“I never saw myself doing what I’m doing today,” says Marissa Wilson, Marketing Manager at 21Ninety and Blavity, “But I always had this feeling that I didn’t want to do anything normal. I didn’t want a normal job or a normal life.”
Typical jobs never appealed to Marissa when she was growing up or even through college. She did, however, have things in mind that she knew she liked and knew she was good at. And for her career path, she just chased those things.
“Ultimately, I pushed myself to take risks. I encourage people to have that mindset, don’t listen too much to other people.”
Her day-to-day role with Blavity means she’s checking in on what’s happening on the social channels and makes sure everything is getting out to Facebook, Instagram, etc. and that the comments are going smoothly. But more specifically, she works with the influencers and creators in the Blavity and 21Ninety communities. She helps them to figure out how they can leverage their own platforms to promote their work and collaborate with the team to create great content.
“In many ways, I’m a first-responder for the brand on the social side, as well as internally with our creators,” she says.
On Paving Her Way
In college, Marissa got her degree in psychology but knew that she didn’t want to go the traditional route (therapist, counselor), but that she definitely wanted to work with people. She had more interest in her extracurriculars than her school work. On campus, she was putting on events and marketing them and doing service activities.
“I was in every organization possible. I was looking for a way to combine that and psychology and my love of people.”
A mentor of hers suggested PR, and a month after she graduated college, she moved to L.A., had an internship at a fashion PR firm and later went to a music PR firm.
About three years later, she got to a point where it felt like traditional PR was lacking.
“I was watching the digital world go crazy and saw where that industry was going,” she says, “I felt that for my career, I needed to be more multidimensional. There were about eight months where I quit my full-time job to take design classes, all kinds of marketing webinars and any one-day strategy courses I could afford. Around then, I stumbled on Blavity on Twitter and saw they were looking for marketing and growth hacking interns. I started with that, and nearly two years later, I've fully transitioned into the marketing world.”
On Building Communities
Beyond the community she helps cultivate of Blavity’s network of influencers and creators, Marissa coordinates community in her free time as well.
“Outside of work I do a monthly event series called More Juice that’s basically a non-traditional networking event,” she says, “Young creative people come to meet each other and drink unlimited juice (our special punch mix).
Marissa manages to squeeze in time for friends by inviting them to More Juice every month.
“It serves multiple purposes because the friends I have from different events and spaces can all come together,” she says.
“And then if someone hits me up and invites me to happy hour or something, I’ll say yes,” she says, “I don’t necessarily turn down a turn-up. I think it’s all about balance. I use my google calendar for everything, it keeps me super organized and focused so I know I’m getting everything done and so I can make time for the rest.”
On “Me” Time
Marissa loves to cook, so she’ll save videos on Facebook and go home and remake them. She also loves to relax in bed and binge-watch TV shows, such as Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, Chewing Gum, Shameless, and her all time favorite, Being Mary Jane.
She takes note of what she needs to stay mentally balanced and happy, and she makes time for those low-key activities by planning.
“I never used to plan anything,” she says, “I never used to plan my meals, schedule or even make a to-do list. I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off and always wondered why nothing was getting done, but it was because I wasn’t making a plan or putting things on a calendar.”
I need to get up and have mornings to myself, so I know I need to go to bed at a decent time. On a higher level, I know I need to have financial freedom, so I try really hard to watch how I spend my money and hold myself accountable by physically writing things down.”
On Having Productive Routines
“Every morning my body automatically wakes up between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m.,” she says, “Sometimes I struggle with the snooze button, but on my best days I can indulge in ‘me’ time. I love L.A. mornings when it’s brisk outside. I love to walk around my house while it’s still dark out and read up on things.”
Marissa is very spiritual, so in the mornings she’ll drink some Tazo Wake Me Up English Breakfast Tea with fresh lemon and mint and watch videos or listen to podcasts from the digitally-savvy church she attends. She watches every single sermon, and they keep her mentally strong. She’ll also tap into some of her group chats to share spiritual messages, book recommendations and more, depending on the group. These conversations go on throughout the day and can add light and wisdom to her daily routine.
“I have a group who is super into personal development, which in my eyes is another kind of spirituality,” Marissa says, “We share tips on discipline, time management and more. Those are my friends who are super 'get money' focused. But then I can connect with my home girls from way back and share memes, joke about our crazy times together and just have fun all day. Having different types of friend groups is helpful when it comes to self-care. When I’m not thinking about something, they are — which is helpful.”
After her time to reflect and wake up, Marissa will get ready for the day. That includes her skincare routine, which consists of a Bolden face line with toner, cleanser and a shea oil moisturizer. Taking care of her skin has become a priority as she gets older.
She also loves to use Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castille Soap, as she says it’s refreshing and feels so good, especially in the morning.
But unless she’s got a big event or meeting, she won’t wear makeup on a daily basis.
Once she gets to work, she continues to sip on warm tea and has a hearty, veggie-heavy lunch to stay fueled throughout the day. Then, she has to be listening to something. Sometimes it’s music or podcasts, and every day she listens to the Breakfast Club when she’s doing mundane tasks like updating spreadsheets. If she starts to feel tired or unmotivated, a quick walk around the block in fresh air can serve as motivation.
“When I get home, I pretty much crash,” Marissa says, “It takes me like an hour or so to get home, so by the time I do, I go straight to the kitchen to attempt to make something I found on the internet. I might talk on the phone, get on FaceTime or read a book, but I’m pretty much just lounging around and prepping for the next day if there’s nothing else on my calendar.”