A Day in the Life: Kaitlyn Sawin

I clearly remember sitting in a meeting with my career mentor right as the excitement of senior year was kicking in, with our primary agenda item for the meeting being to help me uncover my ideal post-grad job and a gameplan to get there. I was four internships deep, with a love of all of my classes, a good set of leadership positions under my belt, and no idea how broad the field of “marketing” was.

After thoughtful reflection and discussion, I realized the common thread between the professional experiences I loved most were the ones that challenged me, but also allowed me to directly provide value to the business. When Orr Fellowship’s application opened, I knew this would be the place where I would find my career “must-haves” – being challenged and adding value each day.

For the past year, I have worked at Vibenomics as the Marketing Coordinator and loved every minute. I am positioned in a start-up at the perfect time to make meaningful change, during a period of high growth. Better yet, I know that everything I touch has the power to move the business forward and is important to our growth. Thanks to the excitement of start-up life, each day looks different. My responsibilities include – but are not limited to – website & social media management, content strategy, support of sales & general business functions, event marketing, customer communication development and distribution, campaign execution, and “making things look pretty” with my recent adoption of the graphic design position, too. I’ve been responsible for putting together the presentations that will be presented by our CEO in front of venture capital firms, producing the artwork that will go into the Apple & Google app stores and our own software, and hundreds of other high-value projects directly out of school. Not to mention, I am getting an abundance of professional opportunities in and out of the office – thanks to Orr Fellowship – that are nearly unheard of by many of my peers in more traditional post-grad positions.

While I have had the opportunity to delve into many unique projects, it certainly hasn’t come without challenges. There are days where – despite having a four-year degree in the concentration I am employed in – I encounter software systems I had never worked with, projects I didn’t feel like I had the skill set for, and terminology that I never heard of. Moments like this can be discouraging, but are critical in my development as a young professional and, thankfully, I have the trust of my team at work to learn how to creatively problem-solve. Even better, I have an incomparable peer network made up of individuals that have likely been in similar positions or have a different skill set that I can benefit from. More than once, I have hopped into Orr Fellowship’s internal communication platform, Slack, and instantly found Fellows that were jumping at the chance to help me. Fellows have directly helped me launch our company blog on a new platform, taught me how to navigate LinkedIn Campaign Manager, and even compare two software platforms to better inform my recommendation to my company, simply in the spirit of helping each other succeed.

I knew that working at a start-up company would be a risk. What I didn’t know is that I would gain mentorship from some of the smartest people in tech, have the complete trust from my coworkers to be the marketing brains of the organization, have total empowerment to try new things, and find a place I am excited to go to every single day. Showing up every day to build a product from the ground up is hard, but this is the challenge that is exactly what my 2017 self asked for and the experience that will be pivotal for my career trajectory.