rise up fellowship with image of Shirley

RiseUp Fellowship Experience: Shirley

Before the Fellowship

Before RiseUp, I was in a very common hard place that most of my young marketing peers were in: I had all of the marketing knowledge, but very little experience on paper to back up my skills

After graduating from San Francisco State University in 2017, I was in this limbo for about three years. I found small internships and projects, but honestly, I didn’t learn or receive much feedback on any of my work. Also, none of my workplaces truly impressed me or helped me facilitate my growth in ways that I needed. While I knew my strengths and understood that my strategies were effective, I never had enough data to go from start to finish on any of the campaigns I ran. This time period definitely hurt my confidence levels as a passionate marketer, but I was not about to give up! 

I decided to join COOP Careers in 2019. It was through COOP Careers’ Digital Marketing Apprenticeship Program that I was able to refresh my marketing skills, get more granular about digital marketing, and build up my portfolio of experience. However, I was still missing a full-on work experience from my resume. I interviewed for months and would get to the final round and still would not land an entry-level position. Eventually, I discovered that I was burnt out from my own grind, so I stepped away from marketing for over a year to address my mental health.

In mid-2020, I had a personal shift in my mindset. I was still addressing my mental health, but I had come a long way in working through the things that were preventing me from being my absolute best self. It was around this time that I started to slowly integrate myself back into my marketing networks and poked around to see what was available on the job market. This is when I first heard about RiseUp.

Fun fact—I actually missed the first cohort’s deadline by a week (laughing at self.) I was pretty disappointed in myself the second I realized I had my dates mixed up, but I vowed to apply again as soon as the opportunity opened up! I knew the RiseUp Program was within my reach and exactly what I needed. I never felt so aligned with a company, let alone felt like I perfectly fit the criteria.

What I Learned During the Fellowship

During the fellowship, I basically received all the hands-on skills I was missing on my resume. To break that down, the top three skills I gained from RiseUp were: account management, client management, and collaborative communication.

 

Account Management

After receiving more in-depth training on paid search and paid social, I immediately jumped into the accounts outside of our RiseUp clients. I was able to sit in client meetings, take notes, participate in deliverables, provide and receive feedback both internally and externally, and really experience most of the day-to-day processes. As a fellow, I was on about 5-6 accounts total throughout the program.

 

Client Management

Under the advice of my mentors, I learned how to start navigating clients and client relationships. I had a fantastic rapport with all of my clients from the start, which was easy for me to establish. My pain point was becoming more of a thought partner WITH my clients. At Media Cause, we like to think of ourselves as more of a thought partner versus account leads, as our main goal is to help clients push their missions forward. You can’t really do that by being transactional. With more clarity from the Client Success team on what it meant to truly be a thought partner, I eventually was able to see through the lens of how I can support and think forward for all of my clients.

 

Collaborative Communication

Coming from previous environments where my ideas were consistently shut down or passed over, it took me a while before I openly started suggesting solutions directly to the clients versus telling my mentors after a meeting. Feeling and being rejected, and even having my work stolen before, I was just more cautious of how my ideas would come across or how others might take note of the idea and run with it themselves. My other coworkers noticed I had the same issue when it came to internal projects. I was always down to collaborate, but I was more secretive about my ideas. With all the support and motivation from the team, I eventually learned how to speak up in all places. My fears diminished over time, and my collaboration with others eventually became frictionless. 

 

After the Fellowship

While there are so many other things about my experience I could go on about, the RiseUp Fellowship truly helped me get to where I needed to be as an effective young marketer. Being able to work hands-on across multiple accounts helped my mentors find my growth areas, and we doubled down on them. I was able to gain the skills I was missing from previous projects and was given consistent and productive feedback on my work. Outside of the RiseUp team, the Media Cause team was so supportive of my growth as well! I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity for my career, and I’m excited that I still get to grow with this organization every day now—as of November 2021, I officially onboarded as a full-time Associate Account Strategist!