Team News: My Promotion to Senior Digital Marketing Strategist

digital marketing strategistWhen I first joined the KWSM team in 2019 as a Content Editor, I was motivated to learn as much as possible about digital marketing and ways to best serve my new clients. However, I was also struggling greatly with imposter syndrome and timidity at work. Now, as a Senior Digital Marketing Strategist almost four years later, I hold so much more confidence in my skill set, my personality, and what I bring to the table overall.


This newfound confidence didn’t just switch on overnight, it took years of stretching my comfort zone, diving into new challenges head-first, and believing that I had a trustworthy team to back me up. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest contributors to my growth at KWSM.


My Journey to Becoming A Senior Digital Marketing Strategist


KWSM’s Mentorship Program Showdown

During my first week on the KWSM team, I was encouraged to participate in the agency’s first-ever Mentorship Program where two team members (a mentor and a mentee) pair up to deep-dive into a specific digital marketing skill. I was paired with Jeff Soto, KWSM’s VP of Strategy & Client Relations. Together, we spent 12 weeks examining the elements that make a compelling press release and creating a slideshow to present to the team.


KWSMTo provide some context, I had never written a press release before, and the thought of presenting my work and speaking to all of my new teammates was something I dreaded (we can thank my social anxiety for that one). But, I knew that growth and greatness existed outside of my comfort zone, so I pressed forward and stuck it out.


Jeff ended up being a fantastic mentor, showing me the ropes of PR and also providing encouragement when he could tell nerves were getting the better of me. 


In the end, much to my surprise, Jeff and I ended up winning the showdown! This is one of the first memories I have at the agency where I thought, “Maybe I’m more capable than I thought… maybe this doesn’t have to be so intimidating.”



KWSM’s Leadership Program

Fast forward to August 2020, almost a full year into my tenure at the agency, when it was announced that I would be one of the next four individuals to take part in our KWSM Leadership Program. This semi-annual, 12-week curriculum is led by KWSM President and CEO Katie Wagner, and it is designed to develop the leadership skills of KWSM team members by analyzing their natural leadership strengths and challenging their comfort zones with new growth opportunities.


digital marketing strategistAt the start of this program, I was still battling my insecurities at work daily – getting nervous before client calls and any situation where I had to present information to my team. I was open with Katie and the other women in my Leadership Program class about this, and it became my personal goal to overcome this self-doubt and carry confidence with each workplace interaction. 


While the entire curriculum was eye-opening, one of the biggest contributors to my success was the vision statement Katie instructed us to write in our very first session. This statement declared who I wanted to be as a leader, but instead of writing “I will be…,” we were told to write in the present tense – “I am…”


Then, we would read our statements out loud every day for the remaining 12 weeks.


“I am confident in my ability… I demonstrate the attributes of a strong leader… My clients trust me…” – it was incredible how much of an impact saying these declarations out loud each day had on my psyche. I had so much more belief in myself, my communication with clients noticeably improved, I was speaking up more in internal meetings to share my opinions, and I was making bolder decisions with confidence. 


This vision statement practice and other workshops from the Leadership Program gave me the tools I needed to set a new trajectory, and I have continued to develop those skills ever since. Now, I look like a completely different marketer than when I started – one who is sure of herself and gets excited to contribute to every conversation, one who leads her team members and clients with self-assurance.


You can read more about my time in the KWSM Leadership Program and my full vision statement here


KWSM’s Checklist For Promotion

One of the things I love about KWSM’s leadership team is how much they encouraged me to pursue this promotion. With our work being so collaborative, they were able to see my work in action and provide me with helpful feedback that made me a better leader, mentor, account manager, and Digital Marketing Strategist overall. Each one of them believed that I had the potential to earn a Senior title, and they were eager to help me cross that finish line in any way they could.


My manager and KWSM’s Director of Accounts Taylor Lizura was particularly helpful, providing me with a checklist of skills I could strengthen and ways I could better demonstrate the agency’s seven core values. Each week during our 1-1 meeting, Taylor and I checked in on where I stood with those action items, making it very clear what I needed to accomplish.


After a few months of tenaciously pursuing growth in those areas and continuing to take good care of my clients, I officially earned my new title!


What The Promotion to Senior Digital Marketing Strategist Means to Me

This next step in my career certainly represents a celebration of my tenure with KWSM. I feel incredibly fortunate to work for an agency that notices and rewards loyalty, hard work, and commitment to growth. To me, it speaks volumes about how much our team values each other and wants to see our colleagues succeed.


It also represents how much Katie, Taylor, Jeff, and the entire KWSM team have invested in me since my very first week on the job. They saw the timid girl who blushed every time she had to speak up, and they chose to see her potential, provide helpful feedback, and offer their expertise at every opportunity. My success now is greatly attributed to this team who helped me along the way.


Last, and certainly not least, this promotion makes me proud of myself. It would have been much easier for me to turn down growth opportunities because I was afraid and instead pursue a job that allowed me to stay in my comfort zone, but I chose to do the hard thing, and it has more than paid off. 


I still surprise myself when I volunteer for meetings and new challenges – opportunities that used to riddle me with anxiety now excite me. I am confidently doing things that Meredith from 3-4 years ago would have never believed I could (or willingly would) do. I can’t wait to see how much more I grow in the next chapter!



Ready to be part of a team that invests in you?

We want to work with people who have a growth mindset, are passionate about digital marketing, and are excited to be a part of our team. If that sounds like you, we might just be the work-family you’re looking for!

CLICK HERE to learn more about joining KWSM.



Meredith Ashburn