Suzy DeLine grew up dancing and singing. She was convinced she was headed toward a career on Broadway, and even earned a drama degree from Northwestern University. But during her time as an undergrad, Suzy realized that directing and producing—calling the shots—was even more fun than performing. So she set her sights on business school. “From there, the drama of Silicon Valley’s technical revolution called me, and I’ve been telling those stories since,” she said.
Suzy is a content strategist and marketing manager with more than 15 years of digital marketing experience. A few of her favorite things about her work: writing creative briefs, putting together “a killer DACI” framework, setting up project timelines, and learning new marketing technology.
One of her go-to tools is Hubspot. She was introduced to the software firm’s products via an agency she worked for that encouraged her to become certified. “It was amazing, being able to see the full results of a whole campaign in a single, easy to use, easy to set up platform,” she said. “And it also gave a new structure to how a person thinks about content strategy planning and execution.”
The tech industry is an exciting and sometimes volatile one, and Suzy has experienced the full range of experiences. She has supported product launches at huge companies like Intel and Intuit, and she’s worked with small startups and nonprofits.
Some of her favorite professional experiences, however, involve mentorship. Suzy has been on both ends of the relationship, beginning at Intel, where she took everything her mentor said literally. “He would visualize the optimal situation for our new group, and being new at the company, I didn’t realize that these things were hard. I just assumed if he wanted them they should happen,” she said. “He hoped we could attract, to our group of four, six of the highest-quality new recruits. Between college and internal channels, I made it my mission and our team became a superteam, noticed by many others to some envy but much admiration.”
The personal connection mentorship provides “is profoundly motivating,” Suzy said. “To know someone is expecting your best makes you bring it.”
In addition to the accountability, the open communication—especially the ability to ask questions—“makes learning something new so very much more doable,” she said.
Suzy eventually began mentoring other young marketers through various platforms. At the end of last year, she joined Springboard, where she said she had her favorite mentoring experience (more about digital marketers here).
The student with whom she worked, Janelle, shared Suzy’s hybrid creative/business background and took to the “philosophy of content and digital marketing like a fish to water,” she said. “In addition to our connection, the tools of Springboard made it so efficient to get our work together done.”
There was a time when Janelle had a confluence of conflicts—work obligations, performances with her troupe, personal travel—that affected her ability to complete her coursework. “I let her know it was OK to take a pause, but we worked together to calendar her return so that the pause would not be open-ended,” Suzy said. “And during that time, I stayed in touch so she knew she was still part of the program.”
There’s a sense of satisfaction that comes from giving back and sharing knowledge with early-career professionals. But mentors also learn from their mentees.
“There is huge value in people in different stages coming together for a project,” Suzy said. “In this instance, I learned a great deal about the current state of job search techniques and mindsets.”
But in the end, Suzy said, it’s the relationship that matters. “Both the mentee and the mentor learn and grow while they are working together, and when that period ends the invaluable intergenerational friendships last.”
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