menagerie

Kristina Essig

Kristina Essig

Account Manager

Everything is bigger in Texas, and Kristina’s bubbly personality and dedication to her team are no exception. Coming to Mizzou from Dallas, she’s put her natural knack for leadership to use as the Account Manager for Team Menagerie.

When it comes to leadership, however, this isn’t her first rodeo. Kristina previously served as the President of Alpha Delta Pi and as a Panhellenic Counselor during formal recruitment this year. Greek life bolstered her opportunities to serve the community, her favorite being as a meal cook and seasonal volunteer for Ronald McDonald House charities. Through her involvement with Relevant Youth, a student-led creative marketing agency at MU, Kristina discovered a love for event planning and experiential marketing.

This summer, Kristina brought her energy and ambition back to Dallas, where she worked as a Technology Intern at Edelman. Before that, she spent the spring semester as a Corporate and Consumer Intern at BCW in Brussels working alongside communications professionals across Europe. When she’s not jet setting, you can find Kristina attending meetings for groups like MU’s AAF chapter and PR Club or leading meetings for Mojo Ad, of course.

In the future, Kristina hopes to finally reach her goal of visiting all 50 states. Right now she’s got 41 under her belt, only counting states that she spent the night in or did an activity in (everyone knows driving through doesn’t count). Next up on her list? Alaska and the Northeast.

Lilly Beckwith

Lilly Beckwith

Qualitative Strategist

When it comes to asking the tough questions, Lilly is your girl. As the Qualitative Strategist for Team Menagerie this year, she’s dedicated to unearthing the kind of insights that killer campaigns are built on.

Although she grew up just across the Kansas border, Lilly bleeds black and gold. As a member of Tour Team, she loves helping prospective students discover all MU has to offer. And walking backwards, obviously. During her junior year she even served as the Tour Team Recruitment Coordinator, working within the University of Missouri Office of Visitor Relations and managing two social media accounts associated with the university.

Over the summer, Lilly worked in Barcelona, Spain as a Marketing & Communications Intern for Frank Stein Studio. Before that, she took advantage of the opportunity to work remotely as a Communications Intern for Standing Partnership in St. Louis. Through both of these internships, Lilly got to flex her strategic muscles as she helped with B2B communications, social media strategy, email campaigns and more. Her diverse work experience helps her approach problems from every angle, developing holistic and well-informed solutions.

During her time in Barcelona, Spain, Lilly put her Spanish language skills to use. Now, she’s on her way to being trilingual as she learns Catalan.

Sierra Lindemann

Sierra Lindemann

PR Account Manager

As PR Account Manager, Sierra is in charge of getting people talking. More specifically, she knows how to drum up the right kind of conversation in the right places, helping our client put their best foot forward.

Since coming to MU from Glenwood, Minnesota, Sierra dove head first into opportunities that perfectly prepared her for the role she’s playing on Team Menagerie. Her internship experiences supplied her with knowledge in a wide variety of industries, from finance to senior services and education. Sierra prides herself on being adaptable, moving from one project to the next with an open-minded approach.

As an intern for a private equity company, she helped manage marketing efforts and relationship building with small, experiential businesses. Working with the Minnesota Gerontological Society, Sierra boosted its awareness efforts around issues faced by aging adults and their caretakers on social media. During her time as an intern at Sedation Consult, she expanded her social media expertise and built a strategy to promote continuing education courses for medical professionals.

Now back on campus for her senior year, Sierra is working as a Student Brand Manager for Bud Light Seltzer. Try to spot her at Columbia’s bars and liquor stores handing out merch and samples! When she’s not working the world’s most fun job, Sierra is probably on the court with her intramural volleyball team or at a PR Club meeting.

Unlike the rest of us former bookworms turned screen addicts, Sierra kept up with her childhood love of reading. It’s her goal to write a novel by the time she’s 40, hopefully, inspired by all the travel she has planned for after graduation.

Maddie Hawes

Maddie Hawes

Quantitative Strategist

If you ask any of the (self-proclaimed mathematically challenged) creatives on Team Menagerie, Maddie is a miracle worker, running the numbers and laying the foundation for a truly intelligent campaign. As the Quantitative Strategist, spreadsheets and analytics are her jam. Being one of two Maddies on the team, she often goes by Dags. Partially to avoid confusion but mostly because her parents almost named her Dagmar, and that’s objectively cooler than Maddie.

Originally from Kirkwood, Missouri, Dags has truly made Columbia home, taking advantage of opportunities to be involved with the university, student organizations and Mizzou Student Media. Last semester she worked as a graphic designer for the Office of Undergraduate Research, conceptualizing and executing visuals to promote all of the department’s events and initiatives. Speaking of events, Dags has a knack for experiential marketing. As a member of Relevant Youth, a student-run creative marketing agency, she put her visual skills to use on their event planning team. In addition, she helps monitor the agency’s social media accounts and website, pulling valuable data each month to help strengthen its online presence.

