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Meet Danny! Our 2021 Inclusion in Digital Marketing Scholarship Recipient
Hey world, meet Danny! We are so excited to be able to support this incoming “good-trouble” maker in the digital marketing and advertising world. Graduating this coming spring (the first in his family!!) from the University of Oregon with his Bachelor’s degree. Double majoring in Cinema Studies and Business Administration with a Marketing concentration, we know he’s going to make a significant impact in the coming years.
Congrats Danny, you impressed us big time!
Kent Lewis, Owner Anvil: “Daniel immediately stood out from the pack of very talented candidates. Not only did he possess relevant education, his commitment and diligence across the boards were impressive, from leadership and community involvement to relevant work experience set a high bar. His personal story of overcoming adversity also resonated with me. I look forward to seeing what he can accomplish with (or without) our scholarship.”
Anna Madill, Owner Avenue: “Daniel’s story, resilience and determination through his life experiences, his current education at the University of Oregon and career development in digital marketing stood out and made an impression on me. His passion for building a career in digital marketing was clear, and his steadfast commitment to working to gain the important digital marketing experience necessary to build this future for himself was compelling. Despite the challenging experiences he has faced, Daniel has continued to persevere in his life and education. After being a runner-up for the Intuitive Digital Marketing Scholarship award last year, he didn’t let a potential set-back or disappointment deter him from re-applying this year. In fact, another year of learning and growth in digital marketing helped him to stand out. Perseverance and Daniel’s belief in himself had an impact on his success and will continue to do so in the future.”
The future is full of possibilities
What impact do you hope to have on the marketing/advertising field throughout your career?
Danny: “The biggest impact I hope to have in the marketing field is being able to uplift people of color and showcase the work we do in this field. As people of color, the way we grew up and our perspectives are often different from our white counterparts. Because of this, we often are able to present fresh ideas that innovate this industry. However, because of systematic reasons, it’s very difficult for people of color to even have a voice in this industry. I not only want to be part of a movement that breaks down many of these barriers for marginalized groups of people in the industry, but I also want to pass on my knowledge to the next generation.”
I am fortunate enough to have mentors that are people of color. This has allowed me to not only see myself through them, but to also connect with someone on a level greater than just having a career related to what I seek in the future. I want to be able to do this in the future, for students of color who were once in my shoes. I want to be able to give guidance and insights to students, and to help them prosper to their fullest potential. But ultimately, I want to be able to inspire them to work for their dreams, and to let them know that they have someone who will support them and their decisions.”
What are you hoping to jump into after you graduate?
Danny: “After graduation, I hope to work a digital marketing-related job at either a tech company or ad agency. I definitely want to first have solid experience and security before taking a risk in trying to start my own ad agency. I could see myself working a full-time position, while also taking on side projects related to marketing or the media industry within the first few years after I graduate.”
The path to success in America isn’t paved the same for all
Danny and his family, like many people coming to the US as immigrants, looking to escape the daily horrors in their home countries, experience a long list of barriers in the U.S., while trying to become citizens through our limited and deeply broken immigration system.
Navigating the long-drawn-out, circuitous process has had permanent detrimental effects on him and his family. From ICE-raids to a failure in receiving proper medical care, trying to achieve his own “American Dream” has often fallen very short of what it is made out to be (to say the least). The ongoing pandemic has further compounded the challenges he and his family have faced.
He’s also part of a growing number of Gen-Z individuals entering the workforce who are concerned about a multitude of facets of their employment experience with a focus on company culture and work-life balance. Rather than putting Hustle Culture on a pedestal, people are starting to see it for the toxicity it can bring to our whole lives.
Has the pandemic forced you to change your plans in any way?
Danny: “The pandemic in many ways exposed companies to having outdated work cultures. While my plans haven’t necessarily changed, my standards when job searching have dramatically increased. For me, it’s almost a requirement that any job I apply to has hybrid/remote options since the pandemic demonstrated that most companies are capable of doing this. Not only that, but a company’s response to COVID-19 is something I now have to consider. I have to know that a company won’t lay off their employee’s incase a dramatic event such as another pandemic occurs. Overall, the pandemic made me prioritize company culture and values on a whole other level.”
Has your post-college vision changed over the last year? If so, how and why?
