How Can One’s Career Aspirations Align With the Will of God? BYU School of Communications Alum Briana Barker Gives Insight.
Briana Barker (BA ‘12), Vice President of Corporate Partnerships Operations and Activation for the Utah Jazz, presented during the School of Communications' annual Beckham lecture on October 14. She focused her lecture on how “walking the walk” and taking spiritual guidance into one’s daily life can benefit one’s career in unexpected and unforeseen ways.
Barker may have pursued a career in broadcast journalism, but she didn’t always have those aspirations. Her initial choice was to major in the Music Dance Theatre (MDT) program, but she felt spiritually guided to pursue broadcast journalism instead.
Armed with several internships and a Bachelor of Arts degree at BYU, she embarked in her first job as a production assistant for a major network and moved to Santa Monica, California.
“I learned very early on that I didn’t fit in [there],” Barker said. “And even though I didn’t stay there for very long, I was able to have some very special moments where I knew that my uniqueness aided in bringing the Light of Christ to others.”
After receiving a difficult spiritual prompting urging her to leave her job in California, Barker walked in faith onto a one-way flight to Boise, Idaho, which she labeled as one of the most difficult but best decisions of her life. She immediately grew to love her life in Idaho, surrounded by those who shared her spirituality and creating meaningful relationships with coworkers that still last to this day. However, after almost three years in Boise, Barker said something felt off.
“I was attending a fireside where the speaker was talking about a moment from her past when she had an unmistakable feeling that she needed to ask God where she needed to be instead of where she wanted to be,” said Barker. “In that moment, I knew I was comfortable, but not where God needed me to be.”
Barker received an email from the news director for KSL less than 48 hours later, offering her a job. She didn’t want to leave her job in Idaho and return to Utah, but she cast her fears aside and walked in faith once again. This decision to trust God eventually kicked off her current, six-plus-year career working with the Utah Jazz.
Barker’s remarks about faith playing a large role in her career journey resonated with several current BYU communications students who attended the lecture.
“I loved her emphasis on moving forward even when you don’t know exactly what that choice is going to entail or where that path is going to go,” said broadcast journalism senior Abby Gunderson. “I don’t know where I want to be in eight months, and it’s just really comforting to be like, ‘Okay, I just need to move forward. Things are going to fall into place if I just put myself out there.’”
Ashley Chase, another broadcast journalism student, liked Barker’s thoughts on taking one’s religious uniqueness into the workplace.
“It’s very important to have that Light of Christ and know where you stand on things and be willing to be your own person and what you stand for,” Chase said. “It can lead to people asking questions, knowing your values and trusting you in your job.”
Following Barker’s lecture, attendees of the event were invited to walk to the George H. Brimhall Building and join in the labs open house event.
This event was a chance for different alumni, faculty and students to discuss their memories at the BYU School of Communications, as well as their career opportunities. Current communications students and faculty described what the program looks like today and how it’s changed over the past several years.
This year’s annual Beckham lecture and networking event gave School of Communications students, alumni and staff a lot to think about regarding career options and how to implement their faith into whatever dream they chase.
“By the world’s standards, I have not lived an extraordinary life,” Barker said. “But I would be remiss to consider my journey anything less than miraculous as Heavenly Father has continually shown His hand. I am living proof that as you walk in faith and meekness, if you stay close to the Light of Christ, you will be blessed even in your career.”