What do a mass media major, a history major, a Spanish major, and an American studies major have in common? They’re all now Illinois State University alums who turned their shared passion for global cultures into jobs at the same international company.

These four Redbirds work for IOR Global Services, a Chicago based company that serves clients who are relocating domestically or internationally. IOR provides services to help individuals and families secure living arrangements, settle in and learn the language and culture of their new location.

IOR employees—including these four Redbirds—all have unique educations and personal travel stories.

Putting Experience to Work

“Coming home from that experience made me want to use that in my work.” -Maura Connor

Maura Connor ’90, IOR’s director of global marketing, majored in mass communications (now mass media) in Illinois State’s School of Communication. Some of her favorite memories at Illinois State were working at the student-run radio (WZND Fuzed Radio) and television news (TV-10) stations.

After graduating Illinois State, Connor spent 3 years in Australia with her husband and daughter. The experience was eye-opening.

“Coming home from that experience made me want to use that in my work,” said Connor.

Upon returning to the U.S., Connor ran into IOR’s president, Kendra Mirasol, a former co-worker. Connor was hired onto IOR’s marketing team briefly after, and has been with the company since.

Making History Work

Another IOR staffer, Amy Rudnick ’14, began as a history-social sciences teacher education major at Illinois State but switched to history her senior year. The decision was difficult, but Rudnick made it work.

“I worried ‘What am I going to do with a history degree if not teach?’ But I figured it out,” said Rudnick. (Illinois State’s Career Center and College of Arts and Sciences host an event each year called What To Do With THAT Degree, showing arts and sciences students how their skills will translate into a career.)

That wasn’t the only big decision Rudnick made during her time at Illinois State. She participated in four internships, became president of Illinois State’s National History Honor Society (Phi Alpha Theta), and “couch surfed” across Europe.

After graduation, Rudnick received an internship at IOR, which eventually turned into a position within the company. She’s now IOR’s senior intercultural program manager.

Love of Language

Rita Hess ’14, M.A. ’16, knew she was passionate about foreign languages from an early age. She came to Illinois State as a Spanish teacher education major but later switched to Spanish.

“I remember always looking up to my language teachers,” said Hess.

Spring of her sophomore year, Hess studied abroad in Granada, Spain. She believes it was a valuable experience which helped her understand the value of language learning and she loved immersing in another culture.

“It is rewarding to see the benefits people receive from these services.” -Doug MacMillan

Hess also loved being a part of Bloomington-Normal. While working in Uptown Normal, she met Rudnick, who told her about IOR. After finishing graduate school in 2016, Hess interviewed and received her position within the company. She’s now the language program manager at IOR.

From London to Normal

Doug MacMillan, a destination program manager, took a different path to IOR—and to Illinois State.

The London native studied abroad at Illinois State for a year in 2009 as an exchange student from Canterbury Christ Church University. The American Studies major was always fascinated in the history and culture of the U.S. MacMillan was charmed by Illinois State’s classic American college feel and diverse population.

MacMillan’s experience in the U.S. was so memorable, he relocated to Chicago to be with his wife, an ISU alum whom he met in England when she studied abroad. New to the Chicagoland area, he reached out to Rudnick, an old friend, and she connected him with a position at IOR.

As an expatriate, “It is rewarding to see the benefits people receive from these services,” said MacMillan who navigated the international relocation process himself.

Logan Sellers can be reached at lsselle@ilstu.edu.