AAU Alumni Spotlight: Věra Kepková, Online Marketing Manager
Věra Kepková from the Czech Republic finished her B.A. in Politics and Society at Anglo-American University (then Anglo-American College) in 2007.
After finishing her undergraduate studies Kepková obtained her Master’s degree in Hotel Management from the University of Bordeaux in France. Today, she travels between the Czech capital, Prague and Plzen working with WTF Digital as their Online Marketing Manager. At WTF Digital (short for What the Fun) Kepková is responsible for corporate social networking strategy, animated video creation, copywriting and PPC campaigns.
What was you favorite class or teacher at AAU?
It’s hard to say because I really enjoyed the Bachelor’s program of Politics and Society as a whole. But if I had to pick one person, then it would be Tony Ozuna. He was always friendly with students, willing to help with any academic issues. The right person in the right place, so to speak. I was really happy to hear that he had become the Associate Dean at the AAU. As per my favorite class, it would be a creative writing class, which was very challenging for me as a non-native English speaker. It helped me not only to improve my written English but also to find joy in playing with words, which is something that sticks with me to this day. Many years later, when I set up my own business, a digital agency called WTFdigital.cz, a memory of this class crossed my mind as I was playing with the letters: What The Fun, Welcome To Facebook, What’s The Freebee… etc. The description of our services is a creative one.
What’s something valuable you learned outside of the classroom at AAU?
I learned a few things about American culture just by hanging out with the American students. I observed these differences closely and some of them I liked a lot, some of them I liked less, indeed. To give you an example of what I liked about the Americans was their attitude towards success. It’s OK for them to say out loud, “I am good at” or “I excel at…” Most Czechs consider this bragging and they would label you as a bragger. But why? Is it necessary? I think it was Prof. Milada Polišenská who during her famous history classes once mentioned that the Czech nation has some self-confidence issues. She had a point. We act as if we don’t believe we matter and play it small and safe. Is there a correlation with how we were treated as a nation in history? I think it could be… Let’s take the Munich agreement in 1938.
We are a small country which was easy to portion at this time. The betrayal of more powerful European states to which “we didn’t matter” and had “not so much to offer”, therefore Hitler could have his piece of cake and hopefully move on. Either way, I have learned outside the classroom that it is OK to say out loud what you are good at and that you had an amazing day because you succeeded in something you longed for. Sometimes I still get disapproving regards from others, but they’re less and less frequent, for which I am really glad. We should be proud of ourselves as a nation. There is a high density of smart people living in our rather tiny country.
If you had the opportunity to give a TED talk, what would you speak about?
If I were to give a TED talk, I would speak about the importance of true friendships in the context of social media, notably Facebook. True friends don’t grow on the trees and if you are lucky enough to find some, then you should cherish them. Make time for them. Chat over a cup of coffee. Social media creates this illusion of connection with others. But it’s a lie. You are not connected, you are hooked. You agreed with the terms and conditions skillfully drafted by Mark Zuckerberg and you should bear this in mind anytime you are falling down that social media rabbit hole.
You see, my business revolves around online marketing and advertising. Trying to figure out ways of capturing internet users’ attention is my daily bread. People spend so much time online and are so easily distracted that scares me. Did you know that humans have a shorter attention span than goldfish? According to a new study from Microsoft, people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds – compared to the average attention span for the notoriously ill-focused goldfish which is nine seconds. So, stop seeking connections online! Go out with your true friends instead. (And maybe work on your attention span. LOL)
Knowing what you know now, what would you advise yourself when you were just graduating from AAU?
I would advise my younger self to be more patient. Let things develop at their own pace and let go of the urge of trying to figure out everything too quickly. Life sometimes moves in mysterious ways and you can never have full control over your future. In French, there is this concept of “laisser-faire” (= leaving things to take their own course) which I learned later during my Master´s studies.
For fun, what is the first thing you like to do when you’re in a new city?
I always find a local coffee shop and have a cup of coffee. And by a local coffee shop, I don’t mean Starbucks or Costa Café—that would be a cultural crime! I really mean a local coffee shop owned by a local person who is usually open to a little chit-chat. Apart from savoring my cup of coffee, I take out a city guide and start making plans. I’m usually traveling with my beloved husband George, who’s a coffee lover like myself, and who is just fun to share adventures with.