Nov 18

7 Questions with Catherine Iszard

7 Questions with a Spartan

BS in Business Administration ’18
Associate Business Development and Marketing Coordinator, NERA Economic Consulting

1. What do you love most about your job?

I love the diversity in tasks and responsibilities I have in my job. Every day I work on different projects. From planning a small client dinner to researching competitors to posting social media content: the end goal is creating business opportunities for our consultants, but every day is different. I enjoy the practice area I work in: intellectual property and life sciences. Not only understanding the content I am marketing but also finding it interesting is sometimes rare. I am now starting to travel for work for the various events and conferences, which is exciting in that my colleagues trust me and it fulfills my travel passion. Although I think everything probably says this, I thoroughly enjoy learning and working with my marketing colleagues and our economists. I feel honored to work with such intelligent experts.

2. What’s exciting about the future of your industry/position?

What’s exciting about the future of the industry is that the nuances are changing daily. For example, right now our judicial system is dealing with the question of who owns our data and what patent damages are being caused. Who owns the data that is on our medical devices, like a Fitbit or sleep machine? Can this data be sold to marketing companies to then target patients to buy a certain drug based on data found on their medical device? Laws aren’t in place for the technologies that we are producing so it is very interesting trying to understand and keep up-to-date with the economics and legal impacts of high tech.

In terms of my business development and marketing position, I will be taking on new responsibilities in the new year, such as monthly webinars for the intellectual property practice. 2020 is looking to be an even busier year for us in the marketing department so we are excited but also gearing up and planning now to ensure success in the first quarter.

3. What do you personally find most challenging as a professional.

In the first 6 months of my job, the hardest part of being a professional was understanding the balance of getting tasks done to just get them done vs. understanding every task is important and completing every task as if I were submitting it to the president. I am a to-do list person and I thrive off of checking off a task on my to-do list, but I learned very quickly the value of quality and the skill of proofreading my work (once or twice). Although time is important, quality and making sure the content is right is way more valued.

Now, being over a year in my job, the most challenging part as a professional is balancing work and life. I now live in the District and so I am enjoying more of the city with my group of friends. I am a part of a few professional organizations and living in a city there is always something to do every night. I love being social so I want to go and be a part of everything but for me work is my priority. I want to work hard and have fun but there is a balance, and I am trying to figure that out.

4. What is something you wish you had done in college to prepare for this position?

My internships and being a part of Student Government Association really prepared me in ways I didn’t expect, like thinking on my feet, sending agendas prior to meetings, or even emailing professionals. Knowing how to email professionals, knowing the ends and outs of Microsoft Office products, and being a fast learner really prepared me for the first few weeks and months. It’s the small things (like knowing how to email someone) that you don’t think of during college and you aren’t graded on, but that you do constantly after college, that really makes the difference if you have experience.

In college I took the free Google Analytics and Google Adwords certification programs that really helped me for my role as well. I wish I wrote more in my spare time. The reason I say this is because one of the best ways to become a better writer (for social media, in emails, in briefs, etc.) is to write more and to read more.

5. What additional trainings, certifications, professional organization membership, etc. have helped you?

Currently, I am a part of the Legal Marketing Association which is a great professional organization for marketing professionals in the legal industry. I am helping post social media for the regional conference to gain more experience and to network with DC professionals.

I am on the student advisory board of the Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honorary Society. We meet every over month to discuss new business and how to ensure we are advocating for the next generations of future leaders.

In my spare time I listen to free webinars on digital marketing through LinkedIn learning or Hubspot to keep up to date on trends and new research.

6. What should students interested in entering your field know?

For students interested in marketing and social media don’t be afraid of broadening your scope of industries; that’s the beauty of this profession, you can use your skills in any industry. When I graduated, I was only applying for social media jobs at agencies and I realized after rounds and rounds of interviews this isn’t what I wanted. I decided to broaden my job search scope to just marketing and that’s how I landed in business development and marketing at an economic firm. Although maybe not what I started out searching for, it turns out that I love it! Sometimes you have to take that leap of faith; any experience is an experience in my book.

7. What resources (books, blogs, websites, podcasts, etc.) would you recommend for someone interested in your field or a position like yours?

General:

  • General website about an entrepreneur and resources on personality test, books, etc. – https://www.kristenhadeed.com/
  • Book about how to live our best life in our 20s – The Defining Decade by Meg Jay
  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • Book about the solution to some work issues is being more confident in ourselves – The Confidence Effect by Grace Killelea.
  • Podcast about different jobs people have – Working Podcast
  • Any Dave Ramsey book – living in DC you have to be on a budget because everything is expensive so you learn quickly how to budget, savings account, etc. but I learned a lot from Dave Ramsey.

Marketing:

  • The CMO Podcast
  • https://www.hubspot.com/resources/video-marketing
  • Goal Digger Podcast (marketing and general life motivation)
Catherine’s UNCG pride is on display at her desk!