Friday, July 10, 2015

{working girls: britni}

This girl won me over with Snickers & a beautiful apartment. I'd been on so. many. Craigslist interviews & not one of them seemed to be the right fit. Then lo & behold, I walked up to ours. She offered me a bowl of candy & a room in her apartment & the rest is history. We have what we call "Me Day Mondays" where we wear comfy pants, eat pizza, & watch the Bachelor/ette {...yeah she's the girl who turned me back onto the Bachelor franchise after what I thought was a permanent break...} She's one of my favorite people out here in San Francisco & I'm so thankful for our friendship. Meet Britni...

Tell me a little about yourself: age // where you're from // where you currently live
I am 26 years old and grew up in the small town of Hollister, CA (not the clothing store). I have lived in CA for about 15 years now but still don't tan. I currently live in San Francisco and have been here in SF for about 3 years now.

Where did you go to college? What did you major in?
I went to California Polytechnic State University—San Luis Obispo. Also known as Cal Poly - SLO. I majored in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. I was highly involved in the school's American Marketing Association and Enactus (formerly known as SIFE) organization.

What's your favorite thing about where you live?
Okay, so you might find me on a tangent with this question and I apologize in advance.

First of all, throughout my entire life I have lived in small towns. Even college! So the thought of moving to San Francisco was my dream. No, like literally, I dreamed one day I would live in a big city in a tiny apartment and order take out Chinese as I worked all day...weird.. I know. So when an opportunity opened up to move into someone's apartment (by apartment I mean living room) my initial thoughts were 1.) YES! 2.) NO! 3.) I have a fear of driving over bridges! 4.) Can I afford it?  5.) I will regret it for the rest of my life.

Here is how it initially played out. I said YES, I was scared to death driving over that bridge for a solid three months as I commuted to work, I had never had to handle that many people and that much noise and my anxiety was on overload. Sounds like a horrible experience, right? Wrong! I had actually overcome about four fears at once and all the while, met some of the BEST people I could ever meet, ate food I had never even known existed, and I had found myself addicted to the soft rumble of the city. If it was quiet then it got weird, if there wasn't a wait at a restaurant it must not be good, and no store closes before 10! 

And although I have found myself at times angry and annoyed at some inconveniences; I have my best friends, fantastic boyfriend, amazing apartment (not just a living room anymore!), diverse cultures, abundance of activities and a large amount lessons learned ALL thanks to San Francisco. I know it sounds cliche but my heart is in SF and I am totally okay with it.

And if you want to know (yes, I think you do) I still love sitting at my apartment and ordering take out. So I guess, one dream accomplished and many more to go... :)

Let's get down to it: what do you do? Walk me through a day in your life.
I started a new job about only a few months ago so I will walk you through my old role as well. 

I previously worked for a Food Broker as a Business Development Manager in the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry. What's a Food Broker? Well, many manufacturer's like Mars, Unilever, Smuckers etc. pay brokers to manage their sales, new item launches, promotional programming and any company wide goals. So every time you go into the store and see something on sale, a new flavor item, or a cool display it's because someone (brokers most times) have worked with buyers at each various grocery store and sold the programs in. 

Now, I work for a manufacturer (Ajinomoto Windsor) and work on the Marketing Team. Ajinomoto Windsor makes Jose Ole taquitos, Ling Ling potstickers, Tai Pei meals and many other frozen foods. The marketing team is responsible for a wide variety of things ranging from product packaging, item innovation, campaigns on TV, in-store and social media and ensuring we have the right costs and funds to do so. There is so much more we do on this team but I am continuing to learn each day so I will have to get back to you on what MORE we do! :)

Travel back to when you were a freshman in college. Looking ahead, did you see yourself doing what you do now?
First of all, being a freshman in college is the most exciting and nerve racking experience of all time. You FINALLY have the freedom you dreamed of but also the reality that you are now on your own and responsible for your own success/choices! That being said, I think I was a little abnormal in that I had decided at the age of 15 that I wanted to go into marketing. (Before that, I was convinced I could be an astronaut and work for NASA but's a whole different story!) To be honest, what really sold marketing in for me was Donald Trump's "The Apprentice" TV show. They were marketing a car (the Solstice) and I realized how fun it could be to market actual products whether edible or non-edible. So when I was in college my tag line was, "I can always market toilet paper because everyone (hopefully) will always need to buy toilet paper".  I didn't see myself joining a brokerage right out of college but I had a general idea that I wanted to market goods which, let's be real, is VERY broad.

What's your favorite thing about your job? Or, what is most rewarding about your job?
I love being creative and brainstorming new ways to change up our products—whether it's a new package or a new flavor—and then being able to physically see the hard work on the shelves at stores! It's thrilling to walk into a store and see everything that you have worked/collaborated on actually in action!

What do you find most challenging about your job?
I think knowing your audience is always something to keep working on. It's not necessarily that challenging but it can be hard to make sure we aren't making decisions based off our preferences and not the consumers. I also think understanding how products are made, the costs, the energy, and the time that goes into the products can be challenging when trying to be innovative.

I'm always curious about what people wear to work, since it all depends on their commute, their industry, etc. Describe your work style.
Typically the CPG industry is business casual. It's a lot of sales people and executives, but over the course of the last few years it has slowly become a bit more casual. I am able to wear jeans to work everyday because my office is at a manufacturing plant and it's a bit more casual. Now, if I worked at our main office it would be business casual. If ever confused on what business casual is you can always look at your school's career services site and they most times offer insight.

Do you feel like you've nailed the work/life balance thing? If so, how? If not, what is something that you do to that helps you try to maintain that balance?
No, no, no—I will be the first to say that really channeling a good work/life balance is hard. In the beginning of any role, you will want to invest a bit more time to work in order to really grasp the job and put your best foot forward. Now, that being said, I do suggest a good work routine. Make sure you have a solid work schedule that way your bosses, mangers and peers (and yourself) know when they can expect you in the office and when you would like to leave. I work 7:30–4:30, unless a project calls for later. The more consistency in the beginning the better. I also would recommend communicating what's important to you early on with your manager (hopefully during the interview process and before you accept the role). I had a great conversation with my team about their culture, their priorities and  gauging what their style was. They are a great group who sees importance in personal life and family and they asked ME what my priorities are so we can, together, create the best working relationship/schedule.

What's the best advice you've ever been given? Either career, personal, or both.
You won't know what you like to do and what you don't like to do until you try it. For every new role, keep a list of the tasks you enjoy/dislike and when looking for the next step go back and reference your list so you can make sure over time you are molding your career into what you had always envisioned. 

favorite workout song: Tyga Radio on Pandora or Eminem
best meal: Mac n' cheese
must-watch tv show: The Walking Dead
plane ticket to anywhere, you go to: Italy!

You can find Britni on Instagram and Twitter.


Thanks so much, Britni!  I advertise food, so it's really cool to be friends with someone who is on the marketing side... I mean, I didn't even know a food broker existed before I met Brit, did you?

I really loved her honesty about the challenge of her job: "I also think understanding how products are made, the costs, the energy, and the time that goes into the products can be challenging when trying to be innovative." Learning about things like operational logistics was eye-opening when I started my job. In my role (agency-side), we deal mainly with the client marketing team—someone like Britni—on a day-to-day basis, but there are so many other pieces involved before the creative process that I'm not part of: brand, operations, product innovation, franchisees, etc. In short, marketing a product isn't as simple or quick as it seems on TV! :)

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