Debbie Gillum

Marketing and Digital Communications Specialist , Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio

Q: Why did you join Women in Digital?

A: I joined Women in Digital because I was excited to meet other young women in marketing around Columbus. I really liked the Asks and Gives concept and the idea that we can help each other out. I wanted to join the sisterhood and attend the events and conference to stay up to date on digital marketing trends. When I heard other women talk about the annual conference, I saw their eyes light up with excitement and so I knew it was something special.

Q: What’s your specialty? What makes you tick?

A: I would say social media marketing is my specialty. I’m good at content creation, community management and digital marketing strategies. I’ve always loved writing and so I tend to excel in tasks where I can use my writing skills, whether that’s for social media posts, blogs, or mapping out a strategic game plan. I get ticked when people don’t use their turn signal to change lanes on the highway. I also get ticked when marketing or social media strategies don’t feel human. Sometimes I think that need to connect with others can get lost or forgotten. I admire brands that don’t take themselves too seriously and can roll with the punches.

Q: What was your first job out of college?

A: My first job out of college was a Communications Representative at The Longaberger Company. I worked there a few hours a week while still in school then started full time right after graduation. I worked on the fifth floor inside of the big basket in Newark. I was part of a brand new team, comprised of other recent graduates, so we were all trying to figure things out and make a name for ourselves. I wrote articles for their magazine, managed their social media accounts, responded to customers, planned promotional events, and wrote product copy. It was a good learning experience and neat to work for a brand that had such rich history and a loyal fan base.

Q: What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

A: “Be your own cheerleader.” I think as women, we tend to downplay our successes or feel scared to celebrate our successes. I’m realizing that no one else will tell your story for you, so you have to put yourself out there. It’s scary and sometimes hard to brag about yourself but it’s important. I feel it’s important for women to genuinely compliment and cheer on each other.

Q: What can you give your fellow members of Women in Digital?

A: I can give advice to recent college graduates who are looking to get into digital marketing. I’m happy to grab coffee and offer any advice I can. I can also give my knowledge about social media strategy and non-profit marketing.

Q: What will be your first ask?

A: I recently asked fellow Women in Digital if they knew of someone who could apply for a full-time marketing role at a trivia company in Cincinnati. I’ve also asked my peer circle for advice on working with influencers and they were very helpful. One woman even shared with me a list of Columbus fashion influencers that she’d compiled.

Q: What does digital mean to you?

A: To me, digital means anything online. It’s pretty broad which I appreciate. I love how we have women involved in everything from Analytics to UX (Almost A to Z, haha)

Q: What do you think is the greatest challenge facing women today?

A: Lack of confidence. I think it’s challenging for women today to know how amazing they are, no matter what stage in their career they are at. Just because you’re starting out doesn’t mean you’re not a bad ass. Being laid off isn’t the end of the world, it’s happened to everyone, including me. Feeling scared or unsure can affect how much women are paid. It can be tough to negotiate with your boss and ask for more money but that’s important. I’d like for women to not describe themselves as “just an analyst” or talk down about where they are in their career.

Q: What do you think we can do to overcome that challenge?

A: I think we can help each other feel confident by being honest and appreciative of each other. In a supportive environment, when we help each other, we can build a strong network together.

Q: Why do you love digital?

A: I love digital because it’s always changing and there’s so much creativity with it. With digital, there are few hard and strict rules. It’s fairly flexible, allowing for creativity. I’ve always loved digital. I grew up going on the computer after school all the time playing Neopets, writing in my Xanga blog, going on Facebook in middle school and playing Farmville. Digital is so much fun for me.

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