Erin Cooper

Creative & Brand Manager

When did you start working at MIL and what was your position?
I started working with MIL in 2010 as a part-time Proposal/Public Relations Coordinator. At the time, I was finishing up my master’s degree in Communications at Virginia Tech and my duties were to edit resumes and write press releases. I continued in that capacity for a year and then joined MIL’s Proposals & Marketing team in November 2011 as a full-time Public Relations Coordinator.

Describe your career path.
Today, I am MIL’s Creative & Brand Manager in the Proposals & Marketing department. We have a unique team; in that we are all multi-faceted in our roles. In our department, you are empowered to identify a need, and then implement and lead that initiative. Because of this, I have had more of a “career evolution” where I have taken on more and more responsibility through the years. What started as a part-time position, evolved into a public relations role, which moved into overall communications. Then, I began to really take on graphic design and brand work at the company. I was recently promoted to manage creative strategy for MIL, where I am integral in guiding and shaping MIL’s brand and identity. In this role, I execute brand strategies across corporate departments and business units, unifying messaging through cohesive campaign plans, while also keeping my hand in design. You can see my work in MIL’s internal and external communication, graphic/video/web design, materials designed for events, advertising, marketing collateral, and proposal design.

Did you further your education or obtain certifications while employed at MIL?
I sure did! In 2017 I completed my second master’s degree (in graphic design) while working at MIL. This allowed me to really hone my self-taught design skills, and was an excellent complement to my communication background (design IS communication!) Additionally, this has allowed me to lead MIL more confidently into a well-maintained brand identity, through both words and images.

In terms of career growth, what is one piece of advice you would offer someone beginning a career at MIL?
Do not wait for a growth/promotion opportunity to land in your lap; most times the answer or solution you seek is not going to just happen without speaking up. If you have a passion or see a path for yourself at MIL, ask for it or help in getting there. You are the only person who can define your career and make it what you want – if your new team is anything like mine, you have an amazing support system and boss/mentor who only wants to see you succeed! Work hard and ask for what you deserve – what is the BEST that could happen? “No” can be a great motivator. Good Luck!

What is one project from the past year that you are most proud of?
In the past year or so I have been taking on more video projects. It has been fun putting together pieces that capture our work, like Robotic Process Automation. Currently, I am working on developing a promotional video for the grand opening of a new MIL facility, which is pretty exciting.

What do you love about your current position, and/or overall career at MIL?
I have the best team and most supportive management. I have always felt valued and trusted, no matter what stage I was at in my career with MIL. I believe this gave me the confidence to grow – with a healthy dose of humor and comradery in the day-to-day!