Our final Women’s History Month worker spotlight is Alex McKenna! McKenna is a fourth-year Marketing major, with a minor in Digital Marketing. She is from New York City, New York, and she currently works on the Marketing Team for the Leahy Center. Her other experiences outside of this position include work with the Champlain Marketing Department, the Clemmons Family Farm, Books Ireland, and Champlain’s Office of International Education.
What made you choose to major within the business field?
I came into college as a Business Administration major, but during an introductory marketing course I realized how much of marketing is learning about different people, and that’s something I strive to do in my personal life. So, bringing together something that interests me with a career field was almost like a perfect match.
Are there any females in business that you look up to?
I’ve actually only had women as my bosses at all of my positions before the Leahy Center, so I’d have to say all of them! They are all amazing people and inspiring to me within marketing—definitely role models that I hope to emulate one day.
What was your first experience with your major?
At Champlain, actually! The class that inspired me to switch to marketing was Marketing & The Organizational Mindset, and the live-client project I did with Northern Stage Theatre in White River Junction, VT.
What are the pros and cons of being a woman in business?
It really depends on the area you’re going into, and how male-dominated the place you’re working is. The higher-up positions for bigger companies are still almost entirely male, which makes it harder for women to reach that level. Also, there are still instances where I get talked over, interrupted, or assumed to be the note-taker instead of taken seriously. But the pros are that interpersonal relationships between coworkers become stronger bonds and therefore more effective teams, and that there’s more honest and effective communication between myself and other women I work with.
What advice would you give to younger women who are interested in getting into Marketing/Business?
I’d definitely suggest simply trying it out! What I’ve learned is that until you try something new, you’re not going to be sure whether or not you enjoy it. That was the main reason I started college with a pretty adaptable major and then found something more specific that fit my personality and interests better.
Why is it important to have women in business?
For marketing specifically, it has been pretty well proven that older (typically white) men don’t really understand much about women as a target audience. So the most obvious way to fix this is having women’s opinions on how to market something to their own demographic. However, women are also statistically more attuned to people’s attitudes and emotions than men—and when they are in leadership positions their employees are more likely to be happier and more productive due to the increase in understanding.
What would you like to achieve in the marketing field in the future?
I definitely have goals to be in a leadership role within my field so that I can bring in more diverse perspectives and provide opportunities for people and women of color who are usually underrepresented in many business settings and decisions. Additionally, I aim to use my work to shift marketing away from the “sex sells” narrative for products that have nothing to do with sex. The concept has been around for too long and generally sexualizes female bodies, which then translates into violence and discrimination against women.