Coming from a family full of Eastern Mennonite University graduates, Brian Yoder Schlabach broke the family pattern.
Yoder Schlabach is the news and media manager at GC, but he got his start writing for GC the summer before he had even started classes. He was offered an internship to work with other college students to publish mPress, the daily newspaper of Mennonite Convention led by GC.
During his time as a student at GC, Yoder Schlabach took photos for the Features page in The Record. He also served as the photo editor a number of times as well as the Funnies editor. His time at GC also involved photography and writing for what was then the public relations office.
After graduating from GC with a communications degree and a minor in art, Yoder Schlabach moved with his wife Anna to Denver, Colorado where she attended Iliff School of Theology, and he worked at a fine art framing shop in an art gallery.
“I felt a little burnt out from writing and wanted to take the art route,” he said.
A year later, Yoder Schlabach combined his passion for writing and art. Over the next four years, he worked for two nonprofit organizations. He was the office manager and communication and marketing person at an after school art education group, Downtown Aurora Visual Arts, and was the marketing and social media coordinator for an art education advocacy group, Think 360 Arts.
When Yoder Schlabach’s wife graduated from seminary, the two moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico to be the leaders of a Service Adventure house. Their time there came to an end when their twins were born, a boy and a girl, and they decided to move back to Goshen. Yoder Schlabach had done an internship with the public relations office while he was in college, and he used his connections to get the job he currently holds.
“We were slightly reluctant to move back because we like the west, but this job [at GC] became open,” he said. “It fell neatly together like a puzzle. It felt like a good fit. I like the college and what we have to offer.”
He started as the administrative assistant, doing some writing and photography, and later became the news coordinator. Yoder Schlabach is now in charge of campus photography, media relations and “contributing in various ways with design and marketing.”
“It’s a really collaborative office,” he said. “If Dominique Burgunder-Johnson, director of marketing, wants to play ideas about a marketing campaign, it’s cool and really fun.”
He collects stories that GC or alumni have been mentioned in from various news outlets and puts those on the website. Yoder Schlabach also writes different news stories about things happening on campus.
“One thing I really love is hearing student stories and seeing what students are doing,” he said. “Our students can be really inspiring and interesting, and they have a fresh perspective that I think really speaks to the great experience GC has to offer.”
Along with that, Yoder Schlabach works closely with social media to see what people are saying about GC, and he takes pictures at campus events or specific pictures for a certain ad.
But coming back to GC to work has been an adjustment for Yoder Schlabach.
“It was a little bit disorienting returning to campus as an employee,” he said. “It’s interesting to see the ways students have changed or stayed the same over the years.”
Yoder Schlabach isn’t the only GC grad who has returned to work in the communications and marketing department.
“It’s fun to work with Hannah Gerig Meyer, a Com-Mar graphic designer, who graduated a year after me, and Dominique who graduated a year before me,” he said. “It’s not surprising that they hire GC grads, but it’s been fun.”
Yoder Schlabach spends most of his free time with his wife and 3 ½ year-old twins, doing things like face painting and building with toy blocks.
Right now, Yoder Schlabach feels good about where he is.
“It’s hard to picture what life will be like in five to ten years,” he said. “So we’ll see. I think right now, my number one job is being a parent and figuring that out.”