Hoya Highlight: Marissa Amendolia Finn (C’11), Creative Marketing and Content Manager at Facebook

TIME ON THE HILLTOP

What was your favorite class or who was your favorite professor at Georgetown?

I always knew I wanted to major in English, so that’s why Georgetown was my first choice of university. I loved the combination of having a strong liberal arts education while also having the diversification of the rest of Georgetown’s academic offerings. My favorite class was my freshman year liberal arts seminar, an interdisciplinary program open to 30 first-years. It truly embodied Georgetown’s approach to the liberal arts education and leaned heavily on the Socratic method. The power of spending hours with the same 30 students created space for insightful and open conversation. The class went beyond just reading and studying English literature; it was based on discussion to the point that our final exam at the end of year was a one-to-one conversation with our professor.

What is your favorite Georgetown memory?

I think that the most significant thing I did at Georgetown beyond my courses was my involvement in The Hoya—it is still the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it taught me so much. On top of teaching me to be a better writer, ask the right questions, manage a team, and solve problems quickly and effectively, I can also credit The Hoya with introducing me to my now-husband. We met when I was Guide Editor and he was Sports Editor, and we got married in October 2017 in Dahlgren Chapel. It goes without saying that our shared Georgetown experience is a huge part of our life together. 

How has Georgetown shaped you?

Georgetown has shaped me in more ways than I can identify now, but the biggest thing I think about on a daily basis is the way Georgetown recalibrated the way I look at the world. There is incredible diversity of thought and opinion at Georgetown that challenges us to navigate different opinions and see the world through others’ eyes. This diversity of thought and global perspective has helped me grow as a person, as well as in my career.

What advice would you give your younger self (or current Georgetown students)?

Stay open. It is great to be driven toward a single goal, but it also limits us to new opportunities as they arise. The job I do now didn’t even exist when I was in college. My advice is to think about goals in a much broader way than specific career paths, titles, or companies. You never know what opportunities are going to arise, so staying open to new experiences is key.

Additionally, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Senior year becomes all about what you’re going to do after you graduate and what job you’re going to have. It can be a tough time—some friends have jobs waiting for them, some don’t, and some are applying to graduate schools. It’s important not to measure yourself against your peers. You need to trust that things will fall into place, whether they’re how you originally envisioned or not. I didn’t have a job waiting for me when I graduated. I spent every single day during that first month looking for a job, interviewing, and constantly thinking about the fact that I wasn’t working—it was all-consuming. I look back now and realize what an incredibly short amount of time that was in the grand scheme of things. Keeping perspective is important!

Finally, know that you’ll have to pay your dues. Georgetown instills in us a strong focus on social impact—we all want to change the world. But as amazing as that sense of purpose is, remember that for the first few years of your career, you’ll have to do the gruntwork no matter what field you are in. It feels like a harsh reality coming off the inspirational and aspirational environment of Georgetown, but give yourself a break and know that there are a lot of ways to contribute to the world beyond the day-to-day tasks of your 9-to-5 job. Trust the process.

What is your job now?

I am the Creative Marketing and Content Manager at Facebook’s Creative Shop. We partner with advertisers and agencies to explore the creative potential of Facebook platforms, and my role is to amplify and celebrate the work being done across Creative Shop globally with the goal of inspiring and provoking the creative industry at large.

CAREER REFLECTIONS

What is the best career advice you have ever received?

This idea came from one of my favorite managers: Instead of coming up with a five-year plan, think about a broader theme. How are you going to manifest and embody that theme in six months, a year, five years? This advice allowed me to stay open and agile in the industry.

Also, don’t take for granted the people you work with. I have been very fortunate to love every role I’ve been in. A huge part of that has been the relationships I’ve had with people along the way. Take time to recognize how important those relationships are. I still have friends and mentors from my first job. Leaning into those relationships and mentorships doesn’t have to be hierarchical. A relationship with peers is just as important.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done professionally?

It’s been hard for me to recognize when I needed to pivot in my career; I’ve pivoted twice. The first time, I went from a big global agency to an in-house role at a small hospitality group. Then, less than a year ago, I pivoted out of the hospitality industry and into tech. These pivots were challenging because each time I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to do next. To help guide my decisions, I put on my student mindset and made sure I was staying as open as possible to opportunities out there. That mindset led me to my current role.

Recognizing when and how to pivot in one’s own career requires a lot of humility and personal strength. There is a lot of self-doubt when starting a new role. My advice on how to deal with this uncertainty and fear is to be patient with yourself. Know that pivoting in your career will always be a bit of a roller coaster.

What are the big trends in your industry you’re seeing now?

Marketing has never changed as quickly as it has in the last 10 years, and I’m continuing to see it evolve even more. There is a lot of uncertainty, but also a lot of opportunity. Those who will succeed are the ones who are able to stay agile.

A DAY IN THE LIFE

What does your workspace look like? Are you at a desk frequently or on the road? What do you have on your desk or with you at all times?

I’ve always worked in an open plan office and I’ve always loved that setup. Especially in the creative field, you can get so much inspiration and motivation from the energy that surrounds you.

I keep my workspace pretty neat, but because I work in a creative field I like to have items for inspiration around me: small pieces of art, plants, and splashes of creativity and color. I also keep many snacks on hand!

I’ve found there is a real power to putting pen to paper, and one thing I always have with me is my notebook. I am a voracious notetaker and always do it by hand. I find it shocking how many young people don’t take notes. It makes me very skeptical to have interns who do not take notes in meetings. It’s important to take notes by hand and not on your phone! The work environment is so different from the student environment—you never know when your manager will ask you to do something or follow up on something. Being able to quickly jot down a note will be the difference between you being able to be on top of that task or it falling through the cracks.

What is one part of your daily routine you couldn’t live without?

Every day I start by reading the trades, catching up on industry news. It is a habit I started in my very first job that I’ve taken through to today. It helps me ease into my workday and transition my brain from bed to work life. It also sparks inspiration. I find I’m most productive in the morning and taking the time to saturate my brain with as much inspiration as possible has been really key for me.

What’s one book you’d recommend to everyone?

I try to read as much as possible. Reading and knowing what’s going on in the world allows you to form your own opinions, which is so important, especially early in your career. Unlike an academic environment, you are not going to be assigned readings every day, so it’s up to you to make time and space to educate yourself.

I love fiction, nonfiction, and long-form journalism, like The Atlantic and New York Magazine. A specific book that I’d recommend is one that my husband gave me while we were still at Georgetown, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. It’s a book about writing. I identify as a writer and work in the creative industry. So, while it has slightly more direct correlations to what I do, I believe everyone has the opportunity to bring creativity to their lives and work. No matter what you’re doing, you have to know how to write!

What are your words to live by?

Stay curious. Recognize that there’s always more to learn and it is up to you to learn it. At Georgetown we are lucky in that we have endless opportunities to learn. Once we leave the Hilltop, we have to take that into our own hands. Stay curious about the world and stay curious about yourself and don’t take anything for granted.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s