If you think you’re a master of everything you need to know about HubSpot, think again. Melissa Obleada ’13 is an Emerson alum currently working as a Diversity & Inclusion Program Manager in Boston. Being a fairly recent alum, Melissa’s story of how she found her place at HubSpot is one that illustrates just how dedicated Emerson students are in finding a solid career that aligns with both their professional and personal values.
I recently had the chance to speak with Melissa over email to talk about her time at Emerson as well as what she enjoys the most about working at one of the most impressive brands in the marketing sector.
What was it that originally drew you to Emerson College?
“I did a lot of research [before choosing a school to go to]. For me, that meant going through an entire Princeton Review book of the top colleges and universities in North America. I had no less than thirty schools bookmarked, but there were certain things I was sure that I wanted: to be in a city, to be surrounded by creative, quirky people, and to be at a school that was liberal and LGBTQ+ friendly.”
What was your experience like at Emerson?
“Like most Emerson students, I was always going. I worked on campus with a section of the Admissions Team, I interned at Hostelling International and 451 Marketing, and participated in EMcomm, The Emerson Channel, em Magazine/@SoEmerson, the American Marketing Association, EIV, and was Editor-in-Chief of The Black Swan at Kasteel Well. I also joined Zeta Phi Eta my junior year. (Yes, we have Greek life. No, I never thought I’d be in a frat.)”
Was there ever one defining moment you had while you were in school?
“Spending my sophomore year spring at Kasteel Well in the Netherlands was a time when I grew up a lot. Being abroad, and learning how to travel on my own, manage my budget, all while seeing many different European cultures was eye-opening. I learned so much from the professors at the castle – everything from a non-US-centered view of twentieth-century history to diaspora in Dutch literature to Renaissance art. It was an amazing opportunity to step outside of my East Coast bubble and take in as much as I could of other peoples’ perspectives.”
What were your first steps after graduation?
“Well, immediately after graduating, I went on a two-week trip to Asia with my mom. 10 out of 10, would recommend Siem Reap in Cambodia to a friend. But after that, I took it easy and picked up more shifts at my retail job for a few weeks. Okay, for a few months. (0 out of 10, do not recommend to a friend.)…
My good friend from Emerson was working fulltime at HubSpot at the time – his internship turned into a job – and he let me know of a design internship on their public relations team. Once I got in the door at HubSpot, I knew I’d do whatever it took to stay there. (I’m biased, but it’s a cool company.) My internship got extended once and then twice, and I eventually got a fulltime offer to do employer branding on our Culture team.”
What excites you the most about working with HubSpot?
“TBH, I can’t choose just one thing. I love that we’re a marketing and sales software platform, so a lot of what I learned in my marketing courses at Emerson applies to what we as an organization do. I love that this is a company that has a lot of great benefits, like unlimited vacation and tuition reimbursement. I love that this company is fast-paced, and I work with really brilliant people at all levels of the organization.
In terms of my actual job, I love that the Culture Team focuses on employee and candidate experience. While different teams look externally to market our product, serve our customers, or find new ones, I know exactly who I am working for and with in my role: my colleagues globally. In my role as Diversity & Inclusion Program Manager, I am taking my experience as a queer Asian woman and thinking about how we can make HubSpot a more inclusive place for all folks.”
What does your day to day look like?
“It’s never the same. My team does a myriad of things, and I help out with everything from planning companywide events to giving tours to new hires to speaking on panels to judging mobile app pitches from middle schoolers learning about opportunities in STEM.
Since my role now is focused on Diversity & Inclusion, I work with our employee resource groups (ERGs) to put together events and programming that helps underrepresented communities succeed both at HubSpot as well as in the local community. In the past I’ve brought in speakers to talk about empathy, assembled a panel of LGBTQ+ individuals to talk about their experiences being out at work, and brought in local experts in the diversity space to provide tips that others can apply to their own jobs and companies.”
Do you have any advice for current students?
“Do all the things. Use the people and resources at Emerson to explore your interests and passions. Take classes seriously, but also invest time into learning outside of the classroom. Learn from as many folks and opportunities as you can, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.”