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Alumna creates exclusive marketing internship for Eckerd College students

By Robbyn Hopewell
Published March 13, 2024
Categories: Academics, Alumni, Global Education, Internships, Marketing, Students

Untrendy team members (left to right) Ally Nielsen ’25, Alexa Evans ’14, Alexis Lariviere ’25 meet on campus; photo by Brandon Hernandez

Alexa Evans ’14 understood that if she was going to find the kind of support staff she needed, she’d have to return to the place that had shaped her own skills—Eckerd College.

“I have very diverse skills; some things I am self-taught, and others my arts classes at Eckerd prepared me for,” says Evans, a theatre graduate who minored in interdisciplinary arts. “My company is young, small and I have a high standard of delivery. I was looking for multitalented team members who were excellent writers, had an eye for design and could run with whatever was thrown at them. Then I thought, If Eckerd prepared me, Eckerd is the best place to start.”

The founder of Untrendy Marketing was watching her business grow exponentially from full-service marketing for a few accounting firms to also include campaign and video production for nonprofits. Evans needed more hands—hands that were in touch with the artistic side of marketing but also equipped to respond to clients’ needs in an interdisciplinary way. She connected with Eckerd’s Career Center and posted the summer/fall internships on TritonTrack, the digital job board for Eckerd students and alumni. Juniors Alexis Lariviere and Ally Nielsen did not disappoint.

The interns passed the interviews and began working for Evans in August 2023.

Alexis, a film studies student from Madison, Connecticut, was grateful to find a position to keep up her fast-paced lifestyle before she started her first semester at Eckerd. The transfer student from Marymount Manhattan College chose to come to Florida to finish her education when her disconnection from nature became too great.

“My brother graduated from Eckerd two years ago, and I remembered every time I would visit, I would think this is paradise,” Alexis recalls. She found the Untrendy Marketing job browsing TritonTrack, and Evans immediately took a liking to Alexis’s resume, which included film editing.

Evans assigned Alexis to Urbanite Theatre, a Sarasota black-box venue dedicated to staging independent and challenging works from new artists. Urbanite is close to Evans’s heart: She had been hired as the stage manager for its first season in 2015 and is passionate about the value it brings to Sarasota’s theatre scene. She jumped at the opportunity to market Urbanite’s milestone 10th season. Alexis was tasked with video production for the venue—creating sizzle reels for upcoming performances and capturing B-roll of performances. One of her deliverables was featured on a local TV newscast advertising JUDITH, a one-actor world premiere at Urbanite.

“It was amazing to see my work like that,” Alexis says. “Alexa [Evans] is just an incredible person. She is a great businesswoman, and I have a lot I can learn from her. She’s professional but kind of a big sister.”

Evans’s journey to becoming a small-business owner began when she was looking for a college that would allow her to stay in Florida and study performance. The West Palm Beach, Florida, trained ballerina’s mother bought the book Colleges That Change Lives, and she learned about Eckerd’s Theatre Program.

The liberal arts foundation of the College allowed Evans to take courses across disciplines and participate in all facets of the Theatre Program, from communications to stage management. She studied abroad in London—visiting the city’s historic sites and immersing herself in the city’s visual and performing arts scene. An internship with American Stage, in its Education Department, expanded her skill set. When it was time to graduate, Evans attended a regional theatre conference with fellow theatre majors and Associate Dean of Faculty Jessica Thonen, where she was offered her first professional job at Florida Repertory Theatre in Fort Myers.

From there, she moved through contract work in theatres across Florida and with luxury sales brands, using her strong organizational, writing and design skills to ultimately land a salaried position in the fundraising department of the Maltz Jupiter Theatre in 2017. That job called on all her previous experiences, including London because she was tasked with coordinating two trips with over 20 donors each to the West End. Pandemic venue closures put Evans on furlough and gave her the runway to start the business she’d been building piece by piece since she’d graduated.

“I started in 2021 with three clients. Within a couple of months, I gained momentum and added new businesses,” Evans recalls. “My liberal arts degree is a huge part of my success, as it afforded me the opportunity to study a variety of subjects and take on projects that gave me leadership experience.”

She named her company Untrendy Marketing because the idea resonates with her customers who shepherd well-established businesses. Following trends and flashy, of-the-moment gimmicks isn’t her firm’s forte. Well-rounded, timeless and forward-thinking are her bread and butter.

Evans recognized that same thinking in Ally, a computer science student from Manchester, New Jersey, who dreams of being a user interface designer for app developers. Ally’s graphic design and photography work had her serving on her high school yearbook and as her class publicist on social media. She had no idea all of that was training for her first job in marketing.

Now she continually sees parallels between her work at Untrendy and lessons she learned in Principles of Marketing with Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing Nina Bergbrant.

“I needed a social science course and decided to take Professor Bergbrant’s class and fell in love,” says the newly minted marketing minor. “I even took her Winter Term course on internet marketing and earned a HubSpot certification in email marketing.”

The skills come in handy when Ally is creating product web pages, pop-up ads and banners, or performing site maintenance for Evans’s cadre of accounting firm clients. Unlike at her previous gig at a pizza parlor, Ally uses both her major and minor in her work.

In January, Evans promoted both her interns to associates and increased their $20-an-hour pay by 5%. The work is mostly remote, with occasional on-site assignments and meetings when Evans is in St. Petersburg. On their most recent meetup, she took her Eckerd team to Trader Joe’s as a thank-you for their hard work. Evans hopes the success of her internship program will be duplicated as her company grows and she reaches out to the Eckerd community to recruit more interns. “I always say, ‘Where was this when I was in college?’” Evans quips. “If you want to see a change in the workplace economy, you have to be that change. This internship is the beginning.”