Social Media and Digital Creator Economy Expert
MA Communications, Media Practice, and Public Relations
You completed your undergraduate degree in the United States. What brought you to Swansea?
Before coming to Swansea University to complete my masters, I studied at Swansea once before as an exchange student during undergrad.
I always knew that I wanted to study abroad in the United Kingdom, however I didn’t know in which city or at which University.
I knew that enrolling in a University in London would be too expensive, so I didn’t consider that as a viable option. In addition to considering cost, I wanted to enrol in a university with a reputable Media and Public Relations programme.
My academic advisor at the time, who happened to be Welsh, recommended Swansea to me. He told me that both the city and University would be affordable, and that the University also had a great public relations programme. The cherry-on-top was when he told me that the University sat right behind the beach, and that there were hiking trails like Three Cliffs and the Gower nearby.
What are your best memories of your time at Swansea?
I have many good memories of my time in Swansea, all of which involve me spending time with my friends. Whether that was having a BBQ at the beach, going to Amsterdam on a weekend getaway, or hiking Three Cliffs together. I can truly say that I built a strong community of friends during my time at Swansea, I would consider many of them extended members of my family today.
I’ve kept in touch with my circle of friends, even though we live in different cities, countries, and in some circumstances different continents. But that hasn’t stopped us from keeping in touch and building new memories together outside of Swansea. I’ve been able to travel to two different weddings, both were for friends that I met in Swansea -- which to me shows how much of a strong bond we developed during our time together.
Were you a member of any student societies? Did you take advantage of any other opportunities?
During my time in Swansea, I didn’t officially join any clubs or societies. However, I was a very active student ambassador. Being a student ambassador allowed me to meet new people, earn extra money, and get additional experience on my CV.
I supported the University on open days, and with a calling campaign to perspective students. During these experiences, I showed students around campus, and was able to give them advice, based on my experience as a student at Swansea University.
Did your MA degree in Communications, Media Practice, and Public Relations help you to achieve your professional goals?
I would say yes, it helped me achieve my professional goals. Unlike most students doing the programme, I didn’t immediately go into postgraduate study after graduating from undergrad. I went into industry for several years, before getting my masters. After working in marketing for several years, I reached a point in my career where I felt that I wanted to make a pivot.
In undergrad, I studied marketing and advertising, and in fact, that’s what I was doing with my career at that point. However, I was more interested in the intersection of brand marketing and communications, versus traditional marketing or public relations. And going to get my masters helped me to effectively make that pivot.
Through my MA programme, I was able to quickly gain a lot of the hard and soft skills that I would need, for a career in communications and brand marketing. I feel that the course helped to prepare me for my first entry level position in PR.
In your first few roles, things aren’t very strategic, and you'll spend the bulk of your time doing things like: drafting press releases, calling journalists, photoshopping documents, editing videos etc. We had courses on all those principles, and I think they thoroughly prepared me for the world of work.
What inspired you to pursue a career in social media?
At this point, I think that we have all heard about the crazy benefits and salaries that the tech sector often offers, and I wanted to become a part of that. I grew up in the era of social media, which saw the rise of Myspace, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. So, it made more sense for me to pursue a career in social media versus a tech company that focused on hardware or solely SAAS (software as a service).
Can you tell us your top tips for getting a job in social media?
- The first would be identifying the company that you want to work for, and then begin networking with employees of that company. LinkedIn data shows that people who receive a recommendation are 2x more likely to secure a job, so that would be my first piece of advice – secure the employee recommendation.
- The second would be to write your CV in a way that is outcomes based. Your CV needs to explicitly show the actions that you took, and the results you directly contributed to. A simple formula that I always follow is: ‘I was responsible for or lead on x, which resulted in x’.
- The third would be to stay informed and up to date with the latest happenings in tech, and social media. You should know what the industry is facing, and how the company you’re interviewing for performed during their last earnings cycle. Only then can you speak to, how to can specifically contribute to their culture, or future goals. This will make you more credible when interviewing, and it allows current employees to see the unique value that you will be able to bring to the team.
- Lastly, I would say to give yourself time. You’re unlikely to land a job in tech right after university. Especially not in today’s macro-economic environment. Tech, particularly social platforms, and search engines like Google, are experiencing an unprecedented economic downturn, which has resulted in many of the large players doing rounds of layoffs. It won’t be like this forever, so I would say focus on getting work experience in sectors that are experiencing growth, and then follow the tips that I laid out above, to land a role in tech when things are better.
Tell us about your current role at Instagram, what is a typical day like?
Every day is different. I am often working on several different projects at any given time, which also means working with several different teams and stakeholders. I would say an average day sees me drafting many emails, sitting in on several internal meetings, meeting external partners virtually or in-person, drafting comms plan and press releases, calling journalists, working with content creators etc. Some days involve travelling to specific countries or regions for events as an external speaker, or event host. So, each day truly looks different, but you can guarantee that I’m doing at least three of the many things that I listed out above, on any given day.
What has been your career highlight so far?
I’m not sure if I truly have a career highlight yet. But one of the things that I’m most proud of from the past calendar year was, launching a new creator programme for Meta called ‘Creators of Tomorrow’.
It started as a little idea in my head, but we ended up launching it in 15 countries in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), and then we went on to expand it to three other territories: North America, Latin America, and Asia Pacific. It truly became a global campaign, and one of the first wide scale global campaigns for Meta.
Tell us about something you’d like to achieve in the future
One of my career goals is to lead a large team or department. I have many skills that I believe would make me a great leader, but one of the biggest strengths that I have that will make this a reality is having empathy. I think, to be a great leader you need to have empathy and compassion. You need to be able to actively listen to your team, truly understand their experience and perspectives, which will allow you to make strategic decisions, and then deliver them with compassion.
If you’re a leader with these skills, I believe you’ll not only be a good manager, but also a good coach who can support their team’s development. I have experience being a coach, which allowed me to gain many of these skills, I’m just waiting for the opportunity to be able to use them in this new setting.