February 05, 2024 3 min read

Adriana Salazar Nunez, Marketing Strategist and Brand Ambassador for the CMA, shares her insights on humility, prioritizing your brand, building trust, embracing diversity, and adapting to change.

My Journey

Fresh out of culinary school, where I received my Diploma in Gastronomy and Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu, my marketing journey began in the kitchen of a major hotel chain. When an opportunity arose to participate in events, I gained my first exposure to marketing from the business side. Afterwards, I decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration, majoring in marketing at San Ignacio de Loyola University. 

After graduation, I found a job posting for a Business Analyst position at The Coca-Cola Company bottler. Despite not meeting all the job requirements, I applied, and, to my amazement, I got the job. I enrolled in private Excel and data analysis lessons to prepare. I succeeded thanks to the guidance of my manager and mentor. I transitioned to different positions within the marketing department, including roles such as On-Premises Analyst and Trade Marketing Analyst. I finally landed the Brand Manager and Development Specialist for Emerging Beverages role, where I managed globally recognized brands like Powerade and Monster Energy, among others. 

My Advice 

On my marketing journey, the following factors helped me earn my managers’ trust and the freedom to show what could do: 

  • Can-do attitude: Instead of “I don’t know,” reply with, “I’ll figure it out.”
  • Seek clarification: While you might feel uncomfortable, asking questions before diving into tasks shows your dedication and that you respect your colleagues’ time.
  • Own mistakes: Mistakes should be considered valuable lessons to learn from.
  • Assist others: Help out where you can, and you’ll notice acts of kindness are reciprocated with even more goodwill.
  • Independent: Instead of relying on colleagues, ask them to teach you how to complete specific tasks. This approach helped me learn database mining. 

My Career-Defining Moment 

The pivotal moment that impacted both my career and my mindset was when I transitioned into a new role as a Trade Marketing Analyst. I had to manage budgets totalling millions of dollars and make decisions that had nationwide implications for over 200,000 clients. I was overwhelmed, my fears and stress affected my productivity, and I spent too much time on decisions. My lack of self-confidence was evident, even in how I presented my ideas. 

During a one-on-one meeting, my boss told me something I will never forget: “The only issue I see here is that you don’t allow yourself to recognize your potential.” Those words completely blew my mind. It was a pivotal moment that provided a tremendous boost of motivation. I began working with an entirely new perspective. While imposter syndrome might return occasionally, I’m committed to following my instincts and maintaining a positive attitude.  

My Leap of Faith 

To add value to my career, I took a leap of faith, relocated to a different part of the world and enrolled in two postgraduate marketing programs. The insights I’ve gained include: 

  • Stay humble: Regardless of your experience, keep your ego in check. There’s always something to learn from others, even those with less experience.
  • Prioritize your brand: Your brand is one of your most valuable assets. Make it your top priority, as it will open doors and shape your career. 
  • Build trust: Your word is your bond. If you commit to something, follow through no matter what. Trust is a cornerstone of success in your professional journey. 
  • Actions speak louder: Rather than trying to impress people with words, let your actions do the talking. Meaningful efforts and tangible results leave a lasting impression. 
  • Embrace diversity: Cultivate a 360° view of any situation. Be open to other people’s ideas and perspectives. You’ll be amazed at the creative solutions that can emerge in a safe collaborative space.  
  • Embrace change: When times are good, savour them to the fullest. When faced with challenges, know that they too, shall pass.

My Proudest Moments

My greatest pride comes from the fact that I’ve embraced, explored and seized opportunities when they’ve presented themselves. I see the value in putting myself out there and chasing my ambitions, as well as overcoming my insecurities, and any negative self-doubt. I’ve learned to reflect on my proudest moments and visualize what I want in the future. Embrace new challenges and opportunities with confidence, knowing that even in the face of adversity, you are building a path to personal and professional growth. Remember, the most challenging moments can provide the greatest lessons.

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