As we continue celebrating Women’s History Month, I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Misty Ahmadi, a young marketing professional based in San Francisco. Misty is the Director of Social Media, SEO, and Product Management for Hearst Bay Area. She leads the Social Media Productization for the San Francisco Chronicle. Misty and I met serendipitously last year while at Create & Cultivate in San Francisco. It seems only right that two young ambitious women would meet through a women’s conference such as Create & Cultivate.
Misty discussed her career in Marketing, her experiences being a young professional in the Bay Area, and some of the “hot topics” in the marketing field which includes SEO and brand management. She highlights the need for brands to always keep their customers at the forefront of their business. Misty has her own marketing LLC that she runs on the side, Hey There Marketing, which she launched last year as a side business to her full time role at Hearst Media. Misty is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Texas A&M. I am pleased to share our conversation on Rosy BVM.
Bianca: You are currently the Director of Social Media, SEO, and Product at Hearst Media. What do you find most energizing about your role in this capacity? It sounds like you are a conduit between many entities.
Misty: This role is one of the most unique ones I’ve taken on! It’s a hybrid between strategy, product, corporate planning, management, and sales education, so no two days are alike.
I love helping others succeed, this comes from my background as a teacher. And I can do this no matter whom I’m working with – clients, strategists, sellers, or other corporate teams. The path to success isn’t always clear, so helping my team come up with innovative strategies for our clients and how to combat push back from them helps my team become better at their roles and gain skills they can continue to leverage… even if it takes extra time on their end! I also help other social teams grow across Hearst and the cross collaboration from those opportunities is unbelievable. I love when we get to learn from one another because we’ve created a safe space to ask questions, test, and learn.
Bianca: SEO, otherwise known as search engine optimization, is such a huge topic of discussion for people these days across all sectors. What are your thoughts about it?
Misty: Every good marketer should have a basic understanding of SEO. It helps make your writing and content planning so much more powerful and measurable. I think it’s a topic people are scared about because it takes time to do well and the progress and impact isn’t always linear. So if you want to stand out and be more well rounded, learn SEO.
If you want to learn about SEO, start out with Moz. Try it out when building your own website too!
Bianca: You received your undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley and your Master’s in Marketing from Texas A&M! What drove you to pursue a Master’s in Marketing?
Misty: While I pursued my undergraduate degree in psychology and education at UC Berkeley, I also was interested in taking marketing classes as well. Since my original intention was to be a teacher, the marketing classes were my “fun” subject classes. After teaching in Japan for a couple of years, I realized that I could see more of a career, long term, in marketing. I started to research courses, certificates, and jobs in marketing and decided that for me, the best option would be to get a masters degree in order to catch me up on the subject of marketing and offer the opportunity for marketing-related internships. I also looked at the cost of getting a masters and my earning potential upon completion of the program. Getting scholarships, paid positions on campus, and picking a university in a low cost of living area really helped keep my graduate program costs low and allowed me to get what I thought was a good ROI on my education investment!
Bianca: I love to see when other young women pursue a “side hustle.” How long have you been working to develop your LLC, Hey There Marketing? What do you hope to do with it in the future?
Misty: I made my LLC less than a year ago when an opportunity arose to do a short term consulting gig. The gig ended up falling through, but it pushed me to think about how I’d brand myself as a marketing consultant and to start to seriously think about the type of work I’d like to take on.
In the future I’d like to be able to take on more clients looking to ensure that their content and social media strategies are truly customer-centric.
Bianca: Being a young female professional in the Bay Area has its own set of challenges, what inspires you to continue boldly doing the work that you do?
Misty: I like to use my personal social media time for positivity and inspiration. By following accounts like Create & Cultivate, Ladies Get Paid, and Makers Women, I love to see stories of other women rising above and taking ownership of their space.
I also hope to one day have children of my own and I want them to be raised in a world where someone can take on any role they want – visible representation matters so much.
Bianca: Since your work is at the intersection of multi-channel social management, content creation, and brand management, what would you say is the most important part to maintaining consistent messaging for a brand?
Misty: I would say the most important part to maintaining consistent messaging for a brand is to ensure that you’re keeping your customer at the top of your mind. For someone new to branding, is it easy to understand what you’re talking about? Is it relatable content to both new and old customers? It’s a lot to handle, but firm brand guidelines can help make it possible.
Bianca: What is your favorite part about living in the Bay Area?
Misty: I love how it’s possible to find your community, no matter your interest. And of course I have to say my CALIFORNIA Golden Bears!
Thank you, Misty, it’s been a pleasure learning about your experiences in marketing and how women can work to support other women!