Hounds With Purpose – An Interview with David Pepin ‘20 by Caitlin Sze ‘24

A Journey of Growth and Exploration

Hounds with Purpose is a space for alumni to share their stories of purpose and vocational engagement beyond their years at Assumption. This blog is created by the Center for Purpose and Vocation and the Career Development and Internship Center (CDIC) to better connect students and alumni through experiential storytelling. 

David Pepin ‘20 has served as Digital Marketing Manager in Assumption University’s Office of Integrated Marketing since June 2023. He oversees the University’s brand and content team, which manages the production and publication of various forms of digital multimedia content for properties such as website and social media. David joined the Office of Integrated Marketing in March 2022 as a marketing content creator. Prior to his work at Assumption, David spent a year as a recruiter for an international staffing agency while simultaneously a freelance content creator for two marketing blogs sponsored by Emerald, an organizer of B2B trade shows and conference events. During his time at Assumption, he was captain of the Ultimate Frisbee team and Editor in Chief for Le Provocateur student newspaper. He participated in multiple internships with the Worcester Telegram & Gazette as a sports journalist and the Lowell Spinners as a graphic design and video intern. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Assumption University with majors in Marketing and English. He is also currently an MBA candidate in Assumption University’s MBA program.

Caitlin Sze ’24 is currently finishing her MBA in Management. This year, she is the Graduate Assistant for Marketing, Communications & Event Management in the Career Development and Internship Center on campus. Prior to Graduate School, she attended Assumption University for her undergrad, where she received a B.A. for a double major in Graphic Design and Communications and Media. She is currently the captain of the Assumption University Women’s Tennis Team and resides in South Windsor, CT.

Can you tell me about your involvement during your time at Assumption as an undergraduate?

While I was at Assumption, I was an English Mass Communications and Marketing Double Major. I had always heard about the importance of getting involved, so one of the first things I did was join Le Provo­ca­teur student newspaper. I moved up every year that I was there, starting as a staff writer, moved to copy editor my sophomore year, then I was the sports editor my junior year, and then finally my senior year I was the editor in chief of the newspaper, so I got a lot of really great experiences from that. I also joined the club ultimate frisbee team and quickly became the captain and president of the club during my first year. I think from these experiences I learned what it is like to be a leader and have that role. For ultimate frisbee we would travel to tournaments around New England and play other teams. I also had two internships while I was at Assumption. In the summer of 2019, I worked for the Lowell Spinners, the former Class A Short Season affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. Then, in the fall of 2019 I worked for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette as a sports journalist intern and both experiences taught me so much about journalism as well as how it can apply to so many other areas and careers.

I was looking for an internship in the communications and journalism sphere and Professor Nordman, who was also the executive editor of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette at the time, knew I was sports editor of the school newspaper knew I was interested in sports, so he said, well we have internships in our sports department why don’t you come so it was through this connection that I was able to get an internship like this. It really was a great experience. I spent my weekly assignments where I would pick two local high school sports games to go to, usually it was a football game on either Friday or Saturday mornings, and then I went to Field Hockey, or soccer. The journalism field is such an interesting world, where if you are covering a sports event at the professional level, there are so many people taking statistics and taking photos, but  for Central Massachusetts high school sports, I did everything myself. From keeping stats for my own article, keeping track of the play by play, and then I had to go run onto the field after the game to conduct interviews with players and coaches and sometimes take pictures, then write the article after. Through this internship I got the whole experience because I learned everything from photography skills to crafting a story, and how to put quotes and voices in from those that are involved.

After you graduated from Assumption did you immediately start working?

So, I graduated Assumption in 2020, and that was quite a year to graduate, especially with COVID and I had my first job at a staffing agency as a recruiter at Aston Carter. They are a large international staffing firm and during my time there I was making a lot of calls to job candidates, going to meetings with various companies because as a recruiter I was the middle person between the candidate and client company. I was building relationships but also trying to find them a job at the same time and I was there for a little over a year…

Why did you choose marketing? Did you know you were going to end up on this career path?

I discovered marketing as a career path during my first year at Assumption when I took an introduction to marketing class. Immediately I was interested. As someone who was always finding creative outlets growing up, the content marketing field especially appealed to me as a way to combine many of the creative channels I had practiced during my time at Assumption. I soon realized that content marketing was a way to combine the creative writing, videography/photography, and graphic design skills that I loved to practice in a very strategic business setting. The ability to use my creative skills to tell digital stories and help solve modern problems are the reasons why I continue to devote my career to this field.  

