Christopher Washington

Washington translates storytelling to HR

  • By Ross Teague
  • CAS Intern
Christopher Washington

Christopher Washington has always loved writing stories.

He recalled constantly scribbling down stories as a child, as well as an instance in which he made his own newspaper using blank newsprint sheets that his grandmother had given him.

As the 2009 JRN alum put it, “I just really enjoyed the use of the written word to convey and communicate a message.” With such an enthusiastic passion for writing, he knew it would one day be a big part of whatever career he pursued.

Today, Washington finds himself applying that same zeal for writing with Fahlgren Mortine, an integrated marketing and communications agency based in Columbus, Ohio. He is a Senior Human Resources Associate, managing a wide array of responsibilities from professional development to recruiting initiatives to help along programming.

“Human Resources heavily relies on the ability to effectively communicate a message in a way that’s going to resonate with a large audience,” Washington said. “So similarly to the way that you have to construct a story, you have to construct a message for a particular group of people so it’s effective for them.”

Washington loves his role and his company, and he continuously credited much of his success to his experiences to the journalism department at Miami.

As a journalism major, he was able to quickly put his love for storytelling into practice by becoming involved with The Miami Student.

He remembers working on a variety of stories, interviewing the Oxford mayor, city council, and various leaders in the business community of Oxford. He really enjoyed telling that Oxford, Ohio story, as he worded it.

“I really wanted to make the most of that experience,” he said. And he did. In his sophomore year, he was promoted to editor of the community section, an exciting opportunity for Washington, which he recalled as a memorable stand-out moment.

“I just absolutely loved it,” he said.

Washington’s journalism experiences were not kept within the confines of Oxford. During his time at Miami, he was able to secure four different internships, including an internship with the Foreign Press Association in London.

While in the U.K., he was able to obtain first-hand experience working with international journalists. He helped them prepare for meetings, wrote summaries of events for websites, and exercised journalism skills that he had previously learned in class. He values the experience as a huge moment for him, being able to translate skills from the classroom to a workforce setting.

“That absolutely could not have happened without the support of faculty and staff,” Washington said.

Both Cheryl Gibbs, coordinator of the journalism program, and Cheryl Heckler, associate professor of journalism, stand out to him as impactful. He admired their belief in the student, as well as their nurturing approach toward teaching to ensure success for their students. “They made the experience for me truly,” he said.

They remember him fondly as well. "Christopher was always very positive, energetic, and hardworking, and he had a great sense of humor,” Said Gibbs. “He did very well in the journalism program.”

Washington was grateful for his experiences through the journalism program at Miami, attributing much of his success to his involvement with it. He advised current students to develop relationships with faculty and staff and to start thinking about career growth as soon as possible. Multiple internship experiences, he said, go a long way in standing out among a pool of candidates.

Above all, Washington encouraged students to make the most of their own stories during their time at Miami. “Cherish those memories because they go by so quickly,” he said, “Really make the most of that and don’t take them for granted.”