begin. 

We hear you have a new title! What made you want to stay involved after your internship?

As my internship for credit at University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point came to a close in the middle of August, I knew that I couldn’t just drop everything that I was doing with ONA, nor what ONA has taught me over the summer. I really believe in ONA’s mission, and working on this team has fostered a new sense of motivation and passion in myself that I don’t believe I could have gotten anywhere else. I love learning more about the workings of a non-profit organization, as well as what it takes to work in public relations. Susan has done a wonderful job of crafting an experience that helps me learn the skills I can continue to use in a future career, and I’m excited to see what else I can learn from my ONA experience.

How is school going? What is your major and future goals?

I am currently a Junior at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point majoring in Professional Communication and double-minoring in Business Administration and Psychology. While I’m not quite sure exactly what career path I’d like to enter, I hope to be working in Public Relations, Social Media Marketing, and/or Non-Profit Administration. ONA has shown me that I could do all three if I find the right organization!

I’ll be honest, school is a little difficult right now. UWSP and other colleges have put in a lot of effort and hard work into providing us with the best possible education options during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, online/virtual learning is very different from what I’ve been accustomed to my first two years of college, and it is definitely taking some getting used to. Aside from that, though, I am happy to be getting back into a routine with my education and learning more about what awaits me in the communication field.

What is your favorite book, movie, TV show, podcast? You can answer one or all! 

I remember absolutely LOVING the Hunger Games series as well as the Divergent books. I stand by the idea that books are often better than movies!

A few of my favorite movies include “The Greatest Showman,” “Avatar,” “Dead Poets Society,” and more! 

Lately, I have been watching the newest season of “Lucifer” on Netflix. I also really enjoyed The 100 and Riverdale, but my favorite TV Show of all time is hands down Game of Thrones. Everything about it is so so so awesome!

Best piece of advice you’ve been given?

My parents, teachers, high school principal and vice-principal, and many others have always reminded me to “not fill up my plate too much.” In other words, they would remind me to push myself to succeed, but not so hard that I never had time for myself. I remember becoming overwhelmed in high school with trying to be involved with each club/organization, making sure I was doing the best in all my classes, and trying to be friends with everyone. I realized that sometimes it’s okay to take a step back and let go of something causing you stress, and that taking care of yourself first should be a priority. 

Besides ONA, what are you passionate about? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I play Men’s Club Volleyball at UWSP, and help run the Club Sports Coalition, which is a group dedicated to promoting and advocating for all club sports on campus. I enjoy meeting new people and hanging out with my friends whenever possible. I play guitar, rollerblade, go outside to hammock, take and edit photos, just to name a few hobbies. I like to stay busy and have fun along the way!

What is the coolest or most interesting thing you’ve learned during your internship/position with ONA?

Though I am still learning the ins and outs of Google AdWords and Analytics, working on setting up Google Search ads has been more interesting and enjoyable than I first imagined. I really enjoy the marketing side of using these tools, and learning new ways to integrate our message and mission online is exciting!

What are you looking most forward to with ONA in the future?

I’m beyond excited for some of our upcoming fundraising campaigns (details coming soon!) that our team has been tirelessly working to create. I also look forward to employing more social media tactics/platforms to spread ONA’s message to as many people as possible. We are more than just a non-profit working with veterans and active duty members. ONA is a community, or more like a family, of people dedicated to making a positive change and impact on those around them, and it’s that idea that I hope to spread further as I continue my work with Operation Not Alone. 

Allison Foster

Director of Communications

Nathan Plym

Director of Marketing & Advertising

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