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mardi 27 septembre 2016

Career Spotlight: MSc in Marketing & Creativity alumna Ana Marcela Suclla

On Transitioning from a Corporate to NGO Environment and Working on Social Good Campaigns

Like many of our MSc in Marketing & Creativity alumni, Ana Marcela Suclla (Class of 2013) chose to steer away from the more typical corporare marketing jobs. Ana's passion for managing for impact in rural development - and her desire to effect true global change through her career - is worthy of note. Read on to see how her experience at ESCP Europe shaped her unique career path.

What is your current position?
I'm currently working as an Executive Director at the Fundación Custer in Peru. The organisation funds the Aprendamos Juntos Project, whose mission is to provide children with the tools for a successful learning process and to empower them during their first two years of school education.

Currently, only three out of ten students have the educational level matching their grade in urban zones; this rate tends to get more critical in rural zones. Only 30% of students in the second grade have the educational level that corresponds to the second grade - the rest of the population has the educational level of the first grade, or less. This situation is a consequence of diverse factors, from a low level of familial education leading to uninspiring environments and high rates of domestic violence, to a lack of efficiency of the public education system.

In Aprendamos Juntos we focus our programme in the first two (and most important) years of education around three main axes: Learning empowerment, family and mentors.

What was your position before starting at ESCP Europe?
I was a Product Manager at EF Education First. It's a company also related to education, which sells innovative immersive language programmes abroad.

Please tell me a bit about your career path since graduating the MSc in Marketing & Creativity, and explain What made you realise that you wanted to steer away from big corporations?
While studying for the MSc in Marketing & Creativity, I participated in two projects which definitely had an impact on me, despite being unaware of it at that time. Those projects were both related to developing sustainable strategies for NGOs: one was Wikirate and the other was Marketing For Change.

Right after graduating from ESCP Europe, I fulfilled my stage or master's internship at Carlson Wagonlit Headquarters for EMEA in Paris, as an International Project Manager JR. There, I supported the prospecting strategy and the elaboration of proposals for our clients.

After this, I returned to Peru where I soon began working in the private sector, again selling services. After a while working as a Business Unit Manager for a real estate company, I got involved on a campaign with the civil association called Enseña Peru, supporting their fundraising strategies to achieve their mission. The experience was incredibly gratifying, and it was at that point that I realised I wanted to work for organisations which delivered a true impact in our global community. I also knew that didn't want to transfer to a CSR department of big corporate company, which felt too much like a compromise. I wanted to make changes from the grassroots levels.

What made you realise that you wanted to steer away from big corporations?
After three eye-opening years of experience on both the NGO and the corporate side, I realised I wanted to actually be a part of bringing about the change. It became clear to me that working in NGOs and startups was where I fit in; not only because these tend to be flexible environments where there is a real opportunity to apply creativity at work, but also because the mission in these types of companies is key to every action taken. You can really sense a high level of engagement among the teams, and people choose these careers because of their passion for the work.

What drives you at work?
Believing in what I do and truly identifying with the organisation's mission. This is the most important driver for me. I am now able to say I love my job!

How has your experience on the corporate side helped you in your current role at an NGO?
The experience I obtained in sales on the corporate side has given me a commercial edge, which makes me stand out in my current environment. For example, I'm good at setting a clear structure towards achieving goals.

In the end, it all comes to achieving results and these are easier to accomplish when you are truly committed to the organisation's mission. I've created synergy between my experience on the corporate side, NGOs and startups by integrating the best practices learned at each step.

Is there a campaign you were involved with that you are particularly proud of?
When I was at the real estate company, I worked on a campaign called Community Heroes. It consisted of selecting one NGO and developing several fundraising strategies to empower their mission and simultaneously position the real estate company I was working at as a socially responsible one.

The NGO I selected was Enseña Peru. We engaged with our clients through different activities to convey the NGO's mission. We also organised volunteer activities with our internal team to make them feel committed to Enseña Peru's mission and let this transpire to our clients. This experience was the trigger that made me realise what my passion truly was.

Talk to me about your passion for travel. How has it stimulated your creative juices? How do you see yourself incorporating travel into your career?
Travel is one of my biggest passions. Getting to know people from different cultures and places and discovering unique ways of doing things is on my mind every day. This is directly related to thinking outside the box, something I learned to do during my time with ESCP Europe.

In the future, I'd love to create a project related to travel and sustainable practices, especially in emerging markets, as I come from one. Contributing to organisations related to travel is something I'm looking for now as a start.

What advice would you give to yourself just after graduating from the MSc in Marketing & Creativity?
I think I had to go through all I went through to find out what really motivates me. It takes time. People can give you advice, but at the end of the day you are the only one who can discover your true passion. So follow your own path and don't worry about being like everyone else: sooner or later you will find what really drives you.

Whom do you consider to be your influencers?
I like a good documentary related to sensitive topics such as environmental sustainability, the influence of large corporations, and education. The most recent one I watched was 'Requiem For The American Dream' by Noam Chomsky - I would say he is one of my influencers. There is another one called 'La Educación Prohibida' ('The Forbidden Education') directed by Germán Doin.

How did the content of the MSc in Marketing & Creativity help you in your career?
The professional experiences I obtained abroad were thanks to the programme. I had the unique opportunity to work for Carlson and Wikirate, and to contribute to the creation of Marketing For Change. But beyond the content of the course, it was truly the experiences that shaped me, including an intensive lessons in tolerance and PR from being in a class with so many different visions and opinions from around the globe. The MSc in Marketing & Creativity provided me with valuable and rewarding professional experiences which made me realise what really drives me today.

Feeling enthused by Ana's career? To follow in her footsteps, check out ESCP Europe and its Marketing & Creativity programmes:

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