How Hand Sanitizer Led Me to A Career in Marketing


What good is a great idea or product if no one knows you have it?

It is frustrating to see ideas and brands you support fail due to misguided or subpar marketing. I want to help companies effectively share their stories and reach the success they deserve. The ability to weave powerful and compelling messages will make me a linchpin to companies and give me a successful personal brand. This is the reason I put my current job on hold to join the technical marketing track at the Startup Institute Boston (SIB).

I was drawn to SIB because of its focus on experiential learning and its influential mentor group of local innovators and founders in the startup community I admire. Past relationships like these shaped me into an aspiring social innovator and have encouraged me to inspire change in others. This was easier as a mentor to at-risk kids in college but was a struggle when it came to connecting with people across a conference room table in the working world.

When I worked in the Infection Control and Emergency Management departments at a large healthcare facility, support for my initiatives like hand hygiene sputtered even after multiple usability tests and months of meetings. What was missing? Projects passed to the next stage with a nod of approval from the necessary committees, but their assent was not a guarantee of support from the front-line staff, the ones who needed to change their daily routine for a project to succeed. I was appealing to committees but they were not my target audience.

Changing minds seemed easier in more intimate settings. In my next job as a fitness specialist on the Harvard Business School campus, personal connections bred success in one-on-one meetings. Students, faculty, administrators, and executives were much more receptive to professionals like me who would relay the most relevant information in a field as notoriously complex as health and wellness. This approach was more successful because I received direct and immediate feedback from my customers. But all communications cannot be one-on-one.

The question I have asked myself is, ‘How can I scale this emotional connection into the millions?’ I am not alone in this. The way companies engage with customers is changing. Books like The Thank You Economy document this shift in focus to building continuous relationships forged through trust, reciprocity, and user experience. These are the skills I will cultivate with my peers and mentors at the Startup Institute Boston and throughout my career.