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Meet Valerie! Our 2022 Inclusion in Digital Marketing Scholarship Recipient!
Double majoring in Marketing and Finance at Georgia State University, Valerie hopes to work in entertainment marketing and communications after graduation. Her driving passion is to “ensure that diverse audiences are given a voice in the process of creating marketing campaigns for series and movies.” We are so proud to be able to assist Valerie in meeting her educational and professional goals.
Now, let’s get to know her!
What impact do you hope to have on the marketing/advertising field throughout your career?
Valerie: “The biggest impact I hope to achieve over the course of my career is to provide a safe space for young marketers of color to feel like they can share their unique and creative voice. I’ve had multiple conversations with my friends who are preparing to enter the marketing/advertising industry where they’ve shared that they feel like there is no space for them in the field.
I aim to uplift my community of young Black marketers by intentionally creating opportunities for them to share their voice and provide their input for multicultural marketing campaigns. By uplifting their voices, I hope to show non-diverse marketing/advertising agencies and companies that we can provide a unique perspective that can impact consumers and audiences around the world. As I prepare to enter the marketing field and explore my post-graduation life, I hope to continue rooting for myself and my peers by pushing us to become the best versions of ourselves.”
What are you hoping to jump into after you graduate?
Valerie: “After graduation, I aim to be working in a role that combines digital marketing and publicity in the entertainment industry, where I can create marketing campaigns, digital marketing content and events designed for multicultural audiences.
It is important for brands and media companies to have dedicated and multicultural brand and marketing strategies. Consumers can tell when a company is only looking to gain so-called “diversity points” and are not actively trying to create a diverse brand experience.
However, by having a dedicated marketing strategy team with diverse voices at the forefront, the gap can be bridged between audiences and brands to ensure that POC voices are being uplifted and invited with care. I would love to be working in a role where I can create these marketing campaigns, conceptualize event experiences for shows and movies, and work on digital marketing content.”
Unsurprisingly, the ongoing pandemic has had lasting effects on students – whose education experience was unlike any generation before them. Uncertainty over the future, rapidly changing circumstances, and transitions to different ways of learning. Valerie, however, was able to transform the changes that the pandemic brought about into something positive.
Has the pandemic forced you to change your plans in any way?
Valerie: “The pandemic forced me to evaluate what I really wanted out of life and what career path would make me feel the most fulfilled. Although I was interested in working in the entertainment marketing field, I entered college as an Accounting major, fueled by the voices of my immigrant family asserting that I had to go into a very stable and certain career field. Failure never felt like an option for me – as the daughter of immigrants, it felt like there was a lot of pressure on my shoulders to be successful. When the pandemic hit, I spiraled further into a state of anxiety, and I panicked at the thought of working solely in what I considered to be a mundane accounting-related role after college.
I knew I had to make a change. At the end of my sophomore year, I switched my major during the semester to Marketing and Finance, minoring in Entertainment Media Management. I started actively looking for and making opportunities to engage with people in the entertainment marketing industry, and put in the hard work to gain marketing experience. Looking back, I am glad the pandemic gave me the time to assess what motivates and excites me, and I’m looking forward to making my impact in the marketing industry!”
Has your post-college vision changed over the last year? If so, how and why?
Valerie: “My post-college vision has changed a lot over the last year in numerous ways. This summer, I was selected to be a 2022 IRTS Foundation Fellow and 2022 HBCU in LA Fellow. The IRTS Foundation and HBCU in LA are organizations dedicated to building future leaders and increasing diversity in the media industry, especially in the marketing/advertising field, by providing internship placements at top media companies and professional development sessions.
Before I participated in these programs, I found it hard to envision myself landing a role in the entertainment marketing field, or making an impact as a young Black female marketer in a sea of thousands. However, after being placed as an Integrated Marketing and Brand Partnerships Intern at Disney and attending numerous professional development sessions where I had the opportunity to speak with top executives in the marketing and advertising field, I was able to meet people who look like me making a name for themselves in the industry. These experiences have given me a newfound confidence in myself and my ability to make an impact in the entertainment marketing space!”
As an Entertainment Brand Solutions Intern at The Walt Disney Company, Valerie is learning various strategies and multiple skills to impact diverse audiences. This experience, along with others past and upcoming, is undoubtedly invaluable as her career goal is to eventually become a marketing executive for a top media brand.
What is the biggest issue you see with today’s advertising industry and the content they produce?
Valerie: “I’ve often seen advertisers in the industry choose to play it safe with their methods of creating an advertising campaign, sticking with mediums such as print, digital, and television advertisements as the main building blocks of their strategy.
Although these mediums are important and essential to reaching various audiences, I believe that social media platforms such as TikTok and Twitter provide opportunities for advertisers to engage with their audiences in an engaging and unique format. Social media is truly becoming the language of the future, I hope to see more marketing and advertising agencies taking a leap of faith and utilizing these platforms to create content and enhance their campaigns in a creative and fun way!”
What would you like to see marketing and design agencies do differently in the future?
Valerie: “I would like to see marketing and design agencies make a conscious effort to ensure that young employees of color in their company feel supported, valued, and heard. There have been so many stories I’ve heard of young marketers of color leaving their agencies after growing tired of a lack of diversity within their company and the feeling of not having a voice on their team.
This causes agencies to lose top talent who would otherwise provide creative, innovative, and unique marketing and design solutions. I hope that more leaders of marketing agencies start to see the value of diverse voices and the impact they can have on marketing campaigns, brand power, and the company’s overall growth.”
What would you say to other students looking to move into studying marketing?
Valerie: “To any students looking into studying and working in marketing, I encourage them to read the trades and stay up to date about the shifts happening in the marketing industry. Following publications such as Adweek and Advertising Age helps me stay informed about the latest trends in the marketing and advertising industry, along with learning about some cool campaigns that are popping up. Knowledge is power, especially in this industry.
Additionally, I would encourage students to gain as much hands-on experience in marketing as they can before they graduate college. Experience can be gained through many outlets, including specialized classes, student organizations roles, certifications, projects, and more. Many opportunities will open for you when you start taking a chance on yourself!”
Congratulations Valerie! We are impressed with what you have already accomplished, and can’t wait to see what you do going forward!
We are very grateful . . .
An enormous thank you to our participating agency partners this year: Avenue, Gravitate, Lytics and the AMA Portland Chapter. 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 2023 scholarship partner, drop us a line.