Don’t be fooled by her research and insight skills, though. Dags is creative at heart, and she channels that energy into crafting a personal style. Her self-described Y2K aesthetic comes complete with an early aughts digital camera. For Dags, digital photography is a fun way to get to know new people and capture exciting experiences. She built her photo album this summer during her service trip in Athens, Greece, where she helped the Home Project support Ukrainian refugee youth and, of course, lived out everyone’s Mamma Mia! fantasy.

McKenna Neef

McKenna Neef

Digital Strategist

It’s a digital world, and we’re all just living in it. But thanks to McKenna, Team Menagerie is thriving in it. As the Digital Strategist, she helps our client meet consumers where they are and ensures every impression makes an impact.

Through her various internship experiences and involvement outside of classes, McKenna became fluent in the language of digital marketing. As an intern at Trozzolo Communications Group, she wrote copy for some impressive clients – like Dot’s Pretzels and Boulevard Brewing – across print, radio, digital, social and out-of-home formats. During her time abroad last semester, McKenna worked at FTI Consulting in Brussels. While in that role, she approached digital marketing and writing with a global lens, gaining experience in internal communications, social media auditing and podcast writing. As a Digital Marketing Intern at Brittany Link Marketing in Kansas City, she learned the ins and outs of SEO and influencer marketing. It’s safe to say McKenna has all corners of communications covered.

Outside of professional experiences, McKenna has held leadership positions within Women in Media, Relevant Youth and Forte, a Cappella group, as well as having written for Vox Magazine. When home in the Kansas City area, McKenna is heavily involved in her community. She’s volunteered with several organizations on various initiatives, such as bringing music to elderly homes, raising money for The Thirst Project and working with KC Summer Food Program.

Growing up, McKenna was always involved in the performing arts, and she’s carried that passion with her. Whether she’s singing her heart out with Forte or roping Team Menagerie into doing vocal warm-ups before presentations, she’ll always be a theater kid at heart. Her top musical rec? The Light in the Piazza.

Nathan Andrzejewski

Nathan Andrzejewski

Media Planner

As the Media Planner for Team Menagerie, Nathan bridges the gap between creative and digital. Beyond that, he manages the budget, which is no easy task. He describes himself as easygoing and optimistic, which comes in handy when the team is in need of some comedic relief during busy work sessions.

Arriving from Ballwin, Missouri, Nathan found ways to gain career related knowledge through his campus involvement. During his junior year, he served on the Interfraternity Council Executive Board as the Vice President of public relations. Additionally, he filled the same role within his fraternity chapter, Delta Chi. On top of Greek life, Nathan is a Mizzou Digital Ambassador, creating content for MU’s social media accounts. In these roles, he learned a lot about the importance of managing an organization’s digital presence, making him well-equipped to implement best media practices for our client. This summer, Nathan also worked for the MU Office of Research as a Health Innovation Technology Intern.

Service is also an important part of Nathan’s MU experience. Last year, he served as Delta Chi’s Internal Philanthropy chair. Part of this role included supporting his fraternity as the Jimmy V. Foundation Philanthropy Director, an organization that funds cancer research.

Interestingly enough, Nathan originally came to school to study music. Although music as an academic pursuit wasn’t for him, he still plays a few instruments and even writes music. Stay tuned for our team theme song.

Elyssa Gerstel

Elyssa Gerstel

Content Manager

As the Content Manager for Team Menagerie, Elyssa is putting her extensive writing background to use this semester. Chances are, we wouldn’t make it through a meeting if it weren’t for Elyssa trailing behind whoever is typing in the shared document, correcting typos in real-time.

As a senior, Elyssa has built an impressive resume of internship and extracurricular experience that makes her the perfect person for this role. This summer, she worked as a Media Relations Intern for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee, honing in on her public relations and social media skills. At St. Jude, she learned how to build relationships between the hospital and an array of media outlets. Before that, Elyssa gained influential experience in journalistic reporting through her roles at both a community newspaper in Oklahoma City and as a Government Reporter with the Columbia Missourian. As if Elyssa doesn’t already sound like the poster child for the School of Journalism, she also spends her free time volunteering with the Journalism Academic Advising Office, helping other students get the most out of their college years.

Elyssa is involved with a variety of groups on campus, pursuing all of the causes and activities she cares about outside of her academic studies. She is a part of the Student Support Staff at the MU Women’s Center, Events Director for It’s On Us and a member of the student-led marketing agency, Relevant Youth. No matter how busy these activities keep Elyssa, she still finds time to be a devoted pet parent to her cat, Sterling.

As a self-proclaimed vivacious reader, Elyssa has always found comfort in a good novel. This year alone, Elyssa has read 17 books and does not plan to stop anytime soon. Stay tuned to hear what she’s reading next!

