Company: Inspira Marketing
Title: Regional Field Manager
Industry: experiential marketing, food and beverage
Function: manages a team of 18 who sell Diageo products to local on- and off-premise establishments
BA Communication Studies with concentration in public relations, Temple University, 2011
What is your daily schedule like?
I work 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and try to get emails and other administrative responsibilities out of the way first. Then, I spend an hour going into my team’s accounts to see how they are performing in the market and begin to strategize how I can help them increase their sales and overall product placement.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love what I do, and I love selling nationally recognized products. I went from focusing on boutique, small wine brands to some of the biggest names in the beer and spirits industry.
What were the steps you took to get your job?
I spent a lot of time crafting my resume, especially for this job. There were two phone interviews and a presentation in front of 15 people. Rather than put together a general sales pitch for the presentation, I went to restaurants and bars to talk to servers, general managers, and other people to gain new sales perspectives. Usually, I would not have taken the extra step to do my due diligence within the industry and craft the pitch on my own, but I really wanted this job. So I got help from various resources that made for a much stronger presentation.
What is your best piece of advice for girls interested in this field?
Having a communications studies degree might not be the most useful degree depending on what you want to do in the marketing field. Some people have degrees in business administration, management, marketing, and so many more. Keep your education options open.
What inspired you to pursue this career?
I really love wine. Understanding how the grapes grow and how they are cared for on the vine, the science and art of creating blends and flavors, and the process from the farm to the table is absolutely poetic. When I realized that I could have a career working within this industry that plays a part in so many people’s lives, I really went for it.
Vanessa works for Inspira Marketing in Connecticut, managing a team of 18 people who are all located across 11 states on the West Coast. Her team sells Diageo products to restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and other retailers. As a regional field manager, she oversees her team’s sales figures and helps to ensure they are meeting local and national targets. During regular Skype calls, Slack sessions, or email exchanges, Vanessa provides useful sales tactics, product launch details, and company information to help the team succeed. To her, building rapport and passing on the enthusiasm she has for her job is an essential part of being an effective manager. Vanessa also travels out to the west coast to visit and coach her team once a month.
Some people have dismissed Vanessa as a professional because she sells and markets alcohol. They assume that she loves to constantly party, and they associate her with irresponsible drinking and the negative aspects of the nightlife scene. She worked hard in high school to achieve good grades while balancing lots of extracurricular activities. Later, she worked part-time to put herself through college, doing everything she could to help fulfill her dreams. She always knew she wanted to create and market unique and memorable events for highly recognized brands and companies that would enhance their reputation and increase sales. Every course, internship, and job she took was aimed at helping her build a well-rounded knowledge and skill set within the industry.
Asking for what you want
When Vanessa was twenty-two years old, she was working as the special events and marketing manager at the Revel Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and her location was chosen to host Beyoncé’s first live performance after giving birth to her first child. Vanessa organized and marketed the three-day pre-concert party and media events, concluding with the big show. Toward the end of the pre-concert festivities, she was with Beyoncé’s publicist and confidently asked if there were any extra tickets she could have. The publicist said that because Vanessa asked for exactly what she wanted, she could have three tickets. That moment was a life lesson: always be brave, and ask for exactly what you want in life.
Vanessa’s suggestion to girls who, like her, have always known what they wanted to do in their career is to be confident and persistent about reaching your goals but remain flexible with your methods. Just as it is not necessary to major in communications studies to get a job in the public relations or marketing field, there is no one specific path to take that will lead you to a job like hers. Internships and job opportunities that will grow your knowledge or skill set will be useful as you change jobs or transition within industries, so make sure to be open-minded to learning and evolving. Also, if you know what general path you’d like to take your career in but don’t have an ideal end-goal job title yet, it’s totally fine.