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Advice / Career Paths / Exploring Careers

How 5 Marketing Gurus Got Their Jobs

One of the best things about a career in marketing is that it can go in a ton of different directions. If you’re great with words, you might craft messages through advertising, social media, and print communications. If you're a data genius, you might focus on market or competitive research. Love people? Your work could focus on promoting a company through events and partnerships.

So, while all marketers bring a bit of creativity and analytics to the table, it's not surprising that the rest of their skill sets and experiences vary widely. To learn more, we sat down with five marketing pros from the widest range of backgrounds we could find (think music and electrical engineering) and learned how they found their way to the career of their dreams.

Alexis Anderson

Director of Marketing & Partnerships, PureWow

"I never thought I was going to be a Marketing Director—I don't think kids grow up thinking that's what they want to do," shares Alexis. "I wanted to be Katie Couric!"

But there are a few similarities between her childhood dream career and her job now: She gets to meet smart, interesting people. "I always thought I would want to talk to smart people who have great ideas, and that's something I do get to do every day. I really love that."

After studying marketing in college, Alexis worked for a wine importer, a travel startup, and a publishing house—a diverse set of experiences that make her the perfect fit for a marketing gig at women's lifestyle brand PureWow.

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Celina Esteban

Director of Marketing, Giorgio Armani Beauty

An electrical engineering major in college, Celina's first job was as a semiconductor engineer. "It was very different from what I am doing today," she admits, "although there are some similarities in the fact that it's a very tactile role, and it's very visual."

When she realized that she wanted a more creative role for her long-term career path, she went to business school, moved to New York to break into fashion and beauty, and joined L'Oreal as a summer intern. The company "has a very strong program where they take people from other backgrounds," she explains, "and I knew it was a place that I could really develop myself."

Today, in her role as Director of Marketing for one of L'Oreal's luxury brands, Giorgio Armani Beauty, she has that creative role she was looking for, and she loves it. “It’s not just about going to work every day,” she says. “It’s about creating something.”

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James Cho

Marketing & Communications Manager, TNTP

James always loved communications, and he attended the Cornell School of Hotel Administration to focus on branding in the service industry. After graduation, however, he felt a nagging need to do something more meaningful, so he moved to Arizona and became a 5th grade teacher.

Though he loved the work, James missed marketing. So, he looked for a position that blended his background, skills, and passions, and found education consulting company TNTP. Now, he spends his days working on design, brand strategy, social media, and marketing materials. “The things I produce are very high-stakes, and what’s wonderful is that different people are able to see the work that I do—not just the company,” he says.

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Sonny Byrd

Marketing Manager, Voxy

Sonny is a former musician who toured with his band after graduating from college. The band went on to win an MTV Music Award—but even with that success, Sonny decided to shift his career about three years ago.

The good news was, his skills in event promotion and band management were a perfect fit for a career in marketing. He found his next career as Head of Marketing at digital expense reporting company Shoeboxed before landing his current gig at Voxy. Today, he heads up everything from email to social media to published content.

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Leslee Lambert

Marketing Director, iCracked

"As a child growing up, I was always pretty creative, but I didn't know I could do anything with it until I took a design course in high school," says Leslee. That interest led her to Cal Poly for college, where she got a Bachelor's in Fine Arts with an emphasis in graphic design.

While walking around campus one day, she saw flyers for a company called iCracked. Wanting to build up her professional portfolio, she contacted the founder and offered to do design work for him in exchange for college credit. The company asked her to come on board full time after graduation, and she has been there ever since.

Now, Leslee oversees all the visual and creative projects for iCracked, and works with the growing team of designers on print and web materials.

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