Scientist to Social Media Expert: An Apprentice Story

Posted by Robyn Savidge on May 30, 2017

Apprentice, Charlie Deese, was destined to pursue a career in the medical field. With a double major in Psychology and Medicine, Health, and Society from Vanderbilt University, Charlie felt science was the way to go. After a couple of years in the field, she decided something was missing. Here’s the story of a student once interested in the sciences and her journey to becoming a content marketing and social media guru before adopting an apprenticeship mindset.

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Charlie pictured outside of SocialPath Solutions.

After working at the University of Kentucky as a research assistant, at Reasoning Mind as an implementation coordinator, and beginning a doctorate in audiology at the University of Arizona, Charlie decided inventiveness was essential to her career. She was disappointed in the rigor of the curriculum and the lack of creative opportunities throughout her clinical doctorate. This unearthed her passion for creativity and led the way to a career she would inevitably pursue. Charlie’s natural self-starting qualities enabled her to set a strong foundation for the career she loves. Through her previous roles combined with the mentoring and hands-on learning aspects of apprenticeship, Charlie was able to accelerate her content marketing and social media learning.

Overview of Charlie’s Career Path:

  • Research Assistant at University of Kentucky
  • Implementation Coordinator at Reasoning Mind
  • Product Development Specialist then promoted to Content Strategist and Content Marketing Lead at PitchVantage
  • Marketing and Content Manager then transitioned to Content Specialist at RallyUp
  • Content Specialist then, Creative Client Liaison, then Marketing Director at SPS DGTL

We sat down with her to explore her journey to becoming an apprentice and her decision to take on the world of content marketing and social media.

Full Interview

What did your path look like right out of college?

My entire family went into the medical field, and I originally thought I should go that route too. I thought, medicine is fascinating, and my majors give me a chance to learn about it from a totally unique perspective. Once I graduated, I landed a position as a research assistant for a year at the University of Kentucky studying behavioral neuroscience and psychopharmacology. I also took a few classes at the University of Kentucky to explore the sciences more and prepare for the possibility of graduate school. While I enjoyed working in a research environment, I decided it wasn't my ultimate path. Through my network, I found a job in San Antonio as an implementation coordinator for a nonprofit called Reasoning Mind. I worked in schools, coaching teachers on how to implement an online pre-algebra curriculum in their classrooms with Reasoning Mind. After two years, I ended up applying to an audiology degree program. I was disappointed in the quality of the education and that there weren’t creative opportunities. This is when I took a full-time content marketing job with an online fundraising company called RallyUp, and then I transitioned into freelance work.

Why did you chose to participate in the apprenticeship program with DCI?

As a freelancer, I was trying to teach myself, but being new to the industry I couldn’t tell what is most useful, what is worth paying for, and what to learn first. Trying to teach myself all of these things from square one in my free time was difficult. When I saw DCI and the ability for mentorship and a cohort that would be going through the same things I was going through, I was immediately pulled in. 

How would you describe apprenticeship from your experience?

Apprenticeship is so much better than traditional avenues of school, especially for something like marketing or content development. If you go the traditional route you’re taking yourself out of the real world and putting yourself in a vacuum for one to two years and then coming back. I work in social media marketing, consulting, and strategy, and everything is constantly changing! Social media changes every two days, if not two minutes! Apprenticeship keeps your thumb on the pulse of what’s going on; you get to immerse yourself in actual trends, practices, and learn at the same time. 

How has the apprenticeship program helped with your role at SPS DGTL?

One thing Digital Creative is teaching me is video content. I’m great at developing written content, blogging, and social media content, but I’m lacking experience in video content. As classmates, we've broken into teams to tackle projects together, which is really helpful for me too.

I’m also doing a campaign on Facebook Pixel with one of my fellow apprentices for SPS DGTL for our internal marketing. It’s really collaborative, and I’m tapping into resources like knowledge experts in the company—we don’t have to outsource, hire someone, or get a guest blogger—we have the expertise here through Digital Creative.

The hands on coaching through DCI is so beneficial—especially the quarterly reviews with my coach and manager. It really encourages the company to think about your long-term vision, just as you’re thinking about your long-term vision, which I just don’t think happens in a normal job. The integration of the company’s long-term vision and my long-term vision keeps everyone on the same page—I love that aspect.

What’s your favorite part of the apprenticeship so far?

I really like having apprentices in my cohort who work for different companies with niche markets. I can learn from them and think about what they’re doing and say, “What about this strategy? Have you thought about this?” I get to be creative, even when it’s not within my own company.

What are your overall learning goals for the apprenticeship?

Learning about all these areas of marketing I’ve never heard of or have no direct experience with is amazing. I wouldn’t have had access to these experiences in previous positions. Doing all of this is great and I can bring it to the table at SocialPath and say, “Why don’t we try this thing I’m learning about?" It’s been a really cohesive, collaborative environment, and I plan to continue implementing what I learn at DCI at SocialPath Solutions.

What are your post-apprenticeship plans?

I’ve really found a home at SocialPath. My vision past the apprenticeship is to take everything I’m learning and really grow within this position. I’m looking to move more into strategy, and I love being the ideas person and being a part of the sales pitches. I’m hoping that will just scale up and up and up as I move forward.

Would you recommend the apprenticeship to other marketers?

This has been such a positive experience, and I would not have found SPS DGTL without Digital Creative! Because I had the vouching of the Digital Creative team, I had one interview and at the end of it they said, “We want you. Send your portfolio. Let’s do this.”

When I was going through college, I didn’t know this was a real job! I’d like for other people to know that this exists. I had all these talents, but never thought that there was something that matched my skills. The apprenticeship is an opportunity to get in the door—the toughest part. It’s made everything so much smoother and easier, and I feel like I have this sense of security and somebody has my back. If I have problems I can talk to my coach and ask, “How would you handle this? How would you approach this?”

Charlie continues to learn new skills and connect with other professionals. Want to be like Charlie and experience exponential career and skill growth? Apply today to be in one of our cohorts of digital marketing apprentices! Training begins in August in San Antonio and in September in Austin.

Apply to DCI Today!

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Charlie with coworkers at SPS DGTL.

Topics: For Recent Grads

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