Here at Presence, we get excited about many things: Detailed data sets, student engagement, free food, and the pitter-patter of Presence pups.
And today, we’re super excited about four other things… or rather, four new people whom we’re welcoming to Team Presence! Caleb Amason, Jeff Klemm, Olivia Mansion, and Dan Oswald are all joining us as Engagement Specialists.
Two members of this quickwitted quartet (Jeff and Dan) are relocating from New York, one (Caleb) journeyed from South Dakota, and another (Olivia) was already a proud resident of Saint Peterburg, Florida — home to Presence HQ.
But who are these fine folx and what brought them to us? Well, I’ll let them tell you their own stories. Take it away, Fantastic Four!
Fantastic Four, assemble! From left to right: Olivia Mansion, Jeff Klemm, Dan Oswald, and Caleb Amason
1. What lead you to Presence?
Olivia: Data analytics is driving the future of everything we do, and I quickly realized that Presence provides the unique opportunity to empower institutions in the industry. I saw the value I would add as someone who brings over six years of higher education experience with a master’s degree in education and entrepreneurship.
Not only that, but as a Saint Petersburg local, I’m proud to be working at a home-grown company like Presence!
Jeff: I’ve been on the campus partner side of Presence for about four years and have been captivated ever since! Being in student affairs for about seven years now has led me to think about the work from a much bigger picture, so this is a clear next step for my career. After learning even more, the strong passion and innovative mindset everyone has at Presence is absolutely contagious.
Dan: Presence was something that sort of fell in my lap while I was getting ready to go to graduate school. I was involved in student government while I was an undergraduate, and after I completed my first year of working, I realized that I wanted to make a transition in my career to cater to those experiences.
Presence caught my eye on a job board, and I felt that it was a perfect opportunity to continue being in a business setting while focusing on higher education. So, I packed my bags and headed south!
Caleb: Presence was originally suggested to me in 2017 so I applied and felt extremely good about everything. But at that point in my career, I still felt that a career in residence life was for me. Even though I chose to go another route, that “what if?” stayed in the back of my mind.
Recently, I started contemplating a career change but I didn’t want to give up on my degree and experience I had. That’s about the time that Andy [Gould, Presence’s Chief Revenue Officer] reached out. It seemed like an obvious no-brainer at that point.
2. How do you see this position fitting into your future career? What benefits or experiences do you hope to gain from working at Presence?
Olivia: The landscape of higher education is changing, and I’ve dedicated the majority of my professional career to problem-solving — specifically, working with institutions and entrepreneurs to create solutions in spite of challenges.
To work with the Presence team means the opportunity to support an organization, and the future of education, with technology!
A lifelong learner, not only do I bring a fresh perspective, but I fully anticipate personal and professional growth in this industry and alongside an impressive group of mission-driven student affairs professionals and educators.
Jeff: Since Presence helps people all across the board within education, this fits perfectly with my future plans. I enjoy working in a field I am passionate about and having an ever-growing goals list to achieve.
Seeing other people achieve their success is the ultimate benefit and I hope to gain more experience with how we can ensure that happens. As we continue to learn how we can grow even more, I am excited to see how the work we do affects not only colleges/universities but also our communities.
Dan: Learning how a company works from the top-down, getting training in sales, and understanding more about higher education will only help me in any of my future endeavors.
I am also excited for the experiences that are associated with watching a company grow and getting to know more about the team!
Caleb: Being able to positively impact the college experience for students, especially first-generation students, is something I don’t see me getting away from, and I’m ready to do it from a different angle. Getting to learn and embrace the technology that will help shape the future of higher education is very exciting.
Jeff and Olivia on vacation mode
3. Where did you attend school? What was your major(s)? Were you involved with any co-curricular or extracurricular activities?
Olivia: As an undergrad at The University of Tampa, I was a social justice advocate majoring in criminology, where I competed in the Moot Court Team and traveled abroad.
My interests include higher education, culture, and diversity, which ultimately led me to Brown University, where I earned my master’s in education, English linguistics, and cross-cultural studies.
During my time at Brown, I was the social media and communications officer for SACNAS (Society for Advancing Chicanos/Hispanics, Native Americans in Science), created curriculum and taught for the Brown University EQUiSat STEM program, and co-founded the IWB International Writers’ Blog, where we invite students of all backgrounds to contribute and share their authentic voice and experience.
I also studied at Harvard for a semester where I took courses in the history of science and heritage language.
Most recently, I earned a master’s in entrepreneurship from The University of Tampa where my work and research focused on arts entrepreneurship.
Jeff: I attended Ohio University for my bachelor’s degree and Wright State University for my master’s. After changing my undergraduate major seven times, I finally graduated with a political science degree.