Maddie Schuck

Maddie Schuck

Copywriter

Everyone knows that frustrating feeling of having a great idea but not being able to find the words to do it justice. Luckily, Team Menagerie has Maddie to ensure that all content speaks to the heart of the audience in a way that they can’t help but relate to.

Over the past few years, Maddie honed her command of language, working for a couple of Columbia-based startups and a global communications agency. As a Copywriting Intern at Veterans United Home Loans, she worked with the Branch Marketing team to write copy for social media, website content and promotional materials for over 20 branches across the country. Later, as a PR and Communications Intern at EquipmentShare Maddie created content for a year long social media campaign. Most recently, she traveled to Brussels for the summer where she worked as a Corporate and Consumer Communications Intern for BCW Global. These vast experiences supported Maddie to write for a variety of audiences and embody a brand’s voice across all work.

Coming to MU from a small town, Maddie looked for ways to get involved right away. Since freshman year, she’s been a member of Relevant Youth, a student-led marketing agency. Within the organization, she’s worked as a copywriter, led the production of the annual digital magazine and is now serving as the Managing Director. She is also a member of Kappa Delta and Mizzou Student Foundation.

Always looking for a new hobby, Maddie committed to learning embroidery this year. So far, she’s completed one slightly lopsided embroidered mushroom. It’s currently hanging proudly on her wall.

Lauren VerBrugge

Lauren VerBrugge

Video Producer

Whether it is on TikTok, YouTube or Instagram Reels, if a brand isn’t stepping into the video space, they’re not reaching the young adult market. As the Video Producer for Team Menagerie, Lauren is instrumental in putting the team’s ideas into motion.

Lauren describes herself as motivated and her impressive resume proves that. After three years of working as a Production Assistant at ABC 17 News, Lauren now excels in her role as a News Promotion Intern. In addition to video, Lauren expanded her skillset as a Social Media Branding Strategist at Castello Branco Fields. As a Columbia native, Lauren left her mark on the town earlier than many of us, most notably as a mural designer for Noodles & Company in 2015. On campus, she serves as the President of the MU Collegiate Future Business Leaders of America chapter.

Lauren also dedicates time to giving back to the community she grew up in. She volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and as a packer at the food bank. With her involvement with FBLA, Lauren took part in Columbia Parks and Recreation’s cleanup efforts.

As a creative person, Lauren is always looking for new mediums to experiment with. She’s a pro bullet journaler and even crochets. When she’s not creating, she enjoys reading and scouring different shops for new additions to her ring collection. Someday, Lauren hopes to travel to Japan, and is currently learning Japanese to prepare.

Megan Jansen

Megan Jansen

Art Director

When it comes to visually compelling content, the Art Director is a key part of the equation. Team Menagerie is lucky to have Megan in this role, who describes herself as innately creative and who brings imagination to all her work.

Originally from St. Louis, she returned to her roots during her time as a Graphic Design and Event Programming Intern for the Saint Louis Art Fair. In that role, Megan helped promote the annual event and ensured the year’s theme was represented across all visuals. As a Communications Intern for the Missouri State Teachers Association, she gained experience in magazine writing and editing, logo design and video editing and production. Supporting a good cause and aiming to make a difference through her work, led Megan to her role as a Graphic Designer for Y STEM and Chess, an organization that helps underserved youth pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. With all of these opportunities, Megan has a well-rounded skill set in all things visual, making her the perfect team member for the role.

On campus, Megan is involved in a variety of clubs that allow her to both strengthen her career-related skills and support causes that she’s passionate about. Additionally, Megan serves as the Vice President of a campus organization, which helps ensure success and build community for MU’s various students.

Megan’s adventurous spirit means she’s already very well traveled, especially after her one month trip to Europe after high school graduation. Over the course of the trip, she was able to visit nine countries, and she’s very proud of the keychain collection she has to show for it.

Tyler Conley

Tyler Conley

Graphic Designer

Tyler has a knack for turning a simple concept into a dynamic logo, illustration or any other design element you can think of. As the Graphic Designer for Team Menagerie, nobody is better equipped to bring the client’s brand and message to life.

Tyler refined his skills through a handful of internships and campus organizations that gave him the chance to build his portfolio and define his creative style. As a Creative Intern at MMGY Global, Tyler worked for multinational brands in the travel and tourism industry. On campus, he is a member of the student-led marketing agency, Relevant Youth. As a graphic designer, he helped a client with their initial logo design and brand standards. Now, as a Creative Lead for Relevant Youth, he’s in charge of his client team’s creative efforts. Tyler even gained some freelance experience doing design for Ad Creations, a branded merchandise and apparel supplier in St. Louis.

One of Tyler’s go-to fun facts about himself is that he has an inexplicable fear of whales. To top it off, his swimming skills are practically non-existent, so it’s safe to say you won’t find him in the ocean anytime soon. Thankfully for the team, he’s drowning in graphic design skills.