Susan Kashack, the current associate vice president of marketing at Sonoma State University, has been working for the university since 1984. If one does the math, that means Kashack has been at this university for a total of 32 years. Kashack has announced she is preparing to retire early fall of this year. Kashack’s career at Sonoma State goes back to when she was a student on the campus years ago.
When Kashack first began as a student at Sonoma State, she was a mother of two sons. During her time at the university, she started fostering her passions for both public relations and the media because of one course: Communications 368, the Sonoma State STAR.
“I was editor of the STAR back in 1992,” said Kashack. “I had two young boys at the time. They spent many hours playing in the grass outside what was the STAR office at that time.”
After Kashack worked with the STAR for a couple of semesters, she began to reach out to other areas on campus. Kashack has held a range of positions such as the affirmative action office assistant to the admissions secretary in the Nursing Department to the department secretary for the Philosophy Department and the Languages Department Director of Communications in University Affairs. She was also the director of news and information in University Affairs prior to her current position.
Because of all of these opportunities, Kashack has accomplished many things throughout her time at this university. One of her favorite accomplishments has been the growing presence of the university magazine “Insights”.
“Starting in 1994, we took the magazine to a new level and continued to improve it issue after issue,” said Kashack. “It now goes to 67,000 of our alumni and friends and provides, I believe, a wonderful cross section of information about the campus."
Another one of Kashack’s accomplishments is that she got to participate in the 40th and 50th anniversary celebrations of Sonoma State University. When looking back on these milestones, Kashack remembers a lot about those two events because of what they meant to her.
“At the 40th we buried a time capsule over at the Alumni Grove. It will be opened in 2061, Sonoma State’s 100th anniversary. I hope to be there,” said Kashack.
All of the these positions that Kashack accumulated over the years have taught her a lot aboutpublic relations, and the different administrations on campus.
“[What I learned in the field was] how important it is to be a strong writer [since] you have to write effectively and persuasively,” said Kashack. “Don’t sweat the small PR stuff and figuring out what the small stuff is.”
In addition to representing the university, Kashack works with President RubenArmiñana and the rest of the University Affairs staff. Armiñana shared how Kashack and him met.
“She was the editor of the STAR in the fall of 1992 and she kept referring to me always as the ‘Cuban-born president,’” saidArmiñana. “I called her on the phone and asked her if she identified others always as to where they were born.”
Armiñana recounted how she was surprised to receive a call directly from the president at the time and saw the call as an example of fair criticism.
“I liked her response and met her a few years later when she applied for a public affairs position in my office,” saidArmiñana. “We have been close colleagues ever since.”
Both Kashack andArmiñana will be enjoying retirement in the following months. Armiñana had some words of advice about retirement that he wanted to share with Kashack. Armiñana stressed that with retirement comes more time to read and travel, and he urges Kashack to take advantage of retirement.
Traveling is one of the things that Kashack loves the most and something she plans on doing following her retirement.