Day in the Life: Alicia Kaiser


- Melanie Groves

UVic staff member Alicia Kaiser with one of her campus Digicaster displays. Photo: UVic Photo Services.

When Alicia Kaiser arrived at UVic in 2007 to pursue her degree in English and professional writing, she didn’t have a clear plan for the future. Eleven years later, she has found her niche as a member of the university’s core communications and marketing team, and UVic’s first and only digital signage coordinator.

A fateful meeting with the co-op coordinator for the humanities and fine arts in her third year led to a series of co-op terms, including one in University Communications + Marketing (UC+M) as a marketing assistant. “I one-hundred per cent owe my career path to UVic Coop & Career,” she says. “It showed me what I didn’t want to do as much as what I did. When I got to the marketing job, I really liked the variety and how all the different pieces fit together.”

After graduating with a BA in 2013, Kaiser jumped at the chance to apply when a full-time position opened up in UC+M. As UVic’s digital signage coordinator, she is the person behind UVic’s Digicaster network of digital screens—and a strategic marketing coordinator. “My job is difficult to explain,” she says. “I’m a coordinator for two completely different things: strategic marketing and digital signage.”

“The Digicaster is a cross-campus internal communications tool that started from nothing in 2013,” Kaiser says. “We’re now at 92 displays shared between 34 units.” In the first two years, she managed the project to get the system up and running—planning for installations in departments across campus, coordinating software and hardware in partnership with University Systems and Facilities Management, developing guidelines and standards, and onboarding and training departmental users.

Now, with only a few displays added each year, her role involves ongoing maintenance and training for users, as well as troubleshooting to make sure all her “babies” are operating smoothly.

Kaiser also curates the content for the central content channel on the digital displays, reviewing and scheduling slides that are submitted by campus users—more than a thousand annually. “It’s a free and sustainable option for campus communications, so it’s pretty popular,” she says.

Wearing her strategic marketing hat, Kaiser coordinates marketing projects for internal campus departments. “Every project starts with a strategy—meeting with partners to find out what their marketing objectives are and gathering information, and then coming up with recommendations through the lens of UVic’s institutional priorities and brand, which may involve writing and presenting a project or creative brief,” she says.

“After that, I coordinate the design of all pieces of the project, and am the go-between between the department and our stellar designer team. I’m not the creative person but I do a lot of consultation, translating and reviewing to get the project from an idea to the finished product.” Recent projects have included the university’s Indigenous Plan and Strategic Framework, and events such as Connect U and the REACH Awards.

In an average day, Kaiser shifts gears many times between meetings, project work and email correspondence. “I always like working with different people,” says Kaiser. “I also feel like I can make recommendations that get heard, and see my input being used. Since my position was new, I’ve been able to carve out a job that’s perfect for me.”

Originally from Shawnigan Lake, Kaiser calls herself a “gigantic nerd” with a penchant for board games and trivia quizzes. She plays a five-hour Dungeons & Dragons game every Sunday with a “guild of adventurers” and enjoys slipping into the role of someone else, especially in the sci-fi and horror genres.

She also loves to “lift really heavy things” and finds weightlifting not only makes her feel strong but improves her overall health. A dog lover, she is looking forward to a future that includes a multiple-dog household, as well as more international travel. “I’m proud to be here,” she says of UVic. “I’m a bit of a small-town girl, but I’ve always felt safe and comfortable at UVic and find it a really welcoming place to be. I’m close with my team and really happy with what I’m doing.”


In this story

Keywords: alumni, marketing, co-op, staff, Day in the Life

People: Alicia Kaiser

Publication: The Ring

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