Driven, forward-thinking, and altruistic, Charlotte Ryland continues to make Pamplin proud as a trailblazer in the marketing field. A graduate of 2012, Charlotte began her career at Oracle and has recently switched to her new role as a Field Marketing Manager at Salesforce. In the interview below Charlotte takes us through her current position at Salesforce, her most valuable experiences as a Virginia Tech Student, as well as her goals for being a member of the Recent Alumni Board.
Could you start by telling us a little bit about your current job and how you got there coming out of Pamplin?
I’ve recently gotten a new job at Salesforce as a junior marketing manager, and that role is exciting and allows me to engage with customers as well as my sales team. It’s called Field Marketing Manager because I align with sales. My clients that I have right now are aligned with the marketing hub so a lot of them are CMOs. What I do is I work with sales to sift out how to market and engage with their customers and the role allows me to work with my sales counterparts. I have three regional vice presidents that I work with and that also really allows me to get to know my customers. So for me that was something I was looking for, something that was more client based. I had a similar role at Oracle but it was a little bit more sales focused, so this position for me gives me branding opportunities. I help them with something called “sales support” so if we have a large customer with a very big deal I basically come up with some branding and creativity to help the sales guys move along the pipe as they’re closing deals. As a field-marketing manager I have a role that is a mix between marketing and branding and sales engagement.
What clubs were you involved in at Virginia Tech?
I had a bunch of different things, I had PRISM which started with Donna and the other co-founder Sandy Bass my junior year. I was in the sorority Tri Delta, and that took up a lot of my time. We did mentoring at Gilbert Linkous Elementary school, it was called Linkous Ladies. I did that for three years and I had the same girl for all three years, which was wonderful. They came from a variety of different places like lower income housing or just maybe not such stable families. I was also a big part of Relay for Life and we incorporated that into PRISM, and then I was a part of the Marketing Honor Society.
Which of those would you say was the most formative in your four year professional career?
It was probably PRISM, it was wonderful and gave me a lot of exposure to what people actually do in the real world. I think Donna does a really nice job of taking what you learn in the classroom and applying it to the first steps in your career. Getting exposure to talking in front of companies, talking to the dean, and when we did our first big PRISM pitch it gave me the confidence I think I needed in order to speak to large sales groups and talk to customers. My role is heavily client facing so a big skill to learn is how to talk to different people in different settings, which is definitely something I learned in PRISM.
Also the mentoring, I still mentor today and I’m a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters in New York and for me that was crucial because when you’re mentoring you realize how much you need one as well. I’ve had three different mentors in my career and it’s always good to have someone to give career advice, and that for me had really helped me shape my career. It helped me jump over to Salesforce and also helped me pick out which job I initially wanted to take out of college.
What are you most looking forward to being on this Recent Alumni Board?
Something I have really become passionate about is technology. I have a lot of marketing experience from school and from what I’ve done the past couple of years, but working at a big tech company has really expanded my knowledge on the Tech industry in general. This is something I would really love to bring to Tech, how to incorporate more technology and computer science into marketing management or whatever venue you choose. I think that Tech does a wonderful job with a lot of different majors but one that they could give students more exposure to is technology in that industry.
Are you on any committees of the board?
Yes, I’m on the outreach committee that is under Lauren Prociv. So what I’m doing is working with her in the group to figure out how to engage with alumni, how to get alumni to engage with Pamplin again. Then also looking at best practices of other successful business schools, figuring out how they engage their alumni with the students and faculty. Our goal is to get more alumni to come back to Tech and help students with their careers, as well as help the business school curriculum that will set students up for success.
Do you have a piece of advice for students, or a piece that has been formative in your career?
I think it would depend on the age group. To freshman, sophomores, I would advise them to think outside of the box. There are a number of wonderful careers presented to students at school, but I think sometimes people forget there are opportunities outside of the norm. I encourage students to mix classes and mix majors and figure out that maybe they have a specialty and a niche that’s not commonly provided to students. I would recommend them to really explore their options and maybe take a path less taken. For me it was the mixture of marketing and technology, and I know other people are creative in different ways and I think they should never be afraid to take classes that challenge them and maybe aren’t as traditional.
To juniors and seniors, I would really encourage them that internships and mentors are crucial. As a junior you really need to start making those firm relationships with mentors from college because they will help them when they are deciding on careers when they graduate. I would remind them of the importance of their internships and how to successfully get an offer at the end of your internship.
Do you have a favorite book or a book that has really impacted your career?
Great question, I recently read one that resonated with me because of my career and it’s “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. For me it really hit home because it talks about women in tech and that’s where I feel my career is going to lead.
How do you like to spend your free time?
So I am a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York and every other weekend I hang out with my little sister. She’s nine and she is probably one of the best things that’s happened to me since I’ve lived in New York. I think it’s always important to remember to not take life too seriously, and so hanging out with my little sister constantly reminds me of that. I love my time with her, her name is Destiny. She lives in the Bronx and we explore New York, I never would have explored the same way if I wasn’t with her. It’s a good reminder that there are other things outside of work that are important and it’s important to take the time to just relax and live life a little a bit.
Charlotte hopes to one day become the CMO of a company and use her Marketing and International Business degrees overseas. She is excited about embarking on an exciting new journey as a member of the RAB, and will continue to inspire current students to reach their highest potential. Follow her on twitter @char_ryland.