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What I have gained – and lost (so far) by taking a risk.

About a year ago, I did something really brave -or some would say really stupid. Two days after graduating college with a Bachelor Degree in Marketing Communications, I bought a one-way flight to Phoenix, leaving behind my family, friends, my favorite winter coat and everything I’ve known for the past 21 years. Why? Well, since we are being brutally honest, I left my life behind to be with my (then) boyfriend of five years. We had been together since our senior year of high school and he had recently transferred to Arizona State University, which postponed his graduation to the fall of 2016. At the time, I had the perfect plan; I had it all figured out (at the age of 21, LOL, laugh with me please): I would kick-start my career in Phoenix, he would finish off his last year at ASU, we would settle down, buy a house, get married, own a dog, have kids and live happily ever after— so I’d thought.

A month after moving to Arizona, reality hit me and I found myself very unhappy in my relationship. I decided to put an end to it – I packed my bags and moved out of his apartment. I drove to my cousin’s house in Chandler and sat outside crying on the phone to my parents. My mom was on the other end of the line frantically looking for the next flight back to Washington D.C. As much as I wanted to go back home, I told my mom no. I told my parents that I was going to stick it out and see what this new state had to offer. During this time, I had barely any money saved; I was currently employed but looking for a better job and had no place to live. Luckily, my cousin insisted that I stay with her while until I got back on my feet. I crashed on her couch for three weeks until I had saved enough money for my own apartment. During that time, I struggled finding job opportunities that didn’t include a call center or door-to-door sales. I was interviewing left and right for all the wrong positions. I was beginning to feel discouraged and I was completely regretting not taking my parent’s offer to move back home.

After a month without any luck, I received a phone call from Danielle Feroleto at Small Giants. We chatted for a bit and scheduled a day and time to meet in person. We hit it off and had a great interview, but she said that they were looking for someone with more marketing experience. However, she explained that she knew of a company that I would be a great fit for –  Willmeng. She showed me their marketing advertisements, their proposals and what I would be doing as a Marketing Coordinator if offered the position. At first, I was a little hesitant. I knew nothing about construction –absolutely nothing about the industry. How was I supposed to market something that I had no prior knowledge of? The night before my interview, I looked over every tab, hyperlink and picture from the Willmeng website. I took notes, LOTS of notes. I studied their mission statement, their staff members and their projects trying to figure out what I would be getting myself into.

I felt pretty confident after leaving the interview and I received a call from Krystal Book, Marketing Manager/Executive Assistant at Willmeng, a couple days later, offering the position as their Marketing Coordinator. I think I said yes before I even let her finish asking.

I’ve been working for Willmeng for almost a year now and I have nothing but excellent things to say about the company, the culture of the company and everyone I work with. We truly are one big family. I’ve learned so much about construction and the industry itself working for Willmeng. I was also given the opportunity to join a great mentorship program with SMPS. I’ve met inspiring women and mentors who remind me constantly what I’m working toward. I may not be where I want to be yet, but I know I’m heading in the right direction and it all started from taking a chance at love, watching it fail and later transforming itself into a blessing. There have been so many times where I have asked myself, why am I here? Why did I ever leave home?  But, then I look around and see all the friends I’ve made, how much independence I’ve gained, the great job I have and I remind myself – Oh, that’s why.

As Albert Einstein once said, “The person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”   I couldn’t agree with him more. Life is all about trial and error. Take a chance, make some mistakes and watch all the things you will gain and lose (for the better) because of it.

 


Lizette Naranjo
Marketing Coordinator,
 Willmeng Construction, Inc.

An inspiring marketing guru in the making, Lizette Naranjo is an East coast girl living the post-grad life in the West. Being just a baby in the A/E/C industry, she enjoys being outdoors, doing yoga, playing and watching sports (football and college basketball, especially) and spending time with friends. 

 

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