Headshot of Verna De Jesus superimposed over a hazy image of two women in business attire
Verna De Jesus '04: The importance of mentorship
Nov 30, 2021, by Staff Writer
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Verna De Jesus '04 is a marketing executive with experience at some of the world's top technology and sports companies. She's traveled and lived around the globe and invested her skills in nonprofits devoted to DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), youth sports and character & confidence building. She credits Bryant's hands-on education and professional network for laying a solid foundation for her career success. 

I've been both lucky and deliberate in finding fantastic mentors, but I've always made sure to pay it forward and be a mentor to others myself.

One professor in particular, Elaine Notarantonio, Ph.D., '75, P'04 provided her an unparalleled learning experience. De Jesus was a member of marketing case study competition and presented to top executives at Cadillac. "We worked collaboratively to solve a real marketing problem," recalls De Jesus. "It was an amazing experience." 

Equally valuable were the internships and connections De Jesus made through Bryant's Amica Center for Career Education. It was contact with a Bryant alumnus at ESPN that started her network and launched her career. 

"I credit so much of everything I've been able to accomplish to having good people in my life," says De Jesus. 

For seven years, De Jesus followed her passion in sports marketing - moving from ESPN to the Red Sox to Octagon, a sports marketing agency. 

When a mentor from ESPN moved to The Wall Street Journal, De Jesus joined him to develop the media giant's new business-to-consumer and sports focus. 
With a carefully calculated move to Yahoo - once again the result of a candid conversation with a mentor - De Jesus jumped into the tech industry. Her ultimate goal was to work for a top-tier tech company, and within a year, she was recruited by Amazon for their newly established media business.

After eight years at Amazon, De Jesus took a brief sabbatical to travel, re-energize and volunteer. Today she leads Global Video and AR Solutions at social media company Snap, Inc.

Reflecting on the path she's taken, De Jesus notes, "I've been both lucky and deliberate in finding fantastic mentors, but I've always made sure to pay it forward and be a mentor to others myself. I also push my mentees to do the same, creating a domino effect of inclusion and impact." 

"Having advocates and allies, especially early in your career, can accelerate one's career trajectory. When I think about my journey, I was fortunate to have advocates and allies at every step." 

Her advice for today's graduates: "Take the business concepts you learned at Bryant and apply them. Tutor at a school, help a nonprofit, etc. You'll end up not only doing good, but you can network, learn and scale your impact as well."  

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