When Madeline Cohen first enrolled at St. Thomas Aquinas College, she had hopes of becoming an anchorwoman. But in an early video production course, she discovered she preferred to be behind the camera rather than in front of it.
“I’m grateful for the exposure to the different lines of work within that field from the courses I took because that’s what helped me narrow down what I wanted to do,” Madeline says, adding that an internship with a creative advertising agency fostered her interest in digital media.
Throughout college, her career plans took shape with valuable advice and support from mentors like Communications Professor Dr. L. John Durney who had her in several of his classes. “She was a terrific student, with a dry wit and an excellent sense about what makes the media tick,” he says. “Once she hit her stride in junior year, I could always count on her to make interesting and savvy contributions to classroom discussions.”
When another STAC alumnus was looking for some temporary professional help, Dr. Durney didn’t hesitate to recommend Madeline. “She parlayed that experience into a full-time job,” he says, referring to the first position she held at KPMG. Eight years later, as a senior associate of creative and digital content for KPMG US, Madeline says her role involves “developing visual content and assets that drive KPMG’s reputation and values to the market through its digital and social channels.”
The most rewarding part of her job, she says, is being able to showcase her talented KPMG colleagues. For pride month, for example, Madeline produced a video that featured one of the firm’s LGBTQ+ employees. His story became one of the highest-performing on social media. “People are what make KPMG so special and it’s one of my primary goals to represent them in the best way possible,” she says. “Thanks to the ability we have to capture metrics on our social media and digital platforms, I can see if the content I’m creating is resonating with our audiences, and that is another rewarding part of my job.”
Over the past few years, Madeline has been sharpening her managerial skills as a transition coach for KPMG interns and new hires. She looks forward to managing a team of her own so that she can continue to support others on their professional journeys. Giving back is important to Madeline, and she takes advantage of many opportunities KPMG makes possible for its staff to volunteer in school reading programs, book distribution events, and food drives.
Since she’s been working from home because of the pandemic, Madeline says that her newest favorite co-worker is her dog, Oakley. She also enjoys spending time with family and friends and cooking, reminiscent of her childhood when she spent hours in the kitchen with her grandmother.
Since she graduated from STAC, Madeline has returned to her alma mater to speak with Communications Seminar students about her experiences at STAC and her journey from the classroom to her profession in the communications field and has recently become a member of the Alumni Association Board.
“Gratefully, she never hesitated to come back to STAC as a guest lecturer in my Senior Seminar class, and it was always fun to sit in the current students’ seats and enjoy her presentation,” he says. “She relished sharing genuine professional insights and sage counsel with them.”