Award Recipients’ Insights: Vanessa Francone and Taking Risks

Vanessa is the 2015-2016 recipient of the Outstanding Professional Development Award from the Ryerson Career Centre

If you would have told me two years ago that I’d be working for the number three startup incubator in the world, I would have thought you were lying. Back then, I didn’t even know what a startup was, let alone that 80 of them were working from a space at Ryerson University. My role as Social Media Marketing Assistant at the DMZ has opened up so many opportunities for me both personally and professionally, and to win this award adds even more value to my DMZ work experience.

At my job, I learned a lot about the role that social media plays in a company’s marketing strategy. My skill set now includes social media best practices, and an understanding of how to use different tools and platforms. I’m confident in using social media as a marketing tool to communicate a company’s messaging. My supervisors always highlighted both the things I did well and the things I could work on, guiding me to success — even with projects outside of my job description.

I’ve been in the same role since I started at the DMZ; however, I have volunteered to assist other teams, giving me the chance to get to know most people in the space. This was crucial to me making contacts and building networks; through these, I’ve been able to pick up freelance work. I have also gained mentors who can advise me on future decisions related to my career — I graduate very, very soon!

When I initially applied for the role, I did not feel qualified at all, but I am so happy I took the chance. My advice to fellow students would be to take risks and apply for everything that interests you, even if you don’t think you have the skills or experience. Putting yourself out there is important, and it’s what really helped me succeed!