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Derrica McCullers '99, Marketing

Derrica McCullers ’99 attended Fordham University, where she majored in communications and journalism with the dream of becoming a writer. After graduation, she got a job at TIME Inc., in the Business Department of “Sports Illustrated for Kids.” There, she had the opportunity to work with the marketing department. She soon realized that marketing would allow her to write and be creative, but from a different side of the business. Today, she is the marketing director for Salon Media Group, based in New York City.

While working at NBCUniversal, I started looking for an opportunity to work with a smaller group. The marketing director position at Salon felt like a safe space to grow as a director. While I knew that I’d be involved in various aspects of Salon’s business, I’ve been surprised by just how applicable all of my skills and experience have been across the entire business — down to working with the editor-in-chief on strategic planning.

I started to see the shift to digital happen during my time at Entertainment Weekly/EW.com. It became very clear that if I did not maximize my digital exposure I would become antiquated. Throughout my career, I’ve tried to align myself with brands and people who are innovating and trying to get ahead of what’s next. For example, one of the key themes impacting media today is original content creation. This is something that I’m very focused on at Salon. I’ve already had the opportunity to work with brands like Showtime and Cadillac to develop original videos and articles for their content strategies.

One of the biggest challenges in this job is originality. An often heard and sometimes over-used term in marketing is “never been done before.” Clients and agencies want completely original ideas, so it can be challenging when you’re working on two or three different client proposals, and all of them have to fit the Salon brand, the client’s brand and seem completely fresh and customized. You constantly have to expand your creativity and push yourself to think bigger.

My time at Bryn Mawr gave me strong writing and researching skills, which I use constantly. But I think the greatest takeaway was the well-rounded experience. Being exposed to such a wide range of topics, dialogue, thought and personalities helped make me into an outgoing individual and prepare me for the work I am doing today. At Bryn Mawr, I didn’t just learn, I learned how to be a critical thinker. The diverse education and dialectic skills have helped me in everything from my first college courses to evaluating proposals and negotiating with clients.

Being at Bryn Mawr was truly a unique experience, and as much as I loved my history and English classes, or Gym Drill, or senior convocation speeches, it was the people I did all of these things with that fill my memories. I’m still in touch with a lot of my classmates, and those relationships impact my life on a day-to-day basis.