In my last semester of college I struggled with the decision to move to New York to pursue an advertising career, or stay somewhere in Florida to be near my loved ones. While I was leaning towards the latter, everyone kept telling me if I didn’t go to New York, I would never make anything of myself or my career. Those statements made my blood boil, but also prompted me to decide to stay in Florida and begin my career here. When people tell me something cannot be done, I will always do my best prove them wrong.
Before I graduated, I accepted a marketing coordinator position with Coton Colors. I knew the growth of the company had been exponential, which felt like a great opportunity for launching my budding career. Meanwhile, I continued to watch my fellow classmates accept job after job in New York and move their lives up to the “big city.” I began to wonder if I’d made the wrong decision.
I continued my work with Coton Colors, establishing myself as the new girl in a company full of women, which was very challenging. Everyone was so dedicated and successful, it was quite intimidating. I took on basic marketing tasks like small campaigns, support materials and simple designs. The new position was created for me, so there was no clear path that would define my future role at the company.
I started assuming more and more tasks and discovering things I liked and excelled in. I continued to ask for more responsibilities, and before I knew it, I was leading meetings, directing support staff and flourishing in my position.
I started getting back in contact with a few of my New York classmates to ask them how everything was going. I heard the same story over and over again. It seemed that all of my friends were now assistants, running to get coffee and make copies, without getting actual agency experience. I felt proud to tell them that I was leading meetings, developing major marketing campaigns, directing support staff and running all the social media.
Those conversations helped me to realize that what I had was very special compared to others my age. I was in control of my own destiny. I didn’t need to move to a big city to become an important part of a successful team, I was already part of one.
One of my smaller roles as a marketing coordinator was to plan, organize and execute Coton Colors Events, which at the time only distributed about 150 events per year. I saw the strengths and weaknesses these events had, and what I could do to make them better. I went to the CEO and asked to create and lead an events team. I knew that this was my chance to move my career in the direction it needed to go… up. Before I took over the program, the events were unorganized, over budget and behind schedule. After only a few short months, I was managing over 800 individual Coton Colors events. I worked around the clock to grow this branch of the Coton Colors brand while also continuing to maintain my regular job duties.
In the end, all of my hard work and dedication has paid off. I have watched myself grow from an entry-level college student to a valued member of a powerful management team. I have overcome many stereotypes of my generation with my hard work ethic and positive attitude.