Team : Work

Staff Interviews

Interview with Mika About Her Journey into Communications

January 7, 2022
Mika joined ESD 112 in a new position managing ESD program communications. We caught up with Mika to talk about how she went from training sea life to coordinating media interviews and how she gets everything done on her lengthy to-do lists.

Have you always wanted to work in a creative career?

Yes! Because I enjoy so many of the creative elements that go into a job in the Communications field, it’s a really good, fun fit! Every day is a little different, and it requires a certain level of flexibility, but it definitely keeps things interesting. 

You’ve had a wide variety of jobs in your life! How did you get started working in the field of Communications? 

While working as a sea otter and penguin trainer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (almost 20 years ago), I found that I enjoyed and was good at working with the media doing on-air and written interviews and articles. I was fortunate to be recruited by the Public Relations team and was able to put my English degree (University of Puget Sound alumGo Loggers!) to use. I started off as an administrative assistant and in seven years worked my way up to a management position with the support of amazing mentors on the Public Relations team. 

What brought you to Camas and Southwest Washington from Monterey? 

I love to be on, in, or near the water, fresh or salt water. Mountains and forests soothe the soul, and the Pacific Northwest in general has always felt like home. I was born in Southern California, and went to school in Tacoma, WA. I knew from the moment I first visited a family friend in Washington as a young child that I wanted to one day live in the area. Camas is the perfect blend of small-town charm with excellent schools, with the conveniences of the big city (and a good airport) close by.

Mika training a penguin at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

How has working for ESD 112 been for you so far? 

I’m really happy working for ESD 112 on the Communications and Public Engagement team so far. It’s a good sign when it’s not a hardship to log on and check emails on Monday morning, and I look forward to seeing members of my team on my onsite work days during the week. It’s been really nice to work hard during the workday, and then sign off at the end of the day and not stress/worry about work-related stuff in my personal time. Having that very clean and clear separation between the two is a happy and healthy (and appreciated) thing!

What are the most fulfilling and most challenging parts of your work at ESD 112? 

The most challenging parts of my work at ESD 112 so far is the sheer number of programs, teams, and departments to learn about (I was told there would be more than 300 internal programs I’d be responsible for supporting within the scope of my position — which is a lot to learn/remember), and trying to keep really organized with my ongoing to-do lists so that I don’t let things slip through the cracks as I’m juggling the various communication requests and projects that come across my desk.  

The most fulfilling parts of this job would be meeting and working with so many interesting, cool people who work in the various departments here, and learning about the important work they’re doing, and being able to support what they’re working on, even in small ways, whenever I can.  

Also, I LOVE making to-do lists and being able to check boxes off as I complete tasks. I find it very satisfying, and this job demands that I create daily/weekly to-do lists and try to tick as many boxes as possible every single day. 

What kind of communications project do you most enjoy executing? 

I love copy editing and proofreading, and helping people and teams figure out the most concise, elegant, and intuitive way to get their message/story across to various audiences. 

What kind of communications project is most challenging for you? 

I’m still learning about how to best use social media to support various campaigns and projects. It’s an area I definitely need/want to focus more on, so that I can give better recommendations, and help to drive engagement across platforms. 

What is your favorite way to receive information? What is your least favorite way to receive information? 

Initial kickoff meetings to share an idea or bigger project are often helpful as a starting point. Written communications are really handy for sharing details and resources. I really appreciate receiving written samples of past projects, articles, etc. to use as a reference tool , so that I can better understand preferred voice, tonality, and ways of referencing specific programs, partners, etc. The more details and examples shared, the easier it is for me to deliver in a timely, accurate, and preferred manner. 

What have you done on your bucket list? What’s still left to do? 

I’ve been lucky to travel to a lot of amazing places: Bali, Iceland (shown in photo above), New Zealand, Africa, Italy and Sicily, Japan, Singapore, and many other countries, and there are a TON of places that are still on our list. 

Random final question: If you were to get a tattoo, what would it be and why? 

I don’t have any, but if I were to get one, it’d be the one I’ve thought about since college days: the Auryn symbol from The Neverending Story. I like what it represents (duality, the balance between light and dark, etc.), and it just looks so cool! I love snakes. Maybe in part because my Chinese Zodiac sign is the snake. 

About the TEAM Member

Mika Yoshida

Mika Yoshida

Over the course of my career I've worked in corporate retail management (for stores like Sanrio/Hello Kitty, Restoration Hardware, etc.), owned my own specialty candy and chocolate boutique, managed a bed and breakfast on the Big Island of Hawaii, worked in a tiny antique jewelry store, and earned a coveted job as a sea otter and penguin trainer and diver at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. All of these experiences have contributed towards who I am as a person and contributed to the professional experience I draw from in my current job as a Communications Manager.