From Germany to Georgia: How Monique Lesser Advanced Her Career

For the last 17 years, Monique Lesser has worked for Evonik, a German specialty chemicals company. Born and raised in Germany, Monique started her career as an Industrial Clerk Apprentice for Evonik, eventually working her way up to Senior Human Resources Manager.

In 2016, Monique accepted a new position as Evonik’s Marketing Manager for Animal Nutrition in North America and relocated to the Atlanta area. She was only planning to stay in Atlanta for four years until she met her husband. “My boss was happy I stayed. My husband was, too!” Monique said.

When Evonik launched an online shop for chemicals, Monique was promoted to Digital Marketing and e-Business Lead Manager. Her primary responsibility in this role was leading efforts to strengthen Evonik’s e-commerce activities and online customer interactions for the Animal Nutrition business in North America. But, despite having studied business at a small private university in Germany, Monique didn’t have an educational background in digital marketing. As a committed lifelong learner, she knew she needed to acquire a wealth of digital marketing knowledge and experience — and wondered where to go for help to excel in this new field.

“I wanted to be challenged and really immerse myself in the world of digital marketing,” Monique said. With that, she enrolled in Georgia Tech Digital Marketing Boot Camp, ready to see what the future had in store.

Learning digital skills in a digital world

When the boot camp started, Monique was hard at work settling into her new role as Evonik’s Digital Marketing and e-Business Lead Manager. She learned the day-to-day routines associated with her new position while simultaneously taking night classes to advance her digital marketing knowledge.

When choosing a program, Monique kept a few important criteria in mind. As someone juggling work and school, she wanted a boot camp that fit into her lifestyle, with classes held a few times per week over the course of several months. Beyond that, she also wanted to learn fundamental marketing strategies alongside learners who shared the same interests and passions — and she wanted to be held accountable for doing great work. Fortunately, she found all that and more with Georgia Tech Digital Marketing Boot Camp.

This wasn’t just Monique’s first time learning remotely, it was also her first educational experience in America. While pursuing her undergraduate business degree in Germany, she studied in small classes which offered plenty of close interactions with her fellow students — an enjoyable experience that influenced her decision to enroll in the boot camp. Monique was able to interact with other learners in a virtual world while gaining valuable information from her instructor and TAs.

“The one-on-one interaction was better than I could have imagined,” she said. “We were all in the same boat. Even though we never saw each other in person, we still learned together and genuinely enjoyed collaborating on assignments.”

Applying marketing concepts

The boot camp’s curriculum covered many fundamental digital marketing concepts and required that learners complete several group projects throughout the course. For one particularly memorable project, Monique and her team created a marketing plan for a fictional nonprofit: Atlanta’s first pet rescue dog and cat cafe.

For another group project, Monique and her team created a loyalty program for Marriott Hotels, as well as several social media ads. “We integrated everything we learned in the boot camp into this project and all projects,” Monique said. “There wasn’t a single unit where we didn’t apply the fundamentals of digital marketing to our projects or homework assignments.”

Working her way up, again

A few months after the boot camp ended, Monique participated in a virtual conference where she met Evonik’s Chief Digital Officer. “Because of the knowledge and confidence I had from the boot camp, I felt comfortable enough to speak with him about the company’s day-to-day business and areas where I thought there was room for improvement.”

Soon after, Monique took over the newly created position as Digital Strategist and representative of Evonik Digital in North America. Today, Monique uses the skills she learned in the boot camp to effectively work with people all over the world and integrate digital assets, raise brand awareness, and collaborate on Evonik’s marketing campaigns.

“What I learned in the boot camp has helped me tremendously in my new role,” Monique said. “From developing long-term marketing strategies, to managing daily interactions, I learned how to improve our day-to-day business.”

Looking to the future

When Monique landed in Atlanta as a marketing manager, she never imagined she would become a digital strategist just a few short years later. But, she wouldn’t have it any other way. “I love my job, and I love my team,” she said.

Monique has always lived by the following words: “Nothing is as constant as change.” And that mantra was exactly the push she needed to enroll in the boot camp. Without change — and the fundamentals she learned in the digital marketing boot camp — she wouldn’t have had the courage to break into a new field.

“The boot camp gave me solid ground to build my skills and advance my career,” said Monique. “I’m excited to see what the future holds for me.”

Looking to advance your career? Check out Georgia Tech Boot Camps in digital marketing, coding, cybersecurity, data analytics, UX/UI, and product management.

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