Karisa Desjardins, ’16 Builds Community at theSkimm

The Stiller School of Business alumna applies the skills she learned at Champlain in her work at a growing media empire.

Books are the first thing you notice about theSkimm’s Manhattan office—thousands of them fashioned into elegant piles. A third of the space is filled with bookshelves teeming with color-coded spines.

The first thing you notice about Stiller School of Business alumna Karisa Desjardins, ‘16 // Business Administration/Global Studies, is how at home she seems in this sprawling Chelsea loft. For the last year, Desjardins has worked at theSkimm—a daily newsletter that goes out to seven million Daily Skimm subscribers. The newsletter is a witty (you might even call it sassy) daily digest of the news. Imagine your best friend explaining the latest Brexit happenings over coffee. Desjardins provides support for the Skimm’bassador community—30,000 of the most engaged and loyal members of theSkimm’s audience.

theSkimm’s book-filled office is located in the Chelsea district of New York City.

“Everyone here is a good person,” says Desjardins. “They’re very supportive about personal things but also about professional development. When I arrived at theSkimm, it felt like Champlain and the community I had there. I thought to myself, ‘I’m home.’”

When I arrived at theSkimm, it felt like Champlain and the community I had there. I thought to myself, ‘I’m home.’

For the past few months, Desjardins has also worked on theSkimm’s No Excuses campaign, a huge get-out-the-vote initiative which inspired more than 100,000 people to commit to vote. It kicked off with nonpartisan bootcamps that taught Skimm readers how to get their communities registered, educated, and turned out at the polls. On National Voter Registration Day, Skimm HQ and Skimm’bassadors across the country held more than 50 events to get people registered and prepared to vote. Convincing Millennials that their vote matters was the ultimate goal of the campaign.

Desjardins worked on theSkimm’s No Excuses campaign, a huge get-out-the-vote initiative.

When Desjardins was at Champlain, she worked as a Student Ambassador and Peer Advisor which she credits with helping her build the skills she needs to manage the Skimm’bassador’s large and robust community.

“Champlain offered me a multitude of opportunities, like service learning, study abroad—everything I did while I was abroad! I continually put myself out there. There were so many options, and I had a really supportive community. There was always one teacher, one colleague or peer that I could reach out to.”

Desjardins also loved Core, Champlain’s interdisciplinary liberal arts curriculum. “I would have majored in Core! It offers a really well-rounded education. I came out of it with a better understanding of the world and my place in it. I loved it!”

The office was designed by theSkimm employees. Desjardins said, “This is where we hold our team meeting every week.”

Founded just six years ago, theSkimm has branched into podcasts and videos. They recently worked with Katie Couric on a series of interviews with accomplished women, including Issa Rae, Ina Garten, and more. Desjardins explains, “We’re a young company but there’s still lots to do. We have two amazing women at the helm leading it. It’s really cool to be a part of helping it grow. I don’t know what’s going to happen next but I know it’s going to be big.”

Fun fact: all of the rooms at theSkimm are named after Law and Order characters. Dr. Tanja Hinterstoisser, Director of Career Education & Employer Relations, checked out Casey Novak‘s room.
More People
Day of Thanks Celebrates Champlain Donors
Communication Class Goes all-in to Support Local Businesses with Campaigns 
Champlain Alum on the Power of Persistence and Personality