We had the good fortune of connecting with Erin McCann and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erin, did college have a meaningful and positive impact for you?
I think it’s important to be really self reflective, and self aware when it comes to deciding on post secondary education. For me, College was the right choice. Honestly, it was the only choice. Initially, I wanted to be a broadcast journalist, a career path I fell in love with through my exposure in Texas Public Schools’ Career and Technology Education opportunities. To be a journalist, one needed to attend a journalism school and cross train in the production side in order to be marketable. The biggest question for me was “where,” I should go to college. Initially I started at the University of Texas in Austin, but was quickly overwhelmed by the sheer size of the student population and the lack of ability to connect with anyone in my department. I ended up transferring to Sam Houston State University in Huntsville and studied at the Dan Rather School of Communication. As a SHSU alumnus, Dan Rather personally endowed the communication school and offered a scholarship every year to a SHSU student to study with him in New York. Although I ultimately did not become a broadcaster, my training at Sam Houston State has been a huge part of my success in being a communicator for public schools, as well as my side work on multiple podcasts. My experience in college allowed me to refine my writing style, develop a voice in my work, and gave me the experience necessary to work on the production end of projects. If asked “Was college worth the price tag,” my resounding answer would have to be “Yes!” I know some people think you need to attend the fanciest or most expensive school available, but there are so many opportunities for excellent education. University and College may not be the right path for everyone. For some, trade school might be an excellent option to develop a skill that allows them to pursue a career. Whatever the path, I am a fierce believer in furthering oneself through educational opportunities.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started podcasting about 3 years ago because I trained in broadcasting and was comfortable interviewing others. I was intrigued by the freedom that audio work gives both on the editing side (it’s much easier to edit than video) and with the ability to absorb content on demand. We live in a binge-worthy society and I loved the idea that my messaging could be played on a commute in the car, while someone was walking the dog, or even doing chores around the house. Since then I’ve participated in a number of podcast projects, but there are two that I am most proud of. My initial creative project, Salt Over Your Shoulder, is a podcast that my cousins and I started to spend time together and learn more about the history of superstition and urban legends. Now on Season 3, we have more than 10,500 downloads, and consistently produce new content every two weeks. My second passion project is a podcast based entirely on continuing professional development in the School PR community. My partner, Justin Dearing, and I saw a need to continue bright conversations that we were a part of at the state and national level. We are finishing Season 1, and already in production for Season 2. I am so proud to share that we won an award at the state School PR conference this year for best “Bright Idea,” in our field.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Dallas is such a great city. I’ve lived in, or near Dallas for most of my life. First up – hotel! I love hotels and Dallas has incredible options, no matter what your budget or style. I’ve stayed in a lot of Dallas hotels, but my favorites are either the Mansion on Rosewood, or the Adolphus. I love old-world style! A trip to Wild Detective coffee shop is definitely in order. Whether you’re a coffee person, or a wine person (or both!), you can sip your drink of choice, listen to live music, and browse the bookstore. Dallas is a pretty international city, and there are tons of great food options. For lunch one day, if the guest is a fan of pho, they definitely need to check out “Pho is for Lovers,” on Greenville avenue. I think it’s the best pho I’ve ever had! For dinner, a great steak is in order – this is Texas after all! My personal go-to steak restaurant is Nick and Sam’s. The food is incredible. If you’re looking for something fun and different to do – Deep Ellum has a custom candlebar where guests can hand pour their own candles. While the candles are cooling, the Deep Ellum area has tons of options for food and live music.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents, Jeffrey and Teresa Barnard have always believed in my choices and my adventures, even when it seemed like I was coloring off the page. Thank you for the opportunities you provided me and for your unending support. I absolutely would not be where I am today without the belief and love of my family. Kevin, Fiona and Liam, you guys are the reason I work hard and hustle every day.