From Intern to Full-Time Staff, Colten Gill Champions the Steel City at the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership Alumni Profile
Meet Colten Gill '17
- Job Title & Employer
- Marketing and Communications Manager, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
- Sports, Arts & Entertainment Management
- College Activities
- Honors Program, executive director of the Campus Activities Board
- Renfrew, Pa.
- High School
- Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School
- Now Living In
- Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Hobbies & Interests
Baking, design and taking care of my rescue pitbull, Jax
"The emphasis on professional development and career exploration is really something that sets Point Park apart. Especially in the Rowland School of Business, the focus on every step of your career process – from how to apply to internships to negotiating your salary, becoming a supervisor and more – while also gaining the functional skills in your concentration was incredibly helpful."
You interned with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership in 2015. How did that experience influence your career path?
Interning with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership was my first real experience working in community development. By being able to take what I was learning in class and apply it to this exciting, new-to-me career field, the internship gave me the real-world experience I needed to build my resume while solidifying what I wanted to do after I graduated.
Describe your current role at the PDP.
As the marketing and communications manager, it's my job to showcase how great we know downtown can be while providing creative support and execution for the countless projects we launch each year in service of improving the neighborhood. I love the variety in the day-to-day, whether it's writing our neighborhood newsletter, brainstorming content ideas with the team, building a website, talking about our initiatives on Pittsburgh Today Live and everything in between, the job is as dynamic as the city.
What are some cool projects you've worked on for the PDP?
I'm lucky to work with creative, driven and talented colleagues that come up with the imaginative projects we've implemented over the years. My favorite projects include our events Picklesburgh, Light Up Night and the Rooftop Shindig, a pop-up movie theater on top of a parking garage! Additionally, some of our recent economic development initiatives I played a part in have been incredibly fun and impactful, like Shopopoly and the Gift Card Give Back. I’m also proud to continue refining our social media presence to showcase downtown through the eyes of our community (follow us on Instagram!). Looking ahead, I can’t wait for the rollout of our Downtown Mobility Plan that should be a substantial driver for making the neighborhood more equitable, accessible and engaging for everyone who lives, works and plays here.
How did Point Park help prepare you for your career?
Point Park prepared me for a career after college by providing me with both hands-on experiences that set me apart in an interview and also with ample opportunities to explore my future at every corner. When I began my college journey, I was unsure of what I wanted to do after graduation. With the variety of classes offered in the SAEM program, I was able to really tailor my interests and drill down into what I found I was passionate about. The emphasis on internships and getting out into the business world early on was also incredibly beneficial.
What should prospective students know about living and learning in Pittsburgh?
When they say the city is your campus, it really means just that when you’re in Pittsburgh. You can find world-class art, local music, great food, different cultures, a vibrant city center and fantastic parks and outdoor experiences all within a 15-minute walk, bike trip or bus ride. Take the time to truly immerse yourself in the city, and your college experience will be so much better for it.
What makes Point Park distinctive from other universities?
The emphasis on professional development and career exploration is really something that sets Point Park apart. Especially in the Rowland School of Business, the focus on every step of your career process – from how to apply to internships to negotiating your salary, becoming a supervisor and more – while also gaining the functional skills in your concentration was incredibly helpful.
What career advice do you have for current students?
If you’re unsure of what you want to do, don’t be stuck on the mentality of having to have a perfectly linear career path. I came to Point Park as an acting student in COPA before transferring to the Rowland School of Business, joined the National Guard after college, started my first full-time job as a digital analyst and have since found my niche as the marketing and communications manager at a non-profit focused in neighborhood development and urban planning. Your career path can be whatever you want to make of it.