Recently, I have been asked about my background. So I thought it would be appropriate for my first blog post to be an introduction to who I am.
My name is Alana Cunningham and I am a Chicago native. Most early mornings and/or late evenings I can be found coaching for the Helena Lions Swim Team. During the day, I am the Communications Director for the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce. And somehow in the midst of all of that, I am working on a Masters in Communication Management with a focus in Public Relations from the University of Denver, and I have a small digital marketing agency.
My passion for marketing, social media, and graphic design started when I was 11 years old and began creating MySpace designs for members. When I entered high school I took a number of graphic and website design courses which led me to design and construct websites and flyers for small businesses and for the athletic department at Carroll College. After graduating from Carroll in 2015 I worked at KTVH/KXLH TV in Helena, Montana as the Online Content Producer. In this position, I managed multiple social media platforms, prepared and analyzed web and social media analytics, and increased the social media presence by nearly 100%.
Currently, I am working as the Communications Director at the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce. I also manage and coordinate Helena Leaders Network group (formerly known as the Chamber’s Young Professionals) for the Chamber. In this position, I represent and promote the Chamber by utilizing various methods to interact and communicate with our membership, Helena businesses, and other important community constituencies including the Helena Chamber’s new Workforce Initiative, Helena WINS, as the lead on the communications committee.
I also am a graduate of Leadership Helena, a Helena Chamber of Commerce program, which is designed to develop informed, vigorous, skilled and effective business leaders through a program of leadership development, networking, and Chamber and community involvement.
With all of this on my plate, you’re probably wondering why do I coach swimming? What people don’t know about me is that I was a competitive swimmer growing up! I was a long-distance and an Individual Medley swimmer until the summer before high-school when I injured my rotator cuff as I was trying to qualify for Junior Olympics.
Swimming has been part of my life since I was 5 years old and jumped off the high dive holding the hand of my first swim instructor/coach. With my love of teaching I could not pass up the opportunity to coach, to pass along what I learned and the life skills that I was taught and experienced as a child!
So it may seem like a lot to balance at once, and it is, but if you truly love what you do then it’s easy to balance it without losing your sanity! 😊