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Liza Paley (IMC20)

Senior Account Manager at Google
Liza Paley

Liza Paley (IMC20) always wanted to work with a community of motivated, successful marketers to help her learn and grow. Recently, she found two—one at Medill, where she is an Integrated Marketing Communications master’s student in Chicago; and another at Google, where she started as a senior account manager in summer 2019. While balancing both, she said she is able to apply what she is learning at Medill, taking data and using it to tell a story.

Tell us about your career path so far.

Upon graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I started my career with Omnicom Media Group working in the media industry. I spent more than four years at OMG agencies, helping advertisers such as Cisco Systems, Porsche and SC Johnson manage their marketing strategies and invest associated budgets. I found my niche in digital marketing during my time there. I was fortunate to move into a role that allowed me to manage and grow major consumer-packaged-goods advertisers’ media investments while leading and learning from incredible colleagues. My time with OMG came to a bittersweet end when I had the incredible opportunity to join Google.

What are your main responsibilities at Google?

I work in the sales organization, specifically focusing on restaurant clients that invest in major partnerships with Google. My role involves representing Google’s many advertising products primarily in the search, display, and video spaces as they relate to my clients’ businesses. My goal day-in and day-out is to ensure that our products are helping my clients meet their business, marketing, media, and campaign objectives.

How do you apply the IMC way of thinking that uses both the art and science of marketing in your job?

A major part of my job involves starting with hard data or numbers and translating that into a story—taking the quantitative and turning it into a qualitative, digestible output. To me, the idea of “storytelling with data” sums up the IMC way of thinking. In my experience, many folks are less interested in the inputs and are more interested in the “so what?”. Knowing how to figure out the “so what” and articulate it is an invaluable skill. 

Why did you decide to pursue your master’s degree and choose Medill IMC?

I’ve always thought that I would pursue a master’s degree at some point in my life, though I wasn’t sure if that would end up being an MBA or JD, which in my mind were always the two most obvious options. I reached a point in my life and career where I was itching to learn more and surround myself with like-minded, driven people. So I did a Google search (precursor…) and came across Medill’s IMC program. I was instantly drawn to the idea of being able to focus specifically on marketing, while still gaining business acumen and continuing to work. The prospect of learning from experienced professors, many of whom still work in marketing, was a major selling point as well.

How has the Northwestern/Medill network helped you in your career?

I cannot speak highly enough about the community that my cohort in the IMC program has built.  The opportunity to be consistently surrounded by (and challenged by) accomplished, ambitious folks that are striving to be their very best is something I do not take for granted. I’ve undoubtedly become a stronger marketer due to the content I’ve been exposed to in class by professors. For me, part of the beauty of being in this program is that we’re bringing together a variety of experiences that lends completely unique points of view. I’ve grown as a marketer as well as a human being because of these different perspectives that I’ve been exposed to, thanks to the IMC program at Medill.  

How did the IMC program help you with your recent job change?

I set up a time to chat through my career aspirations with Associate Professor Jim Lecinski, a former Google executive. I told him how I was going to wait to apply to Google, a company I knew I wanted to work for, until the program was over. He asked me why I was waiting. I didn’t have a good answer, other than that I thought that was what I “should” do. That weekend, I applied. Today, I’m working for the company I set out to work for.

What advice do you have for someone considering the Medill IMC program? 

Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge your classmates and professors have to offer. Schedule time with your professors, and make the effort to get to know your classmates. The network you can build through the Medill IMC program is unparalleled–do not let it pass you by!

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