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Kathy Ruda, Former Nike Brand Ambassador and Girl Who Barely Sleeps (Seriously … She’s That Involved!)

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois chapter.

For this week’s Campus Celebrity, we decided to feature one of our very own, the wonderful Kathy Ruda! She’s a senior in advertising and Her Campus Illinois’ Event Coordinator. Kathy’s involved in dozens of other campus-wide public relations and advertising positions that we actually don’t understand when she finds time to sleep (although she always makes sure to get at least six hours in order to maintain her superwoman status)! She’s also probably the most fashionable fitness fanatic on campus. We obviously think she’s pretty great, so read on about all of her experiences and advice to fellow collegiettes.

Her Campus: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Kathy Ruda: I am majoring in advertising, with a minor in communications and pursuing a public relation’s certificate through the College of Media. With interests in all facets of marketing, I am constantly seeking out new opportunities to learn, grow and improve in the field. On campus, I am the Event Coordinator for Her Campus, College of Media Ambassador and Freshman Mentor, Director of PR and Advertising for my sorority and a Turner Fellow Intern for the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

HC: What is it like working in the Office of the Vice Chancellor? What does that internship entail?

KR: As one of three Fred H. Turner Fellow interns, I work within Student Affairs administration on multidimensional campus-wide projects related to strategic planning, student fees, leadership development, awards, scholarships and health and wellness among other things. My current project includes serving as a liaison for the Student Fee Advisory Committee and campus unit directors and a personal project proposal regarding campus wellness.

HC: How did you get involved with this?

KR: Each year, three seniors who have demonstrated exemplary leadership abilities are chosen to join the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. The application goes out in early spring and strong leaders in their junior year are encouraged to apply.

HC: Can you tell us a little more about your experience working with Nike this summer?

KR: I worked for Nike in Chicago and was also a part of a “Women’s Line Up,” which is a team of motivating brand ambassadors who assist with Nike Training Club events and classes at the NTC Studio on Michigan Avenue in an effort to build relationships and increase Nike Women’s business. This summer, NTC Chicago held an “NTC Summer Tour,” which was a series of music-inspired, high intensity workout events held in a new neighborhood each week; it was EPIC! I got to learn a lot more about my favorite brand and meet a lot of inspiring people. This experience has truly helped me gain a better sense of my career goals.

HC: Can you tell us a little bit about your adorable fitness fashion sense?

KR: Why thank you! My motto is: “You look good, you feel good, you do a good job.” Dressing in clothes you love and are comfortable in gives you subconscious motivation. My advice is to invest in the right (and cute!) pair of shoes; so many people are in the wrong type of running and/or training shoe. If you’re ever in Chicago, Nike on Michigan Avenue offers running analysis’ on their in-store treadmills – I highly recommend it.

HC: So … how many pairs of Nike shoes do you really own?

KR: Haha, I think it’s upwards of 15 pairs of shoes. I have met people with more than 100 pairs this summer so my number is nothing compared to other Nike sneakerheads!

HC: I know that you have a fitness Instagram and blog. How did you get into that?

KR: I actually just recently began to post fitness-related Instagrams (@kathynatalie) and have started my own health and fitness website called “herFITNESS,” which can be found on my website. I began this because many people kept asking me for advice, after seeing my own progress. My goal with these posts is to inspire others; I have found that following a healthy lifestyle is much more motivating when someone you actually know is practicing one.

HC: What is Red Frog Events and can you tell us more about the case study you won?

KR: Red Frog Events (RFE) is an award winning event production company based in Chicago. This past spring, they held a college case study competition that involved creating a unique 5K mob run, complete with a 15 page portfolio and 10 minute pitch to RFE employees. I was the leader of “Illini Froggers,” a group of nine U of I students randomly selected through the American Advertising Federation. Our team beat other Illinois teams and ended up winning first place in the competition – blowing the judges away and leaving RFE employees with their jaws dropped! This was definitely a memorable moment. Our team was rewarded with a private party bus to RFE’s “Warrior Dash” and over $100 in merchandise spending dollars!

HC: Any advice to collegiettes looking to make the most of their college experience?

KR: Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you; if there are none, take the initiative to make one for yourself. As a first generation student, I can truly say that hard work (going above and beyond), non-stop networking and determination can get you anywhere. When you’re passionate about something, it shows.


Photos courtesy of Kathy Ruda

Editor in Chief of Her Campus Illinois Chapter
A senior at the University of Illinois, Elizabeth spends half of her time in denial of her impending graduation and the other half acting as Editor-in-Chief/ President/Campus Correspondent for the site you're on now, Her Campus Illinois. Her favorite color is pink, which makes this position a match made in heaven. Still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up, her passions lie in writing, digital marketing, social media and fashion. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @champaigngirl. And if you prefer good, old fashioned email, reach her at elizabethdeuel@hercampus.com.