Krista Canfield ’03
If anyone knows the importance of connections, it’s Krista Canfield ’03. As senior manager of corporate communications for LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking website with more than 200 million members around the globe, Canfield harnesses the power of her connections in the media industry to spread the word about all the good things happening at the company. And her professional journey started with her intelligent use of SU’s alumni network.
Canfield graduated with a dual degree in broadcast journalism and finance, securing a job as an on-air reporter at the NBC affiliate KDLT-TV in South Dakota. “The Newhouse School did an amazing job prepping me for life as a reporter,” she says. “I was nervous when I walked through the door on my first day, because it was the first time I’d lived in a place where I didn’t know anyone. But, at the same time, I was confident in the skills that helped me land the job.”
After working in broadcast news for a time, Canfield pursued her dream to move to California. Curious about working in public relations and corporate communications, she spent a few weeks in San Francisco meeting Bay Area SU alums who worked in PR and interviewing with various PR firms. “I didn’t have any prior experience in PR, so I accepted a 3-month paid internship at an amazing boutique agency called the Horn Group,” Canfield says. “My goal was to work my butt off and make myself an indispensible part of the team so they might consider bringing me on full time.”
That internship led to more than three years at the digital communications agency, where Canfield worked with a broad range of technology clients. Eventually she thought about moving on from agency life and handling corporate communications inside a company. “Horn Group is a close-knit agency, and I thought of my colleagues like family, so I wasn’t willing to take just any job,” she says. “I had to find the perfect fit.”
As it turned out, the perfect fit found her. “One of my former clients saw me using LinkedIn. I was asking other members for advice on an upcoming trip to London and Paris,” Canfield says. “She chimed in on the thread, and then sent me a separate note saying she knew LinkedIn’s CEO, they were looking for a PR person, and she urged me to interview, knowing my work style.”
The move came with risks. LinkedIn was a startup with just over 200 employees and about 18 million members at the time. Canfield worried about making the jump, but she loved using the site and knew she’d enjoy coming up with interesting story angles. The employees made a great impression too—they seemed smart, passionate and driven.
Canfield made the leap, and now, more than five years later, she knows it was the right choice. LinkedIn has ballooned to over 200 million members and more than 3,400 employees worldwide. Her career has grown with the company. During her time at LinkedIn she has handled trade PR, product PR, launches for new offices and site languages, consumer PR, and now she handles corporate PR at the company. Most important, she still loves her job. “As someone who paid her way through college, SU taught me how important it was to find a career I loved. I didn’t want work to be just a paycheck,” Canfield says. “When you work in a field you absolutely adore, it doesn’t matter how many hours you log on a passion project, because you’ll do whatever it takes to see that concept come to life. Find a company and co-workers who will make the best use of your skills and abilities. If you do, every day will be a challenge, you’ll grow professionally and you’ll actually enjoy what you’re doing.”
Today Canfield uses her connections to help the next generation of SU students. She serves on the board of advisors for the School of Information Studies (iSchool) and has been involved with SU’s Spring Break in Silicon Valley immersion program for the past three years. She also hosts SU-related events at LinkedIn headquarters. “These efforts help me retain my Orange roots while also developing new friendships and business relationships,” she says. “I love meeting students. Their energy is contagious, and I feel like I get as much out of a discussion with them as they’re hopefully getting from me.”
Canfield is also quick to point out that giving back takes on many forms. “I don’t think anyone should measure their philanthropic efforts solely by the amount of money they donate. Of course money can support new buildings, entrepreneurial efforts and events that might not otherwise be possible, but I also make sure I’m sharing my time and expertise,” she says. “I’ve received some of the best career insights from advisers who took the time to give me a nudge, so it’s important to me that I try and help others the same way.”