I wasn’t as involved with student organizations but was heavily involved in the School of Music. I was a member of the marching band, men’s chorus, and one of the music fraternities. After taking two years off, I finally decided to go back for a degree in student affairs in higher education.
Dan: I went to Kent State University in northeast Ohio, where I majored in finance. I joined a fraternity during my freshman year and continued to be heavily involved in that throughout my time as an undergraduate.
Along with that, I joined student government in my sophomore year as an allocations analyst and eventually was elected as president my senior year. I fell in love with the people I met and the experiences I gained through USG, and this is a major contributing factor for my desire to join the Presence team.
Caleb: I attended Southern Arkansas University for undergrad and graduate school. I was accepted into nursing school after my sophomore year, but my mom talked me out of that one. I ended up getting a bachelor’s in general studies and a master’s of education in student affairs and college counseling.
I originally chose SAU to play football but I didn’t stick with that for long. My main interests and involvement came from being a resident assistant and a member of Phi Lambda Chi fraternity.
4. Why are you excited to be a part of the Presence team?
Olivia: I am looking forward to joining an organization that values people. I was most impressed, and subsequently won over, by the team’s positive energy and overall good vibes.
The team demonstrated efficiency, clear communication, authenticity, and overall kindness in their support for one another. All are characteristics of my dream position and also ones I value most as it is reflective of who I am.
Given my experience and background, I’m also excited for the opportunity to provide colleges and universities with tools to help provide transparency in their respective departments that will help improve the day-to-day experience for student affairs professionals, while helping students succeed, complete their degrees, and achieve their career goals.
And who am I kidding?! I’m super thrilled about being able to bring my pup Fenwick to work!
Jeff: Who you work with matters and that is one of the strongest reasons I chose Presence. I am excited to work collectively as a team and solve some of the biggest problems in higher education. The positive energy radiates from everyone and is such a shift from other experiences I’ve had.
Oh, and there are dogs in our office. So that’s a pretty big reason.
Dan: There are many different reasons I wanted to join the team, but I specifically wanted to be part of a company as it grows. It is difficult to find opportunities where you can directly see your work make an impact and the adjustments a team makes on a daily basis.
Caleb: I’m excited to be a part of a forward-thinking and encouraging team that also has direct experience in student affairs. I’ve felt nothing but good energy when I met everyone, and I can’t wait to add to it.
Caleb with his wife and Dan with his girlfriend
5. What do you like to do outside of work?
Olivia: I’m a creative at heart and enjoy running outdoors (except during the summer), yoga, meditation, reading, and writing. These are all therapeutic and necessary activities and try to incorporate them into my daily experience as often as possible.
Alongside my husband, I co-founded OK! Transmit, an art and technology meetup here in Saint Pete where we bring together a community of artists and technologists monthly.
An absolute animal lover, I also enjoy bird illustration, where I incorporate scientific drawing techniques.
Jeff: I love music, especially live, and enjoy talking about it in a semi-nerdy way. I also love traveling, being outside, and spending time with fun people. I try to take a big trip every other year and learn about new cultures and food. I mean, food is the reason to travel.
Dan: I am a die-hard sports fan, so whether I am playing or watching, I normally revolve the majority of my nights around them. On the few nights a Cleveland sports team is not playing, I will either binge-watch Curb your Enthusiasm or go for a run. (Normally option #1)
Caleb: Working out and gaming has always been something I’ve enjoyed. I also enjoy doing anything with my wife and our two rescue pitties. I’m also looking forward to incorporating a beach bum lifestyle during the weekends.
6. What is something you’ve always wanted to try? What are some goals you have in the future you’d like to accomplish? Why?
Olivia: I am completely obsessed with Japan and Japanese culture and am currently (and very slowly), learning Japanese. My dream is to engage in authentic conversations while traveling (and living!) in Japan.
My long term goal is to pursue a doctorate in business and teach entrepreneurship.
Jeff: I’ve always wanted to go to skydiving and near/over the ocean seems like an amazing place to do it. I’d also like to get a diving certification, so living near the water seems like a great time to accomplish that! Longterm, I’d like to be much more involved in my community and work with others on some of society’s biggest challenges.
Dan: I have always wanted to try and do standup comedy. If I could do it on a whim, drive a significant amount of distance away from anyone I could run into, and take every person’s phone away, I think I would enjoy it.
Two goals of mine both come with getting a Ph.D. I want to teach education and coach soccer, so I can knock out the ability to do both of those if I were to achieve that.
Caleb: Skydiving is something I’ve always wanted to do. Maybe I’ll venture to that on my next birthday. Kickboxing is also a sport I would like to pick up.
I would like to eventually enroll back in school. I’m not sure of the field of study, but definitely something I have little to no background on.