A Day in the Life: Isabella Dotzler ’16 preaches mindfulness and keeping work and personal lives separate

As a communication studies major myself, it was a joy to speak with Isabella Dotzler, who graduated from the communications program in December of 2016 with additional minors in philosophy and integrated marketing communications & design.

“Katies always want to help other Katies. That’s just how it is,” said Isabella. “I feel like that’s kind of a prerequisite for being a St. Kate’s graduate. I really felt that from day one with my  Reflective Woman group, and those connections were  awesome to have while starting my college experience.”

True to her quote, Isabella had many great pieces of advice to share in our interview:

  • Things are always changing! You’re either moving forward or backward.
  • Connections that you create in college are crucial.
  • Mindfulness is key!
  • Find your work-life balance even when working at home.


Isabella grew up in Anoka, Minnesota, and went to school all her life there. Indeed, she mentioned being very fortunate in her high school experience to have a college career specialist, Colleen Neary to talk about her future post-graduation.

“I’m the first person in my family to go to college, and I knew that was something that I wanted for myself, but really my experience and all the ‘firsts’ for me were also ‘firsts’ for my whole family,” Isabella said. “I was very fortunate that where I lived and where I was able to go to school had a really, really awesome support system.”

Colleen was helpful in guiding Isabella by discussing her likes, dislikes, and how they could translate into potential careers. After figuring that out, the two women talked about colleges and universities with programs that would meet her possible career goals. Colleen and Isabella also worked diligently to figure out which college would be the most affordable fit.

Finding St. Kate’s

After talking to Colleen, Isabella came to the conclusion that she was interested in public relations (PR), so they began to look for majors and programs, such as mass communications and communication studies. The feeling was these could set her up for success in that field, as well as help define schools that offered those programs.

Based on this information, Isabella and her family researched schools and toured campuses. Initially, St. Kate’s wasn’t even on her radar, but Colleen pushed her to check it out because she thought Isabella and St. Kate’s would be a great fit.

“She even got my mom on board,” Isabella laughed.

Eventually, she ended up touring St. Kate’s with her mom and grandma, and also built a strong relationship with her admission counselor, who walked her through the entire process from applying to registering for classes. That great experience is really what brought her to St. Kate’s and into the communication studies major.

“As I continued throughout my time at St. Kate’s, I just kept tacking on all of the different minors because I was deciding that I liked more things,” she remembered. “That’s really what happens with a liberal arts school. You end up experiencing classes you like that aren’t necessarily related to your field or major.”

Favorite College Memories

When asked what some of her favorite college memories were, Isabella immediately recounted her initial orientation group/The Reflective Woman class. She said spending time with this group was a great intro to St. Kate’s. Isabella mentioned that one of St. Kate’s strengths is building community.

Another fun memory Isabella had was attending Dew Drop Bop, which she still goes to since she currently lives in St. Paul.

Additionally, Isabella has a number of St. Kate’s professors with which she has maintained a close relationship including Mary Jacobs, a professor on the Center for Sales Innovation team at St. Kate’s. Though Isabella was not a sales major, she did have one class with Professor Jacobs, and they are still in contact.

“[Mary] has continued to be such a kind advocate for me, post-graduation,” said Isabella. “She, I candidly believe, is part of the reason I was able to get the job at 3M that I have now.”

Prerequisite knowledge of the 3M culture and connections facilitated by Mary really helped her and showcased that she was dedicated to the company before she even started.

3M Social Media Specialist

Now, let’s get into Isabella’s current position at 3M as a Social Media Specialist. Isabella spoke with quite a few people that worked at the company. As she heard more about 3M, she really liked what she was hearing about the company culture and how the company treats its employees. Now, Isabella has been working there for just over two years.

In March of 2020, Isabella was given the opportunity to help start a new marketing team, which she says has been a challenging but extremely rewarding experience.

“Getting to build something from the ground up has been such a cool and unique opportunity, especially at a company as established as 3M is,” said Isabella.

This past year had Isabella communicating important messages about the pandemic via social media to key audiences, including healthcare workers who were being left out of the healthcare conversation in the pandemic legislature.

“Helping to decide what some of the key messages were and communicating that information to the audience and being able to deliver some of that content is a really small part in the grand scheme of how the pandemic played out,” said Isabella. “But I do feel very lucky and blessed that I was able to be a part of even a small role at 3M during that time.”

A Day in the Life

“My work life has changed a lot because of the pandemic– I’m still working from home,” Isabella said. “My day-to-day does look different from how it did a year and a half ago, but I have tried to stay in a routine throughout the pandemic.”

Isabella’s wake-up time: 5:30 a.m.

“I like to be up with the sun, up with the birds, up with the day, taking a slow start because I feel like it gets me into the right mental headspace. I start my day getting acquainted with myself, my body and mind, and my mood for the day.”

She then makes breakfast and coffee, an essential step in her morning routine.

“Then I think, what are my goals for the day? I really get into that good, positive mindset, telling myself that I’m going to crush it and I’m going to make my goals happen,” said Isabella. “This isn’t necessarily meditative, but definitely a type of mindfulness that really helps me set myself up for success.”

After her morning of mindfulness, Isabella makes a 2-second commute to her desk for the day. She begins her workday on an hour-long call with her entire team to check in and share information.

“We ask ourselves, what are the ‘need to haves’ versus the ‘nice to haves’ for the day?”

She has additional meetings throughout the day for three different teams working on social media campaigns, reporting, creating best practice initiatives, and prepping for other miscellaneous projects.

“I’m a part of the Pride group at 3M, I’m also a part of the Women’s Leadership Forum group at 3M,” said Isabella. “These play more into the personal side of my life, but are still things I end up doing during my workday.”

Isabella makes time for lunch somewhere during her busy day. She mentions that she is diligent about ensuring that her work is always moving forward, which includes keeping up with emails throughout the day

“Working from home now, my commute back ‘home’ is pretty simple and easy,” Isabella quipped. “I’m very much looking forward to it being summer and things feeling a lot better than they did last summer, being able to go out on patios, see friends, go on walks, and more.”

Isabella decompresses and brings herself out of “work mode” by taking walks along the river after her workday. She recognizes the importance of a clean break from her job rather than bringing it into her personal life.

“I try to be really intentional about stepping away, turning things off, and creating those boundaries for myself, even in a time where my work is in my home,” said Isabella.

Finally, Isabella gets ready for bed, and a good night’s rest, before it starts all over again the next day!

By Mandy Hay
Mandy Hay Career Assistant