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Advice / Job Search / Finding a Job

From Food to Fintech: How I Switched Industries Within My Field

Dina Lyon
Dina Lyon

Our mission here at The Muse is simple: to help you find your dream job. So, there’s nothing we love more than hearing about it when you do!

Today, we chatted with Dina Lyon, Director of Marketing at Earnest Research. She made a switch within her field of marketing and communications, transitioning from the food and education space into fintech. And she was able to use her passion for solving tough problems at small companies to land a role she’s really excited about.

Read on to learn more about her story, then check out Earnest Research’s offices and see how you can land a great new gig of your own.

Tell us about yourself!

I was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and emigrated to New York City with my family when I was very young. My love of languages brought me to Middlebury College in Vermont, where I majored in English and Spanish. This past year, I got a puppy, got married, and switched jobs, all within a three-month period!

In my professional life, I’ve always gravitated toward small businesses and startups. In all my roles, I’ve been drawn to a data-driven approach to problem solving. I was looking to pivot industries, so I started seeking opportunities within the technology space.

What’s your day-to-day like as the director of marketing?

As the first hire building out a new department in a growing startup, I work across teams on diverse projects. These can range from building out a content roadmap with our executive team to working with our talent team to strengthen our employee and new hire engagement initiatives.

What were you doing before you landed your new job?

Previously, I worked as the head of communications at a wonderful company called Red Rabbit, which works to get healthier food into NYC schools.

What were you looking for in a job?

I was in a unique situation in that I wanted to move to an industry that I’d never worked in before. Though I didn’t know very much about fintech, I knew I wanted a job where I could grow with a company and have an impact on the company’s vision and future.

What attracted you to Earnest Research when you found it on The Muse?

When I first started looking at Earnest Research, the company didn’t even have a website (not coincidentally, getting a website up was one of my first tasks when I joined!). I was intrigued, and eventually found their employee profiles on The Muse. The employees featured all had diverse backgrounds and were thoughtful, intelligent, and curious about problem solving, which was very appealing to me.

What’s something most people would find surprising about working at Earnest Research?

I’ve been surprised by all the support I’ve received from both the executive team and my colleagues across departments in getting up to speed on the industry and the company.

I’m constantly amazed by how interesting and passionate every person I get to know at Earnest is. We have everyone, from a former professional tennis player to an amateur photographer, working here, and they all bring their passion for these outside interests into the work space. The office amenities, like artisanal cold brew on tap, and outside work activities, like wine tastings and Women in Tech get-togethers, are a huge added bonus.

What’s your favorite part so far about working at Earnest Research?

At a small but growing startup, each employee has a big stake in the future success of the company. I love the open format of our monthly team meetings, where there’s a lot of transparency about company performance and priorities from the leadership team. You see this openness and inclusion everywhere, from hiring—where prospective candidates interview with every member of their potential team—to weekly meetings with colleagues outside our departments to get up to speed on what we’re each working on.

What’s the coolest project you’ve worked on so far?

In my first few months at Earnest, I worked closely with one of our product teams to help bring a new data product on customer and competitive intelligence to market for restaurants, e-commerce, and retail companies. It was really rewarding to see the product team’s initial vision translate into a tool now being used by clients who are deriving immense value from it.

What advice do you have for someone who wants a job like yours?

Don’t eliminate jobs that don’t perfectly align with your past experiences. If you’re making a big pivot, be upfront about this in your cover letter and interviews and address how you plan to get caught up to speed. Most employers greatly appreciate a diverse background and want to see a candidate that takes initiative and is willing to learn.

Here at The Muse, we partner with a lot of great companies to bring you insider looks at their offices and awesome job listings. These employers pay us to be featured on the site, but rest assured that we don't just work with anyone. And when it comes to articles like this, these Muse-worthy brands are featured not because they want to be included, but because their culture, policies, and employee feedback showed us that they deserve to be. Here's to finding the company of your dreams!