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by Natalie Telegraph

Who knew that the movie ‘Yes Man’ would have applied so closely to my journey, especially considering how unusual this year has been.

Let’s start from the beginning. In 2016, I attended San Diego State University for my undergraduate degree in Business Management specialized in Entrepreneurship. During my freshman year I attended a marketing class as a requirement for my major, which started me down the path of pursuing a career in marketing. Who knew that one professor could change my perspective in such a big way. But she was not the only one. More on that soon.

From there marketing became my minor. I even got the chance to work at a small local floral shop, Little House of Flowers, as a marketing intern where my interest in marketing bloomed (pun intended). But thanks to Covid-19, that ended quickly, and so did most of my plans after graduation, (ie: finding a full-time job). All the recruiters I was speaking with put a halt on recruitment and I was not sure when they would start recruiting again. So, I thought of plan b which was to continue my studies and pursue an MBA, but even that plan faced challenges because of financial reasons. 

Luckily a week before finals started for my last semester, Matt, the co-founder of Experience Lab, reached out to me and introduced me to the program. I was intrigued so I started conducting my research about the program to learn more. I applied, got accepted, and I said ‘yes’ to the offer. I joined the digital marketing and storytelling track. As part of the program, I needed to complete a Field Experience where I would utilize the tools and skills that I learned in our classes to aid a startup with marketing matters. 

When my Experience Lab at Penn advisor was connecting me with startups I did not really think the startup I was introduced to was going to work out. The industries that I am interested in are hospitality and event planning, but those industries were negatively affected by Covid-19. So another way in which my advisor helped me approach this was by focusing on the type of company I would have liked to work with in terms of culture, freedom in projects, and types of tasks to do. I found it tough at first. But little did I know that I would love my position, the team, and their innovative product — something that was never on my radar.

So I needed to look at the bigger picture. If I had not said yes to the opportunity to work for a petcare startup, I would not have learned that I love to create content for social media — from gifs, to videos, to infographics, to photography. I also found it really rewarding to be able to create strategies and SMART goals that led to positive outcomes like surpassing our funding goal on kickstarter by 3x within a month or helping to design and build our e-commerce website. I would not have learned about these interests or hidden skills if it wasn’t for my new experience and saying yes to a new opportunity. 

In a world of uncertainty, especially with Covid-19, you should take the opportunity to try something new and different that will help you grow. Your new adventure may help you build relationships that will guide you through your adventurous career path. After all, companies want to recruit people who don’t just have a good resume, but also ones will take chances and that are adaptable, especially when it comes to startups and small businesses. 

Natalie Telegraph, Experience Lab Fellow, Fall 2020