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How to Direct Your Career: A Conversation with Sara Spivey

Posted by Alexis Bonilla on November 28, 2017

Paid reach is great, but we all know that organic reach is a whole lot better. Reviews are the best way to let your customers do the selling for you. Bazaarvoice is a company based in Austin, TX that helps the reviews of your product expand across platforms.

Digital Creative apprentices recently had the opportunity to hear from the brains behind the mission, Bazaarvoice CMO, Sara Spivey. We pulled a few of our favorite topics from our discussion with Sara and summarized them. We just couldn’t keep the wisdom to ourselves!


Digital Creative Institute apprentice Kelly Manalo

Apprentice, Kelly Manalo, facilitating Q&A conversation


In Sara’s career, she came across a few transitional phases that got her to the successful position she is in today. The topic of networking is an important one and Sara had a lot of helpful insights to offer our curious apprentices.

“Be intentional with transition. Don’t run from something, run to something.” -Sara Spivey

If you’re transitioning positions be sure to ask yourself, “What is the end game?” Go into the job hunt with a goal in mind and you will have a much better idea of what you’re looking for. When you figure that out, be sure to do your homework. What are they looking for, and is what they’re looking for what you have? If it is, market yourself. Develop a personal brand and show the employer that you are the person for the job.

Building a brand is helpful in networking, but it is vital in networking for a startup business. One of our apprentices asked about startup networking because, like many others in the room, she hopes for that to be a reality one day.

Sara came up with a few great, practical ideas to offer:

  • Research on LinkedIn for content marketing groups if those are the kind of mentors you’d like to connect with
  • Make a commitment once a month to invest in a relationship that will progress your career.
  • Always make your final question, “Who else do you recommend that I talk to?”

Be prepared to nurture these relationships and always remind people what a great partner your company is. That might just mean asking someone to get coffee or congratulating them on that new job promotion, because although these tasks may be simple, they are a firm foundation for beneficial relationships.

Managing Up

Are you in an entry level position? No problem. There are things you can do to manage up and invest in the future of your career, while making a difference in the place you are in now.

If you have your eyes on a company that you want to grow into, be prepared to understand and invest in its culture and its mission. A great example of this is volunteering at a nonprofit. You’re getting yourself into that world and positioning yourself to understand their mission. “Overall,” Sara said, “it’s just hard work.”

If you’re wanting to move up in a business you’re already working for, be prepared to research. The best way to plan your journey is to talk to the people who did it before you.

  • Find a specific reason to reach out to someone who is currently in a position that looks similar to your goal.
  • Do your research about them and be prepared to ask the right questions.
  • Like we mentioned before, end the conversation with: “Who else should I get in contact with?”

Finally, if you’re wanting to make a change in your current place, be prepared to ask questions. When noticing an issue but lacking the ability to make a change, you always want to approach it in a non-threatening way. Start with “why?” and move forward from there.

  • You: “Why is this the way it is?”
  • Employer: “Why do you ask?”
  • You: “Just seems to me that….”

The benefits of doing this are two-fold. On the first-hand, it helps your employer see that you’re interested in adding value to the company. On the second-hand, it provides you with an avenue to expand your scope in the future.

We just want to thank Sara for her contribution to our apprenticeship experience here at Digital Creative. Generous marketing professionals like Sara are making a huge difference in the careers of our apprentices!


Digital Creative Institute Austin Cohort

Sara Spivey with DCI Apprentices


Topics: Insider