By Donna Parker
Rhonda Parker Crawford, who received a bachelor’s degree in communication from Trinity in 1989, currently serves as the vice president of member communications for USAA, a financial services company that represents seven million U.S. military personnel and their families, a job that Rhonda says she was born to do.
“I come from a military family, so this is the perfect position for me, without having to put on a uniform,” jokes Rhonda.
In addition to being responsible for the USAA Magazine, as well as the company’s annual report and financial communications, Rhonda’s duties have expanded to include social media for the 87-year-old conservative organization.
“You have to stay current with where people seek information,” says Rhonda.
“We are right now placing financial advice videos on YouTube and working in the blogging spaces of Twitter and Facebook.”
Rhonda, who’s been with the insurance giant for 20 years, began working as a Trinity student intern. She briefly thought about going somewhere else after graduation. In fact, Texas Monthly offered her an entry job as a fact checker, but she chose to stay put.
“I literally was the student intern at USAA who started at $4.10 an hour,” remembers Rhonda.
“The turning point for me was eight years ago when I became an executive. Most people grow their careers by working for numerous companies, yet I’ve been able to build my resume with one brand. I’ve worked under four CEOs here and developed a diversity of experience through a broad scope of projects, budgets and responsibilities.”
And, she still gets career advice from her mentor, Sammye Johnson, department of communication.
“I really got so much more than just an education at Trinity and count some professors among my dearest friends.”
“Bill Christ, department of communication, was my advisor and helped shape me with his valuable curriculum advice. I was a non-traditional student who was always working, so it meant a great deal to me to stay connected. Trinity was the right fit for me because I had no desire to go to a large state school. I wanted to know my professors and for them to know me. It was a great educational foundation to build upon,” states Rhonda, who recently earned her Master of Science in communications management from the Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University
Rhonda, who is married with two sons, spends her spare time with her boys who race motocross. She is proud of her work accomplishments, but says her family is her greatest achievement.
“I’m sitting here in my office and have done some amazing work in communications, but my real legacy is my own children.”
Rhonda’s family loves to water ski and snorkel. They have a great beach trip planned this summer to Turks and Caicos for a well-deserved rest from the corporate world.
“So many beaches, so little time,” she jokes. “If it were up to me, I’d be on the beach all the time.”You may e-mail Rhonda at Rhonda.firstname.lastname@example.org.