Danny: “Over the past year, a lot has occurred in my personal life, forcing me to change both the timeline and purpose of my life goals. I now have major responsibilities in having to take care of my family, and now my main purpose is to ensure they have all their necessities met. At the same time though, I’ve been able to reflect on life a lot more this past year, and now my mindset has shifted more towards bringing happiness to myself rather than overworking myself to achieve a life goal by a certain age. Life is too short to be stuck in a cubicle all day. I don’t see a purpose in overworking yourself when you can’t enjoy the things you worked so hard for. Before I wouldn’t have minded overworking myself, but now the only time I would ever overwork myself is if there’s both a purpose and passion behind that work. While I will still continue to grind for my dreams and family, I will also allow myself to enjoy the great things life has to offer in the present moment.”
Despite life-altering events, Danny has persisted in completing his college education, while working to help support his family, and also partner with local community leaders to found a nonprofit organization to serve Latinx women who are facing hardships such as domestic violence, illnesses, or need resources for legal assistance.
We know that his vision and voice are going to bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and value to the advertising industry and Portland community. We’re so excited to see where he goes from here.
What is the biggest issue you see with today’s advertising industry and the content they produce?
Danny: “The biggest issue in the advertising industry is a lack of diversity/representation. Far too often companies have released ads that are both insensitive and tone-deaf, which results in a public outrage and bad press. One would imagine that the industry as a whole would begin to shift their business models to ensure that these mistakes don’t happen again, but time and time again we see large corporations having to do damage control for ads that offend a group of people. And while many of these corporations claim they have diversity in their teams, it’s more than obvious whose voices are being heard and who is just being used as a token. It’s time for companies to listen and hire people of color and take action to prevent any future scandals. Instead of releasing performative statements, companies must give people of color a seat on the table and actually take action from their complaints/feedback.”
What would you like to see marketing and design agencies do differently in the future?
Danny: “This is a personal opinion, but I’m not a fan of marketing/design agencies changing company logos to give them a “simplistic” look. Oftentimes with this simplistic look, companies/brands have to give an extensive explanation about their logo relating to their brand, which seems contradictory to the purpose of a brand logo. While it’s ultimately the decision of the company, I’m not a fan of how agencies are shifting to simplicity as a whole, which almost takes away the little bit of life and joy company brands could offer. Another change I wish to see from advertising agencies is being realistic about their values. I hate seeing agencies making the claim that they value diversity and yet have no staff of color. Either they should remove their performative statements, or they should change their hiring practices to make it more equitable.”
A message to all our 2021 and future scholarship applicants
The applications we received this year were incredible. The amount of intelligence, tenacity, and resilience present in your stories was inspiring, and sometimes heart-breaking. There is an endless amount of students out there in need, and well-deserving of financial support to complete their education.
The entire group of judges emphatically echo Anna’s words: “I was impressed by the unique professional experiences and personal journeys that all of the applicants brought to the table. Reading each application letter reconnected me with the college and career-prep experience and helped me to understand the positive impact that the Intuitive Digital Marketing Scholarship could have on each applicant. It was inspiring to see how many applicants had sought out continued learning and professional development on their own time or through internships and volunteer work to help bolster their digital marketing skillset and relevancy in their field of choice.”
To students who might be looking to apply for this scholarship next year
Take Anna’s advice: “Stay curious and continue learning. The digital marketing industry is fast-paced and constantly changing. Continuing to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the industry, pursuing ongoing learning (gaining certifications and hands-on experience on your own), exploring and growing as the landscape changes will make you a standout applicant and valuable new hire!”
To those graduating this year and looking for jobs
We have more expert advice for you from Anna: “Throughout my career I have found that cultivating my network through informational interviews, networking coffees and virtual meetings, outreach and introductions through leaders I admire and colleagues in my network to be really helpful in keeping me connected to agency jobs around the city. As a graduating student, doing the same through professors, career center services, and staying connected to agencies you may have applied to but not gotten the job with, can be very beneficial. Consider connecting with the hiring manager or team who interviewed you afterward and ask for a follow-up informational interview – and then stay connected with them over time. At the end of the informational interview, ask “Is there anyone else that you think I should talk to? If so, would you be willing to make an introduction for me to them?” Continue to build your network!”
We can’t do this work alone
A huge thank you to our participating agency partners this year: Avenue, Anvil, and Graviate. If you are a marketing professional or agency in the Portland Metro area, we’d love for you to join us in this effort! Become a 2022 scholarship partner, drop us a line.