Emily Bezak, MBA
Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
Hello! My name is Emily Bezak, and I currently live in Pittsburgh, PA with my husband and two English Bulldogs. By day, I'm a digital marketing. By night, weekend, and even the wee hours of the morning, I'm a freelance writer and marketing consultant. This month I've been focusing on putting together a social media calendar for TEDxPittsburgh and writing a newsletter for L'Oreal executives about AI, the future of work, and managing short-term and long-term goals through uncertainty and change.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
I came to a Mentoring Meetup almost three years ago completely broken by my job at the time. I was brand new and so excited to be there. It was a toxic work environment, and I was really struggling to understand what was wrong with me. One of the executives I was paired with that night laughed at one of my conversations I described between myself and my boss. She told me to stop looking inside myself and that I deserved to work for a place that appreciated my expertise. She gave me talking points to use in interviews when asked about the short-term job and how to frame it on my resume. Since then, I've gone onto grow my career in marketing in ways I never could've imagined without her, including the idea to get myself a side hustle.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
In marketing, you need fabulous people skills, impeccable communication skills, and a background in customer service. The marketing department serves all departments of a company, and its workers often work with people at all levels - from a sales assistant to the CEO. I have a saying that 'half of my job is marketing my ability as a marketer', by presenting what my personal features and benefits are to help that area of the business with a unique need to accomplish a goal or fix a problem. And when it comes to communication, never underestimate the power of listening.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
My career path is far from straight. I started as a journalism major wanting to write for a newspaper like the Boston Globe or Washington Post. Then, I switched to an English major when I realized the newsroom wasn't quite what I'd imagined. I'm looking at you, 90's chick flicks! But then, the housing market crashed only days into the fall semester of my sophomore year. After a week studying the history that was unfolding before our eyes, I ultimately landed on a business major to land a job after graduation. And I've learned that to write, you don't need to write for a newspaper. You just need to write. And to do business, you don't need to work for a big bank. You just need to take control of your career and move forward. Today, I write every single day and I've never been happier. And my business degree - and ultimately my MBA - have prepared me to take on an entrepreneurial path with my freelance business.
Who are your role models?
My mom. She led me by example to work hard for the life you want. She didn't want her daughters going to daycare, so she worked the third shift in her data entry job. She picked up a bus route when we started school, so she could help pay for things like clothes, braces, and field trips. And despite everything, she never complained to me or my sister.
What is your favorite social media site? Why?
I love the power of LinkedIn for networking, news sharing, content marketing, and growing my personal brand. Since I've started treating my career like my own business, I've gotten invited to interview for roles based on my LinkedIn posts. I've been contacted for speaking engagements, writing gigs, and more from creating awesome content on LinkedIn and without spending a penny.
What would you say your personal superpower is?
I am a problem solver --- if it needs done, there's most likely more to the story; if there's a mistake, it's most likely not one person at fault. Approaching work with that mindset frees your sanity from "fire drill" mode and allows you the space to create the relationships and work that propel you forward. Yes, it may just seem like a marketing campaign that needs to get out the door today. But, maybe we can take a bit more time to prevent this from happening in the future also. I live and shine in that space in both my day job and with my clients.
What does success look like to you?
I always want to work hard and a lot, but I want to work when and where I want to and on my own terms. If it doesn't make sense, or I think a marketing campaign could be done better, I'd like to have that autonomy and the space to create better outcomes. I love having 10 burgers on the grill at once, but I want to make them my way. And at the end of the day, I want to write, help people do their best work, and spend time with my family.
Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
YES! If inspiration for that blog post doesn't hit me until 2AM before a deadline, I am writing at 2AM until it's done. I send emails at all times of day. I consume content on marketing trends, personal branding, work culture, and the gig economy 24/7. I'm a total geek for email newsletters and read almost all of them word-by-word - including the Morning Boost from Ellevate! Creating balance is a constant struggle, because I love to work. So it's all about taking advantage of slowing down when activity has lessened - much like sleeping when the baby sleeps for my friends with newborns? If I don't need to respond to an email immediately, I don't. If I need to get a task done during the week, I block time on my calendar for thinking, doing, and researching.
What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?
You've heard it from everyone since you were in high school, but it's true... NETWORK! Your supervisor isn't the only one you can gain valuable insights and advice from or use as a reference for future positions. Create alliances and build relationships with the designer, writer, editor, or counterpart to your role in another department to get things done well together. And question every, single thing you work on from Day 1. Chances are the question or idea has been asked or tried before, but the unique part of the equation is it came to YOU. Capitalize on that and make a name for yourself by putting your own spin to everything you do and not getting caught-up in "fire drills". It's easy to become a Kinkos store for your company when you're in marketing, but that probably won't make you want to stick around for too long.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Digital Marketing Project Manager, Contract
www.emilybezak.com With nearly 10 years professional experience in marketing and communications - as well as unique prior work experience in retail and B2B sales for 5+ years - I have mastered the ability of wearing many hats and adapt in a fast-paced work environment. At the center of my work, I bring cross-functional teams together to achieve a goal, solve a problem, or fix an issue. As a manager, I lead teams through active listening... Continue Reading
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