Feature Friday: Erin Batiste

5 min read
Jul 1, 2022 8:00:00 AM

Words that sum up my journey: You can plan for life — but be prepared for nothing to go as expected.

If those words seem gloomy right now, you’ll understand very shortly why planning for anything has rarely worked out for me. Rather than setting myself up for disappointment, I’ve learned to live in the moment and take on challenges with the knowledge and confidence that I can overcome anything.

How do I describe my journey through college as anything other than “I was a perpetual transfer student” (and not always by choice)? How do I explain what it was like to experience the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in my beloved home city? Where would I stop any story about how incredible it was to do the Disney college program?

As with all stories, I’ll just start from the beginning.

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Soaring Across the Southeast

I’m from the Westbank of New Orleans, Louisiana. For those of you not from Louisiana, that refers to the part of New Orleans that’s on the western side of the Mississippi River.

It’s a very residential area — as well as a very family-oriented place. While not as well-known to outsiders as the main part of the city, the Westbank is a vibrant, community-driven place that I’m proud to call home.

However, being a teenager fresh out of high school, I was restless. I wanted to get away from New Orleans for college. But I was a perpetual transfer student — partially because of myself, and partially because of external factors.

I started college in Atlanta, but after a semester, I came home because of family issues. Remember how I mentioned the Westbank is a family-oriented place? Well, I come from a large family, and I felt I was too far away. I longed to return home and be near my family.

So I transferred to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and stayed there as an undergraduate student for two years. And then I signed up for the Disney college program.

See? Perpetual transfer student.

For the Disney program, I went to Orlando for eight months and finished my program the first week of August.

And because of the timing, because I no longer had an apartment in Lafayette, my dad convinced me to do my next semester of college at the University of New Orleans. I expected I’d do that semester in New Orleans and then return to school in Lafayette.

Well, three weeks later, Hurricane Katrina happened. And, in the midst of the impending hurricane, evacuation, and recovery efforts, I discovered I was going to be a mother.

Due to Katrina’s destruction, I couldn’t go back to college immediately. In fact, we didn’t even get to see our house — and whether it was even still standing — until two months later. Eventually, I did get to return to classes in the spring, although life was certainly far from normal. But a return to some normalcy was something I needed in that time.

I ended up graduating with my degree in public relations. But just to reiterate how nothing for me works out as planned, I didn’t actually get to attend graduation. I had a baby, my second child, to deliver that very day!

Into the Workforce

Everything fell into place in the end. I had my two children. I had my undergraduate degree. I persevered and accomplished a lot, so now I could turn my attention to entering the professional workforce.

My first professional job was for a large insurance agency. But where I really wanted to be was working in my field: public relations. I wanted to enter the field, but I found it hard to secure a PR job in Lafayette, so I decided to go to graduate school for an MBA degree.

My first job after my MBA program was being a public information specialist with the city. But it wasn’t very fulfilling work. It wasn’t for me, really. I wanted to do good things for good people, so after approximately two years there, I left and moved into marketing for a rapidly growing network of local urgent care facilities.

While I was there, we grew from a handful of locations to over 20 full-fledged urgent care centers — during COVID-19. But to call it stressful would be an understatement. I had to get out for the sake of my family and my mental health.

So, in March 2021, it was time for a change.

Becoming a Mintee

I’d heard about SchoolMint coming to Lafayette when the 2020 announcement came. The fact it was a California company coming to Louisiana sparked my interest. I’d thought the company seemed to have a good culture, which is huge for me, because who I’m going to be around, who’s influencing my life, matters more to me than the day-to-day tasks.

But little did I know my initial interest would become a reality in September 2021, when I got hired on as a customer experience analyst.

In this role, I’m part of our strategic marketing services team and work with all kinds of schools, ranging from large districts to small charters, to help with school marketing audits and with SchoolMint’s secret-shopper service.

I love being a customer experience analyst because I don’t speak to the same person every day. I thrive when I do something different each day, and this role has really given me the opportunity to engage with a variety of people from all walks of life.

One of my favorite memories from being here was when I started last year. I started in September, and then in October, the company hosted a big summit for everyone on the revenue team. Being a new employee at the time, it was a great experience. I got to meet everyone, put faces to names, and interact with many remote employees.

I love being immersed in people. There’s an energy when everyone comes together that fuels me. And working for a bigger purpose for me is a big deal. I have to be part of something larger than myself, so helping schools find problems and work toward how to solve them is very fulfilling.  

Party of Eight

My husband and I have a beautiful blended family with six kids. Outside of work and on the weekends, I’m a hardcore baseball mom, with our oldest playing in college and the youngest playing in middle school. Even my husband is an athlete!

As you can imagine, this leaves me with little time for myself. But I love it.

Because even though my life is crazy, one day, the chaos will end, and I’ll look back and realize how quickly it all went by.


Interested in an edtech career and working at SchoolMint?

View our open positions here, or learn more in 10 Reasons You Will Love Working at SchoolMint.

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