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My Marketing Story

How can a documentary journalist succeed as a marketing producer? The fields are innately different, with an inevitable trade-off between money and story. In 2017 nearly 4 years ago, I was in this exact position when I was hired as a multimedia marketing producer on the creative marketing team at 2U, a global digital technology company that powers world-class online education for universities. My moral compass was spinning as I wondered if I could create honest and ethical media when major clients and dollars would dictate so much of the story and message.

This reel shows media projects, from photography to animation to videos, reflecting my leadership, creative, and production abilities from work at 2U. This video is for private, noncommercial, portfolio use. It does not represent the views of any university or institution, and some marketing materials shown might be out of date.

Coming from independent journalism, marketing was a whole new world to me. I had to think about brand and messaging in a strategic way, whereas my past work focused more on storytelling in an artistic approach. At first, under these conditions it felt impossible to create nuanced and visually captivating assets. When I had to worry more about a client's opinion than my expertise, how could I create quality work? 

In my time at 2U, I learned that marketing is not an evil beast with nothing to offer. Instead it's simply a new framework, where audience engagement, data analytics, and spending strategy can help marketers and journalists alike tell stories that resonate. Furthermore, strategic communications could help journalists better connect their audiences to their work, in the same way journalism's approach to thorough and honest storytelling could help marketers drop the old-school sales act and focus on the impact of their products.

As a Multimedia Manager I built a multimedia team from scratch. This included building workflows that integrated with creative and wider marketing team processes; hiring an well-rounded and team-oriented staff; launching major initiatives to utilize our team's abilities and create real impact on prospective students; and directing creative work on a daily basis to provide engaging multimedia marketing content. To say that the job flexed my leadership skills would be an understatement when considering the thoughtful hands-on work that happened on a regular basis with my team.

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After leaving 2U’s education technology sector, I started in cloud technology and SMB marketing at DigitalOcean as one of only two people on the video operations team. There, I was afforded the opportunity to push creative boundaries and pursue passion projects that could make a different to current users, prospective clients, and wider open source and digital communities alike. We partnered with developer advocates to create short and long form tutorials that help users with everything from DigitalOcean platform set-up to programming with other technologies like MongoDB. We created in-depth character-driven documentaries about small and medium business who used the platform. I produced promotional videos like this (below) incredibly fun stop motion animation to create hype about newer serverless technology. And lastly, my dream project: Making Work Work, the DigitalOcean podcast about the intersections between technology, business, and people. Listen and learn more about the show!

Though time-consuming and intricate, this stop motion animation represents what myself and my team is capable of when given freedom to explore unique creative solutions to marketing needs. As the producer, animator, editor, and colorist, this truly exemplifies my skills and passions. 

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