by Katrina Markel
After 11 years working for a group insurance company in Omaha, Amber Knecht decided it was time to follow her passions. She said while she was procrastinating on her “real work” she would spend time thinking about online media.
“I became obsessed with social media and web development as a way to connect with other people,” said Amber, whose last name rather appropriately sounds like “connect.”
She said that if she was going to work outside the home and pay someone else to care for her two young daughters, it was going to be for a job she loved. A desire to work in web development led her to Interface, where Amber joined the inaugural Front End Web Development course.
She said she chose Interface “because I could keep my day job, still support my family and follow something I was passionate about.”
Keeping her day job also meant that she had the luxury of being picky when she started her new job search.
“When Interface was over I had time to look and find the organization that was perfect for me,” said Amber.
Since April, she has been working as a Digital Project Manager at Bozell and is thrilled with the experience thus far. Amber says it was on a short list of five or six Omaha companies where she really wanted to work. She believes that a door was opened for her at Bozell because the staff at Interface, especially co-founder Shonna Dorsey, continually network and advocate on behalf of students.
“It’s not just about teaching people web skills. It’s about really investing that into the community,” said Amber. “Really feeding the talent and keeping the talent here in Omaha.”
Amber also enjoyed the diverse professional backgrounds of her Interface classmates.
“It’s just so cool. We had these people that came from random backgrounds and they followed their passions and Interface helped make it happen,” said Amber.
Originally from Cairo, a small town in Central Nebraska, Amber attended Nebraska Wesleyan University where she studied communications and sociology with a minor in theatre.
“I got my first email address when I started college. It (the internet) wasn’t even a thing,” said Amber with a laugh.
She sees her current career as an extension of her original interests.
“It’s all communication,” said Amber. “And really, too, it’s all about getting people to interact with your site in the way that you want them to.”
Following college, she stayed in Lincoln, where she met her husband and began her career working in resident life at Wesleyan. When her husband was transferred to Omaha, she eventually landed a job in the insurance industry. While there, she gained project management experience, which Amber said combines quite nicely with the skills she gained at Interface. It allows her to be a “bridge” between the development team and the client.
Amber is delighted with her job at Bozell and describes it as more of “lifestyle.” She loves that when she recently brought one of her daughters into the office it was a welcoming environment.
“She’s part of the family at Bozell,” said Amber.
Thinking about her education and career choices, Amber said, “It just didn’t dawn on me that I would end up doing something I’d be so passionate about.”