Tell us a little about yourself
Born and raised in Southern California, I was always curious to learn new things in the beautiful sunshine state. I went through college trying a diverse group of part-time jobs. Because I figured, “why not learn some of the most common things I interact with in life,” I worked at the Cheesecake Factory, Express, and Continental Airlines– shopping, travel, and food.
I graduated from CSULB almost ten years ago. I didn’t know I wanted to major in business. I sort of fell into it after changing majors from architecture. Currently, I am a product manager at Netflix.
Out of college, I knew I wanted to be in the entertainment industry. For this, I put a lot of emphasis in my early career learning a broad overview of business and not containing myself to one direction. Meaning I took positions in many different verticals of a business – human resources, legal (TV, film, new media), marketing, and now I’m on the technology side.
During those trials and tribulations, I also focused on areas outside of the entertainment industry. I studied emergency medicine and became a certified EMT, became involved in non-profit and volunteer work, mentoring underprivileged teens, and helping my local community.
Fast forward to current time, I developed a strong bond with two co-workers – Anna Pulido and Jamal Fahim and we started a small production company, The Othersiders Entertainment with the goal of producing our own content. It is a perfect fit given we all specialize or have experience in different areas of the entertainment industry.
I believe all this has helped me be define who I am and help me be successful in my career. It’s important to have an understanding of how other teams, industries, and departments work.
What are you doing professionally?
I am a product manager at Netflix working on multiple internal applications to assist in building Netflix Studio. In my experience as a PM, and from my past diverse work experience, I have been able to work on many applications at Netflix (music, finance, marketing, legal, people & talent (HR), etc.) and been able to quickly understand the business partners domain and their needs. In addition, this role requires me to think strategically and leverage some of that entrepreneurial spirit in making decisions and doing what is best for the business/company.
Describe a typical workday.
A typical day consists of working and communicating cross-functionally across multiple teams – engineering, product, design, and business partners, whether that is through meetings (in-person, video meetings with co-workers in one of our other global offices), emails, or chat channels. Documentation, effective communication and alignment, is the name of the game – whether product requirements, product vision, goals, roadmap, tracking metrics, or diagrams on whiteboards.
Do you belong to any professional organizations/volunteer for organizations?
I do not belong to a specific organization but when my schedule allows, I do volunteer within my community. I am a very passionate and active lender through Kiva.
This year, I have also volunteered as a mentor with the CSULB Alumni Association. The program has allowed me to give back to a younger generation, while also teaching me new things. My two mentees have been diligent learners. I’m grateful to lend an ear or advise.
In addition, I career mentor other individuals (currently 4) to help guide and aide them through their beginning phases of a career. This is something I’ve rather grown to enjoy…
What is the best thing about working for the company and doing what you do?
There are many things I love about working for Netflix and what I’m doing. At the top of the list are the stunning colleagues that I’m fortunate enough to work with. I feel like I’m consistently learning from my peers or managers. Mix in the unique culture at Netflix, with its freedom & responsibility policy, transparency, and candid communication environment, I have the support and freedom to be successful with my role.
What professional advice do you have for those interested in your field ?
My advice would be to gain as much experience as you can in the beginning of your career. That is the time to be risky, try different roles and figure out what you are passionate about.
The rule I live by, be strategic - do not think that every opportunity is a good opportunity.
Phrased another way:
what advice would you give a current student interested in your field? Internships, entry-level roles - don't be scared of them. Reach out to your networking community - see if they have mentorship program. Take a class if you want to learn new skills for a role you feel is out of reach. A lot of people believe your job describes your worth. It doesn't.
Have you met any Beach Alumni in the Bay Area?
I’ve discovered at least 1 or 2 other CSULB alumni here through conversation and it is always a joyful moment when that happens and to reflect on our “GO Beach” days.
What is one of your favorite memories from CSULB?
I’d have to say the camaraderie and diverse group of students. I remember study groups together, college campus events. And the many times I slept during breaks in the parking structure to stay refreshed.
Oh, also, I had Prof. Dennis Laurie as a teacher for management 101...I think that was the class…and once you have him as a teacher, you are prepared for the real world.
Who was your favorite professor or favorite class?
This can go one of two ways. Favorite professor now – as mentioned – Dennis Laurie. Favorite class at the time--was not his in any way. Tough teacher at the time but memorable in the shaping of my college life.
How do you stay connected with your alma mater?
Through the alumni network - emails, LinkedIn, Mentoring.
Why did you join the Alumni Association?
Being proud of where I went to college. It was a simple choice. College is a big part of your life.