Can you tell me how your Introduction to Marketing class changed your perspective? Did you also have a specific professor or another class besides marketing that changed your time here?

I took a lot of classes with Professor Daniels. The thing I really appreciated about his classes was in every single class he was focused on experiential learning which I 100% agree with. Experiential learning is the best way to learn because I learned so much through my internships and being a part of the different clubs, I was in, so I felt that his classes were the best way to learn. I feel like I learned so much through doing, and I sought out his classes because I knew his teaching style was unique. I took a social media marketing class with him where we worked with a local business, so I spent the whole semester creating a social media strategy for them, doing analytics, and creating content for them. For me, this was a great opportunity because it was the first time I was exposed to something like this, a field I now work in, and the experience taught me that I can combine every piece of content creation that I am passionate about with content marketing.

If you could go back in time and give yourself any advice, what would it be?

Just looking back in general, I would say that experience is the best teacher, and you can only experience things if you get outside of your comfort zone and actually do them. If I hadn’t experienced the internships that I don’t know if I would be where I am today. It was a scary thing when I first came to college and then I ended up being a leader of two clubs and although it was a lot of pressure, I wouldn’t have changed anything because I do believe the leadership experiences were so instrumental to helping me get to the position where I am today and feel comfortable as well. I think that college is a time to get outside of your comfort zone to make mistakes and learn because the more you can experience while you are in college, the better off you are when you graduate. Even if you aren’t involved in any extracurricular, I will always suggest attending events that clubs put on because you can experience things and meet new people. The Cross Cultural Center used to do a multicultural night when I was here at Assumption and they would have booths where students would set up food from cultures around the world and this was one of my favorite events of the year because you could learn about different cultures through the medium of food.  

What made you choose to return to Assumption to continue your career here?

It was not something I was expecting. When I worked in recruiting, I realized toward the end that it was not the career for me because it was very sales oriented and I wanted to get back to marketing. When I was working in recruiting, I also had a freelance position where I worked for a marketing company writing blogs about emerging marketing and technology news, so it gave me some experience on the side. I didn’t know I would ever end up back at Assumption, but I saw an opportunity on LinkedIn, and I thought, well what a better place to start my marketing career than the place that was so transformative for me for four years. All of a sudden, I had my first position in marketing where I was the Marketing Content Creator and have since moved up to Digital Marketing Manager, so I am more on the strategy side of the content creation. To be a part of a school that played a huge part in changing my life is such a great opportunity and to continue working in an environment that I am passionate about is so unique.

Do you have any advice you would give to current students at Assumption?

Try to get out there and experience as much as possible because you never know what you’re going to learn from an experience. This is something super important to do in college, but I think especially for first-year students because you have your whole college career ahead of you, but you should use college as an opportunity to create, grow, and experience. When you go into a job interview, talking about specific experiences is always going to make you a more attractive candidate. For example, don’t just tell someone you’re an organized person because anyone can say that. Instead, it means a lot more when you can tell them about a specific experience where you led a project or organized an event or similar. So, just use college as a time to experience as much as you can, but keep in mind that four years from now you are going to interview for jobs, or graduate school, so use your time to come up with portfolio pieces and key talking points.

What values bring meaning and purpose in your life?

Always stay committed to growing and learning. I think about what I’m doing now and how I can do better. I would say to learn and grow from the mistakes you make. The way you stay committed to success and growth is by learning from failures and keeping an open mind towards learning everything you can. There is a lot of learn in the world so you have to have a curious mindset to recognize that there is more to what you want to learn.

As students, both professionally and personally, the idea of failure can bring a feeling of anxiety but can also help to build courage. Is there a time where you failed and what did you learn from it?

I think the only time failure is truly a setback is when we don’t learn anything from it. In my first job after graduating from Assumption as a recruiter, much of my daily schedule was dedicated to cold calls to potential job candidates with a daily goal of 60 calls to set up three interviews. Some days you would get three interviews within your first ten calls, but others you would be well past the 60 call mark with no interviews to show for it. Being ignored or told no 60+ times every day felt like failure to me at first, and it wasn’t until some of my mentors within the company helped me change my mindset that I began to see each “failure” as a learning moment and an opportunity to get better. The sooner a young professional makes the mental switch from being afraid of failure to welcoming it as an opportunity to improve, the better prepared they will be to grow. 

By Caitlin Sze
Caitlin Sze Graduate Assistant for Marketing, Communications & Event Management