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We caught up with Diana Choi, an alumni of our part-time Digital Marketing certificate course. Diana works as a Marketing Strategist and Entrepreneur, running her own business Far & Wide, a beauty and wellness focused brand incubator and distributor for brands looking to enter the Asia-Pacific markets. We asked Diana about her experience at BrainStation, how she balances being an entrepreneur with another full-time job, and how the skills she learned at BrainStation are helping her move forward in her career.
BrainStation: Where are you working currently, and what do you do there?
Diana: I’m currently a Marketing Strategist and Business Development Lead at Leisure Center, a new luxury retail concept store in Yaletown. I help develop and execute the marketing strategy (both offline and online) to generate brand awareness, drive traffic to the store, and increase customer engagement. I also help identify and build B2B partnerships with vendors, local businesses, and media.
How do you balance being a founder and entrepreneur with your work as a Marketing Strategist?
You have to embrace the hustle and love what you do. As a budding entrepreneur trying to build a client base, there is never an “off” time. When I’m home from my day job, I’m either emailing or on a call with prospective clients, or drafting pitches and proposals. It sounds cliché, but work doesn’t feel like work when you see the value in what you do. In my case, I really enjoy helping emerging brands launch in new markets and grow their international presence.
What were some of the most valuable skills you gained during your Digital Marketing course? Why were these skills important to your professional development?
I think one of the biggest takeaways is learning to think strategically and analytically when developing a marketing plan, not just a digital one, but an overall brand strategy. This is especially true when it comes to building a digital strategy, where you are presented with so many different tools and mediums, and you have to be able to decide which channel (for instance, SEO vs paid marketing) would be the most cost-effective and help you achieve your goals in a set timeframe.
How do you use the skills learned at BrainStation in your current position?
I’ve learned to write smarter email marketing and social media copy, as well as gained more insights as to how to capitalize on paid media. I’m advocating more for the use of paid social in our promotional campaigns. In my own work as an entrepreneur, I’ve learned to optimize my website and using analytics data to track my site visits.
What was your favourite part about taking the Digital Marketing course at BrainStation?
The instructors and my peers. It was an all female cohort (including the instructors), and I felt so inspired to be surrounded by a group of intelligent and talented women, many of whom were also entrepreneurs, who were all eager to learn and grow their businesses.
Can you describe your day-to-day activities both at the Leisure Center and as the founder of Far & Wide?
Everyday is different, but most of the time, I’m either in meetings with potential new partners to discuss collaboration opportunities, or meeting with internal cross-functional teams (i.e. graphics, digital, store operations) to plan/map out upcoming events or online marketing initiatives. When I’m not at Leisure Center, I’m also meeting with prospective clients and putting together presentations and pitches, or I’m travelling overseas conducting market visits and research.
In your opinion, what are some of the most important skills an entrepreneur can have?
Have patience and grit, lots of it! Also learn to treat everyone with respect and kindness, whether they are your clients, vendors, or people who work for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about Digital Marketing, BrainStation offers a range of Marketing certification courses.