Meet Leslie Dill, Marketing and Business Development Coordinator at The University of Texas at Austin and Social Media Chair // Board Member at Austin Women in Technology (AWT). Read more below on Leslie’s day to day and how she became a leading lady in the marketing and technology realms.
Q: How did you end up as a leader in the Marketing (and Technology) Industry? Briefly, what has your career journey looked like?
A: I started working for Under Armour as a corporate brand ambassador immediately after my college graduation in 2016. Passionate about sports marketing, I figured I’d be with UA for at least 10 years, but I found myself moving to Austin to work for a local sports nutrition company, getting promoted from marketing coordinator to commercialization coordinator in less than two years. COVID19 came for my time with Nutrabolt, but I quickly found an opportunity to be a Business Development Manager with tech company, Bazaarvoice. I’ve now added burnt orange to my resume, taking a Marketing & Business Development position with UT’s Human Dimensions of Organizations program. If I’ve learned anything in my career thus far, it’s the importance of adaptability and taking on new challenges head on.
Q: Who // what inspires you most? Is there a quote you “live by”? Are there any mentors that have helped you get where you are today?
A: Creativity, in its many forms, inspires me. I enjoy reading about how others built their business or pursued their passions that became full time careers. I’m also very lucky to have been surrounded by inspirational men and women throughout my life who have served as both my mentors and support systems in my school years and career. The most impactful mentors I’ve had include my sister, Kathryn, college advisor, Dr. Matt Seevers, whom I still keep in touch with and my fellow board members at Austin Women in Tech.
Kathryn is a journalist, and while our careers look very different, she’s always given me very valuable advice when it comes to having a successful and ambitious career strategy. Having a mentor who’s known me from my literal moment of birth adds a new layer of perspective to everyday projects and challenges. Starting my first day as a freshman at Creighton University, Dr. Seevers was not only my advisor on record, he turned out to be a mentor to me for the past ten years. He coached me through my business curriculum, internship opportunities and now offers thoughtful insights when I’m planning my next move or goal. Lastly, joining Austin Women in Tech has added so much value to my life and career. To be surrounded by such motivational, supportive and smart women is something for which I’m very grateful.
If I HAD TO live by just one quote (as there are too many good ones to choose from), it would be this: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game” –Babe Ruth. I started out my career interning in baseball, and I’ve found the sport such a beautiful metaphor for life and work. The most successful players have struck out far more times than they’ve hit home runs, but it’s important to remember that we don’t see everyone’s strike outs. Often times, we only see their hits and home runs.
Q: What is an accomplishment you are most proud of?
A: I’m proudest of two things. First, moving to Texas, sight unseen when I was 22. When I’m having a particularly bad day and get too self-critical, I remind myself that as a shiny new college grad, I moved to a city and state I had never visited with no safety net of friends and no guarantees that it would work out. Nearly six years later, I’ve moved deeper into the Lone Star state and have made friends that are now family to me. Secondly, when I was still somewhat new at Nutrabolt, I pitched a brand activation opportunity to both the CMO and VP of Sales: the Men’s College World Series, a venue they hadn’t previously considered and an untapped audience. Not only was the week-long activation a huge success, but the company gained numerous Midwest account contracts as a result. Finding the courage to make my voice heard in a room with “C-suite” executives and key decision-makers early in my career taught me to push past any hesitance or insecurities in the workplace.
Q: What advice would you give to young women looking to start a career in the industry? What skills do you find most helpful in this career?
A: I hear a lot of mentors telling young women to “say yes to absolutely every opportunity or ask that comes along,” and my advice would be a variation. Take opportunities to learn outside of what your role or career path looks like, and even take on a task or project that no one else wants to do. It always reflects well on you when you volunteer for the less-than-glamorous project, but in the end it will also gain you trust and goodwill with your coworkers. I have made it a point at every company I’ve worked at to really get to know people outside my immediate scope of work. Introducing yourself to someone in a department you don’t really interact with can come in handy when a unique project comes up or something’s “hit the fan” and no one knows who to ask or consult. The most important skills young women can always be working on are adaptability, broadening their horizons through networking and improving their existing skillsets.
Q: What does digital transformation mean to you and/ or your organization? What advances or trends in technology are you most excited about? Is there one piece of technology you can’t live without?
A: Digital transformation is the constant pursuit of reaching and relating to new audiences through various communication techniques. My team and I strategize reaching new audiences through thought-provoking web content and social media engagement. I’m really excited about all the new platforms and outlets from which people can learn! There are so many resources for professional development, from LinkedIn Learning and Ted Talks, to online classes and certificate programs. It’s not only made learning more exciting and accessible, but it allows professionals to continue to pursue excellence when the commitment of entering a demanding and challenging graduate degree program isn’t ideal.
Q: What do you see as the biggest, most pressing issue for women in our industry? How can women (or allies) help other women advance within our industry?
A: There are so many pressing issues for women in our industry these days. It’s hard to admit that we are still constantly trying to prove ourselves and justify our rightful seats at the table. Women and allies can help other women advance by being true advocates not only for themselves, but for others. It isn’t enough to just stick up for yourself – you have to support and encourage others as well. Some of the most seemingly vocal and supportive people you run into in the workplace are oftentimes only in it for their own advancement. Everyone has goals and deals with pressures. Just remember that if you preach support and advancement for women and allies, practice it! If you hear of a great job or project opportunity, send it to a friend or a coworker. Helping and supporting others in whatever way possible should be as important as your own personal growth.