Meet Somerville Academy Alumni Gabrielle ChapmanFeb 05, 2020
Elevating Confidence And Skill
Every one of our Somerville Academy graduates holds a special place in our hearts. Each one is proof that women are strong, smart, independent, and fully capable. One such Alumnus is Gabrielle Chapman. She may have graduated a little while ago but she has stayed in touch while transitioning to a marketing role within her company. I was so happy to be able to meet with her recently to chat about how things have gone since she graduated.
Gabrielle, 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 had been doing social work and non-profit work for 10 years. I then transitioned into the private sector with W3ll People, the makeup company. Working at W3ll inspired me to look into digital marketing as a focus. So I researched different career paths to see what was out there.
When did you graduate from Somerville’s Digital Marketing program?
Let’s see, I finished the program and graduated in December 2019.
After you graduated what did your job search process look like?
My cohort was great and stayed in contact throughout the job search process. The coronavirus hit and my company was bought out by E.l.f. cosmetics in March, so it was a crazy scenario.
E.L.F. offered me a position as an IT Consultant but I do product management for the development teams as a scrum master, as well. So I use a combination of the Digital Marketing skills learned at Somerville and my previous experience within the role.
Did Somerville prepare you well for the job search process?
I came back to touch-in with my cohort and Katie Jeanes to help me get through my job search process. Katie was very responsive and supportive. She answered my questions and helped me through.
I think that if I hadn’t had the experience from Somerville, if E.l.f. had offered me a position it would’ve looked different. They may have offered me something but I wouldn’t have felt as confident. I had more confidence in negotiating my role and pay with what I learned from Katie, my cohort, and the lessons.
A lot of the skills I learned at Somerville help in my position now. Things like how to prioritize which project we’re putting first through the business and understanding where they’re coming from with that. A lot is moving online so Digital Marketing is very helpful in understanding all that.
The Community Partner Program helped in how I present things. It helped me to learn how to translate pieces to each other and how to discuss tools with those who may not know what they are and what they do.
How long did it take before you found your current position?
My situation was a little different since my company was bought out and I was offered a position but it took around 6 months until I was put on the new payroll.
What is your current position/title?
I’m officially an IT Consultant with E.L.F. cosmetics but my day to day is scrum master/product owner.
What did you learn at Somerville that is most valuable in your current role?
One thing, I think, is just being aware of how many moving pieces are happening on websites and how very tech-heavy the digital marketing sphere is. To be able to at least understand and speak to the general gist of how things work has helped.
My confidence has increased and I’m able to ask the right questions. Being confident in knowing that I don’t know everything but that I can learn it and to be able to communicate that well to supervisors has been valuable. I always researched well but I don’t think I advocated for myself enough until after going through Somerville’s program.
What advice would you give women looking to change their careers or go into tech?
Do it! I was skeptical it could happen so easily, in such a short amount of time, and without going to a “standard” school and I feel like this was such a great opportunity. Alternate training programs are becoming more of an option in the tech sphere and it’s important to take that leap. I looked at a lot of programs and Somerville Academy was the only one that offered financial help in several ways. If this seems appealing to you then just go for it. I can say this experience shifted my perception of what I could do and be.
What are your key takeaways from all the experiences you’ve gained?
Working with people with actual businesses that varied from each other was a really powerful experience. Realizing that I didn’t have to be a crazy expert to be just far enough ahead to be able to guide someone on the next steps they need. Being a few paces ahead was enough to help guide someone along knowing that I would continue to learn and grow. It was very reassuring to know we were learning things that are truly helpful.
A confidence-boosting experience
Gabrielle Chapman is just one of our many Somerville Academy graduates that we are so proud of. Through experiences with her cohort, instructors, and community partners she has been able to reach a new level in her career. Knowing that she is capable of achieving whatever goals she sets for herself makes her sure to be a leader in her field. We can’t wait to see what other amazing things she’ll do in the future!
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