This article is part of our "Employee Spotlight" series where we speak to and highlight some of the wonderful people who make up the exceptional teams at Wayfair.
Meet Zhana Edmonds. Zhana joined Wayfair in 2019, and as a senior marketing manager, she is focused on driving customer growth for Wayfair and our specialty retail brands, including Joss & Main, AllModern and Birch Lane. But Zhana wasn’t always a marketing manager, in fact, she didn’t work in marketing at all before Wayfair. Check out our interview with Zhana to hear her story and how she pivoted from one career to the next.
What career experience(s) has(ve) shaped the trajectory of your career and the choices that you've made on your journey?
“What is exciting is that I’m a career switcher. Before Wayfair I spent eight years working as a Corporate Events Manager. In this role, I acted as the hub for all things events and worked closely with internal and external partners. After eight years I wanted a new challenge and decided to pursue my MBA at the Darden School of Business at University of Virginia. While at UVA Darden I connected with Wayfair through alums. Wayfair was looking for someone who could be an excellent problem solver and team builder. My skill set from events was a great fit for the marketing department.”
What is your typical daily routine as a Senior Marketing Manager at Wayfair?
“No day is truly the same, social media is constantly changing. Generally I take a look at how my team is performing against our metrics. Being a manager I like to check in on my team often discussing performance and progress against their projects, checking with all of our stakeholders, and working on strategic priorities—laying out a strategy or kicking off projects. The cool part about my job is that I work directly with senior stakeholders to discuss big picture topics while also getting to roll up my sleeves with the team. I’m brought in on broader decisions and I feel that my opinion is taken seriously at Wayfair.”
What was one of your most challenging professional experiences and what have you learned from it?
“Right out of business school, I started managing a team that was already established. I struggled with understanding how I could add value to an already high performing team. My focus was on being perfect. I had to shift my mindset from perfection to learning, and asking tons of questions. I learned to be honest about what I didn’t know and commit to finding the answer. I’m still working on learning, more specifically with accepting failure as a part of the learning process and working towards improvement. This was a tough growth period for me, as it challenged me professionally and personally, but has paid off as I have continued with my career at Wayfair.”
Why is professional development important to you?
“I associate growth with survival. Being comfortable at work makes me uncomfortable. I get bored doing the same things over and over again. This is where professional development plays a role. My professional development focuses quite a bit on learning to do something new/uncomfortable. That challenge keeps me engaged in my work and adds to my tool kit. Wayfair is definitely a place where I am able to learn and continue to be challenged.”
In addition to your own professional development, you're also a mentor through the Big Sister Boston program. How did you get involved and what has that experience been like for you?
“I sincerely believe in giving back to the community. As I move up I want to always be bringing people along with me. I think this viewpoint is common among Black professionals, as we know that is how we make progress. When Big Sister Boston came to Wayfair, I thought it was a no-brainer. I wanted the chance to help someone along their journey. I was paired with a sophomore in high school who likes designing her own tennis shoes! I honestly act more of a sounding board for her and I think that is what you need at that age!”
What advice do you have for other young professionals seeking to advance in their careers?
“Networking is so important. You can learn to do your job by rolling up your sleeves, but having a strong network is what will propel you forward. Seek out colleagues at all levels to help push you, find colleagues who are a level above you to help you grow, find colleagues who you trust and who challenge you. Also seek out people within professional organizations/trade associations, use conferences and events as a way to meet new people. Wayfair’s robust “coffee chat” culture has enabled me to build a strong internal network. At Wayfair, they believe that networking internally is a key factor of professional success. Make sure your network is diverse and broad. Build real connections with these people. I’ve kept in touch with people throughout my entire career and they’ve provided me with great advice and are always helping me strive for the next level.”
This interview originally ran on Jopwell.com
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