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Somerville Academy Review with Molly Lermon

Feb 19, 2020

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Faced with a career she didn’t love and the responsibility of being a single mom, Molly worked hard and dug deep to find the strength she needed to finish our Digital Marketing program and move forward in a new and rewarding career. This Somerville Academy review by graduate Molly Lermon tells about her time here and her experience after graduation.

Molly, what were you doing before you entered Somerville’s program? What changes were you hoping to make in your career that caused you to enroll?

I have a degree in Business but while working found out I really liked the marketing side. When I joined Somerville Academy I was in the banking world. There was another student in my cohort also in banking and we bonded on how it stifled our creativity and how customers tended to be so cranky. I was there a little over 3 yrs and started looking for schools after the first year. The things I thought I wanted to do required 4 years of college and so much debt just to get out and not make much more than I already was. I’m a single mom so I couldn’t imagine going back to school for 4 years. I was trying to find where I could go as a single mom and allow me to still work [while enrolled]. I didn’t want to just move laterally, to move to another bank. When I found Somerville Academy I realized it was what I was looking for. Online, evening sessions, and once I had my discovery call I felt heard, understood, and encouraged. Plus it was only 4 – 5 months of my time from start to finish.

When I found out what the tuition was I applied for a scholarship. I was told I qualified for one. The universe provided me with a way to make it work so I was able to afford it.

When did you graduate from Somerville’s Digital Marketing program?

I graduated in December 2019.

After you graduated what did your job search process look like?

I hit my job search very hard. In December, right after graduating, I was applying. I wanted to see what was out there. I knew I could work remotely but maybe not right out of the gate. My goal was to leave the bank by February. I puffed up my LinkedIn and hit every job board I could.

I spoke with my cohort a lot on Slack. We discussed different interview questions, pay negotiations, and how to write the resume. Our TA, April Wu, was also so helpful. She would highlight things we learned in a way that made sense to me. Even now, 6 months after graduating, they are all so helpful.

I didn’t change up my resume every single time because I was applying so much. About 20 applications a day. I just kept going. I got a lot of phone interviews, a few in-person, and felt a bit discouraged. Then I realized during every interview, even if on the phone, I was perfecting my answers and reminding myself about all the things I learned.

I received the interview for my current role the week the corona shutdown happened. It ended up being 2 phone interviews. It was a bit slow-paced because that’s their work culture so while the interviews started in March, I actually started in my new role on May 5.

Did Somerville prepare you well for the job search process?

I was very encouraged. Katie Jeanes always said, “you can do hard things”. I thought that many things I learned were known by everyone but realized that wasn’t true. So having that base knowledge was a good thing. I did feel my experience didn’t prepare me for e-commerce as well as others but we weren’t able to go into it as much during my cohort.

How long did it take before you found your current position?

It was about 5 months.

What is your current position/title?

I’m the Marketing Manager over 3 Senior Living Communities. My main roles are budget management and implementation and a lot of PR and outreach.

What did you learn at Somerville that is most valuable in your current role?

A couple of things mixed together. That base knowledge of digital marketing and the community partner program. That real-life application which gave me confidence and encouragement was very helpful.

What advice would you give women looking to change their careers or go into tech?

I think it’s a smart move. Women second guess themselves a lot and think “I wish I could do that”. This is a smart industry to be in so this could be a type of reward. Women are good at things and can do hard things.

You’ll learn your specific job on the job, like everywhere. I didn’t know how to bank until I had a banking role. The women who want to enter this will be the ones who are smart, are looking, and can learn on the job quickly. So many of the women I’ve met in this field came from other professional backgrounds.

Marketing is a very important part of business, especially in the digital world now. A business can’t succeed without it. If your gut says this is something you want, go for it. This program gives you a good base foundation to build on. Every day I’m gaining more experience to go on to the bigger thing. Digital Marketing really is needed.

What are your key takeaways from all the experiences you’ve gained?

Being in that group of women was very encouraging. It didn’t feel like a competition. It felt like we were a team going for the same goal. I gained confidence but also a sense of pride in what I do. Now I feel a sense of placement in what I do. I overcame a hurdle when I realized I didn’t need to have years of experience to get a job.

When I started the program I was at level 0, no experience in this at all, so the program’s base foundation was perfect. I was lost in the beginning and, truthfully, I did feel anger but when I calmed down I realized I would get there and I did.

You can do hard things

Molly Lermon is a testament to strength and commitment. She knows that any woman can do whatever they set their mind to. It was an honor to hear about how she continued to work for what she wanted until she reached her goal of graduating, all while taking on her family responsibilities and working full-time. Molly is another example of how women run the world.

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