Alumni Spotlight | Alysha DeMarsh, Production Designer

By Alysha DeMarsh April 24, 2017

Get to know Alysha DeMarsh, a Digital Marketing Alumni from Toronto. Learn about how the course has influenced her day-to-day work, and how it prepped her to take on new and exciting challenges.

What were you doing before the course? i.e. were you in school, if you were working at a company what were you doing.

I’m the Production Designer at, a startup that works exclusively with business consultants to improve workplace effectiveness through better relationships and shifted behaviour. I’m essentially an in-house Graphic Designer (minus the house – we’re a virtual company) with a really big to-do list of things that need sprucing up.

What prior experience (if any) did you have in the course material taught?

My responsibilities as the Production Designer include creating social media graphics, assembling email campaigns, and designing landing pages. The experience I had in Digital Marketing before taking the course was limited to the projects I was involved with, and I learned by shamelessly asking my team a million questions and Googling terms I didn’t understand. When it came to SEO and Google Analytics, however, I had exactly zero experience, because at the time we weren’t using either.

How did you hear about the course?

Mary Young posted about a BrainStation workshop she was leading called Grow Your Brand on Instagram. I used her discount code to sign up, hoping to learn a few tricks to make my dog insta-famous. (Shameless plug: check him out – you won’t regret it.) I took about a thousand notes and felt really excited about what I learned while I was there, so when I went home that night I researched what else BrainStation had to offer. I came across the Digital Marketing course, and started writing a proposal right away.

Why did you decide to enroll in the course?

In November, after attending the annual Actionable work retreat and feeling inspired to make a greater contribution to my team, I started looking for something I could do in Toronto that would allow me to learn new skills that were applicable to my responsibilities as the Production Designer. The great thing about working for Actionable is that we value the creation of a learning culture, and we’re encouraged to embed learning into our day-to-day activities within the company. Based on the course package, I knew the Digital Marketing program would offer me exactly what I was looking for in order to fulfill that component of my role.

What were your feelings going into the course? Excited? Nervous? What were you most excited to learn?

I’ve always loved learning, and attending our work retreat in November reminded me of that. The lively discussions we had were exciting, and I walked away knowing so much more than I did the week before. I was really looking forward to learning, and feeling excited about it, every week in class.

That being said, since my company was paying for me to take the course, I was nervous that it wouldn’t be as worthwhile as I’d anticipated. I also felt really bold for asking my employer to invest in me as a new employee – I actually wrote the words “please don’t fire me” in my proposal – so I felt anxious to make a return on the investment they’d made in me.

What was your favourite part of the course?

My favourite part of the course was actually not a part of the course itself, but something that I was able to do as a result: Teach my team about SEO and Growth Hacking. I created presentations for both, and set up meetings for people to drop in if they were interested. I received so much support and enthusiasm from everyone who attended, and was able to inspire two creative and constructive conversations as a result. I’ve never been very confident with public speaking, so I felt really proud of myself for successfully stepping out of my comfort zone and sharing something new and valuable with my team (although that fact that we are virtual made it a little easier).

What job did you land coming out of the course, or how has it impacted your current role?

I recently wrote a blog post about how the taking the Digital Marketing course has helped expand my role to include digital strategy. I’m able to answer questions and provide feedback using Google Analytics, build keyword lists with our Content team to improve the performance of our blog posts, and generally make a more valuable contribution to our marketing efforts. We’ve recently been encouraged to rethink of our roles within the company as a pie chart, and spend 70% of our time working on core responsibilities, and the other 30% on projects that align with our development goals. I can now spend my 30% implementing a lot of what I’ve learned from the Digital Marketing course, and hopefully inspiring more creative conversations along the way.