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This series features young alumni from the Russert Department of Communication. Learn more about opportunities in Russert at


Kelly Fichtner ’19 uses the skills she learned in her time at JCU as a marketing coordinator for Sherwin-Williams.

As a communication major and an entrepreneurship minor, she learned practical skills like understanding a market, writing a creative brief, creating an effective marketing campaign, and the importance of consistent branding. 

In addition to classroom lessons, Fichtner honed tools for the real world, such as clear communication, the ability to coordinate large groups of people, and effective collaboration with others. Her entrepreneurship minor allowed her to challenge her current process and think outside the box. 

Fichtner was a content marketing intern with NOPEC, the energy aggregation for Northeast Ohio, where she helped to develop different content pieces including videos, blog posts, press releases, and a variety of other pieces. During her senior year, Fichtner was a student intern for the Tim Russert Department of Communication, where she was often asked to coordinate large groups of people and effectively relay information to them.

In her role at Sherwin-Williams, Fichtner has the opportunity to work on the company’s supplemental marketing pieces, as well as assisting with their national marketing. Her typical day-to-day consists of receiving and fulfilling marketing requests from specific areas or stores in Sherwin-Williams’ five divisions throughout North America and Canada.

I love working on high-visibility marketing pieces. Being included on projects that require my creativity and ideas to help promote the Sherwin brand has been really fun. It's cool to be in Cleveland and see something that my team worked on and know I had a part in creating it.

She takes the request for digital and print projects and gathers necessary information. She then works with an agency to create marketing pieces that supplement national ads. During this time, she has the opportunity to make suggestions to the designers and works to make sure that what is being created is consistent with the Sherwin-Williams brand standards, voice, and messaging. 

Fichtner coordinates the department’s budget, a task she never thought she would be responsible for. She tracks where money is spent, resolves discrepancies in the budget with the merchandise control team, and completes end of month budget reports for the company’s retail marketing and media budgets. 

“Working with a budget of this size is something I never thought I would do,” Fichtner said. “To be honest, it was the part of the role I was least looking forward to, but it has taught me a lot and has been a really beneficial tool in understanding the department as a whole. I think that I am a better, more well-rounded professional because of it.”