1. Tell us about your role and what does it entail?
I’m what’s referred to as our Voice of the Consumer. I work in Nintendo’s marketing department alongside web producers, graphic designers, copy writers, and web developers that create the digital experiences that you may interact with on a daily basis (Nintendo.com, Nintendo eShop). My job is to ensure that Nintendo is delivering the best experience possible to you; our consumers. I do this by keeping a pulse on how our consumers are feeling (their sentiment) and what consumers are doing on our sites (their behavior). Using this data, I provide recommendations back to Nintendo on what our next move should be to keep improving our brand.
2. What’s your background and how did it lead you to what you’re currently doing?
I graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. My journey started off being admitted into the College of Engineering, but often times as a freshman in college, you have moments of doubt, insecurity, curiosity, and even more as you get adjusted to your new life over the next four+ years. Although I decided to change the course of my education, it was through the college of engineering that I discovered the intersection between technology, design, and the understanding of people (sociology). I worked hard the next couple of years figuring out how could I take my interest in this new world of understanding societal norms and behaviors, and combine that with my love for math at the time. That led me to finding a path in statistics and data analytics. The lesson learned was that it’s ok to change your mind – highlight your strengths, acknowledge your weaknesses, and move forward.
From there I worked hard, applied for jobs, attended career fairs, and landed a job with a Customer Experience technology company via their college recruiting program. During my first corporate experience 3 weeks out of school, I was able to learn a few key things. 1) Learn as much as you can. Find some mentors that are invested in your growth. 2) Fail fast, and fail forward. You’re going to mess up at one point or another, but learn those lessons quickly. When I say fail forward, I mean that I hope you are trying new things to better yourself, and that it’s ok to mess up on those occasions too. 3) Your future is an entire string of “nows”. What you’re doing now and on a daily basis is a foundation and reflection of your future and what’s to come. Set yourself up for success.
These lessons helped me get to where am I today and I’m still practicing them today.
3. What advice would you give our teens about, getting into your industry?
The number one piece of advice I’d give is more of a clarification – you do NOT have to create video games to work for Nintendo or any other company in the gaming industry. We need accountants, lawyers, animation designers, sound engineers, human resources, and any other occupation that one would need to successfully operate a company. It takes an incredible accumulation of talent to make this company and industry what it is today. Expand your thinking to see how you can be valuable to a company. Find your gift and nourish it over time.
4. What is the most fun thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is seeing the smile on peoples’ face when I say “I work for Nintendo”. The jaw-dropping and eye-widening reactions never get old!
5. Did you have someone in your life growing up that provided you the support and inspiration?
Growing up I had a few people that I looked up to as role models throughout different stages of my life. However looking back, my mother was the driving consistent force of who I’ve become. Being a single parent was tough, but she ensured I was at every scholarly event, every track meet, applied for every scholarship, and informed who I am as a man. She’s a superhero; and now I look up to her.
6. Can you share something about yourself that isn’t well known?
I was one of the marketing models for the Nintendo Switch (our latest console), so you may see me in ads on Nintendo.com, YouTube, and at local retailers such as Best Buy, Target, and Wal-Mart.
7. Can you share something about yourself that isn’t well known?
Recently I had the opportunity to witness President Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey share the same stage at a conference, and I’d like to share a couple words of wisdom from these powerful leaders. They were both challenged to discuss “breakthrough experiences” that they’ve had in their careers.
“People fall into the trap of thinking because they’re the leader, that they have to have all of the answers. Your job is to surround yourself with the right people who have the answers to challenges you may face. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge that you’re probably not the smartest person in the room.”
“Change the paradigm of your thinking to say ‘how can I make this greater than myself?’… Your legacy is every life you touch.”
“Your purpose here is to fully be yourself. Not your version… of someone else’s version… of who you are or are meant to be”