Name: Jessalin Lam

Major at Baruch College: BBA Marketing/Advertising
Graduation Year: 2010
School within Baruch College: Zicklin School Of Business
Company and Title: Director, Precision Marketing Academy, Nissan United at TBWA\Worldwide

1. Tell us about your company and your role as Director.

Nissan United is the world’s most creative automotive precision marketing team managed by Omnicom to direct all marketing and communications globally for Nissan. Nissan United develops global marketing efforts on behalf of Nissan and oversees and drives the work and output of the agencies from dozens of countries around the globe where Nissans are sold. The leadership team includes experts in the areas of long term brand strategy, investment and media, promotion, partnership, creative and content, digital, design, public relations and product placement. It is an innovative new model that is dedicated to helping Nissan grow its brand value around the world more effectively and efficiently. 

I joined the the Nissan United global team in May for this new role leading the Nissan United Precision Marketing Academy. The purpose of the role is to educate cross-functional Nissan teams around the world to be the most creative precision marketers by creating curriculum focused on a series of precision marketing modules and developing engaging learning experiences that will drive innovative thinking, knowledge sharing, and collaboration across the global Nissan network.

2. What drives you in your current profession?

I have always been a lifelong learner focused on growing myself and when I stumbled upon the opportunity to pivot my career into learning and development when I worked at Hyper Island, it truly opened my world knowing that I was able to help others seize their potential, improve their leadership skills, and be their best selves through a growth mindset. According to the 2019 LinkedIn Learning Workplace Learning Report, talent development professionals are now able to shift focus to have an even bigger impact on the business. This is an exciting opportunity to be in learning & development as employers are starting to look at talent development professionals to support the business in strategic workforce planning.

3. What were some unique challenges you faced throughout your professional career and how did you overcome them?

Throughout my career, I have faced racism, toxic workplaces, bullying, gender and salary gaps to share a few examples. It has been frustrating to find an employer who truly cares about their people to do the right thing. To overcome these kinds of challenges, I have learned to stand up for myself, voice my opinion, create a personal board of directors and positive network to have my back, and know my worth to quit a job when it is not a healthy work environment. Life is too short to be wasting time in a place that does not value you and you cannot learn in. I have practiced resilience to stay strong throughout obstacles and there is a Japanese proverb, "Fall seven times and stand up eight" to remind us all to keep going towards your dreams without giving up. In addition to mentors who supported me throughout my career journey, I am always reading new self-help and business books as resources and knowledge to absorb. The current book I am reading is called “No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work” by: Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy and I love it so far. The book mentions how emotions affect health, motivation, decision-making, teamwork, communication, culture and leadership. We need to learn how to better understand our feelings and match how to communicate our feelings to specific situations.  

4. How was your experience at Baruch like? How did Baruch impact your life and career?

My experiences at Baruch provided me with a transformative, positive impact on my personal growth as a college student and decisions for my career. The moment I became more active in the student club organizations at Baruch, these are the memories that shaped my leadership experience early on in my life. When I was provided the opportunity to become the President of Baruch City Advertising Society, college chapter of American Advertising Federation during my junior year, every member of the club were seniors and I was left with no one else in the student club. It allowed me to use my people skills to recruit friends and classmates to join and creative thinking on how to rebuild and shape it into how I envisioned the student club to be beneficial for marketing/advertising students. It was an enjoyable time to grow and learn through these memories from collaborating with other student organizations, gaining sponsorships from agencies and the Zicklin School of Business to planning networking events with 200+ attendees and facilitating marketing competitions to gain real-world experience.

5. What is one of your favorite memories you have from your time at Baruch?

It is more who is one of my many favorite people during my time at Baruch. Her name is Ingrid Tineo from Baruch’s STARR Career Development Center. I was introduced to her when I became a student club leader and she connected me to an alumnus who became the first mentor I have ever had for my professional growth. It has changed my life to always seek for mentors ever since and create my own personal board of directors to turn to for career advice. I had frequent visits to STARR Career Development Center to collaborate with Ingrid and anyone who cross paths with her is lucky to know her. She gave me the opportunity to organize company visits to agencies, lead marketing related events hosted at Baruch, and was a continued resource throughout my entire college years. I am forever grateful for her bigheartedness and she has left an impression in my life that will never be forgotten for my memories at Baruch.

6. Do you have any advice for current Baruch students and alumni who are interested in pursuing a career in Marketing?

Know your unique selling point and the value you bring to the table for the role you are looking for. Especially if you want to be in marketing, you need to master personal branding and telling your own story for how you would be an asset. Make sure you keep up with industry trends to be forward-thinking and know how you can be a problem-solver throughout your career.

7. What are your top 3 tips for students/alumni to help kick start their careers?

• Look for Mentorship: Whether it is through a formal program or networking, I highly recommend you to proactively look for professionals related to your career who you can learn from and ask questions to better understand their career journey. A successful mentor will teach you skills, knowledge, and expertise to benefit your career development and they can help you with your career goals. Once you gain more mentors in your career, add them to your personal board of directors to serve as a confidential sounding board to help you with career decisions. 

• Improve Your Communications Skills: Think about how you can take your communication skills to the next level as soft skills are increasingly becoming more important than ever to connect with people. Successful communication includes verbal, nonverbal, aural, written, and visual. 

• Engage in Lifelong Learning: It is important to always be learning and Carol Dweck coined the term of “growth mindset” to encourage people to believe their talents can be developed through hard work and dedication. When you have a love of learning, you will accomplish more in your life to constantly push yourself outside your comfort zone to grow.

8. How can people contact you?

[email protected]