For Melissa Turqman, age has no significance in terms of how fast she rises in her career. At 27 years old, she is already a Vice President of Digital Advertising at magazine publisher Modern Luxury, overseeing 24 markets across the country in the most affluent communities of America.
She started out in college majoring in marketing and graphic design, but quickly learned the power of understanding a business inside and out. “I had a proclivity for new business development, entrepreneurship and digital advertising vehicles,” she said.
Out of college, Melissa joined the team at Whip It Media, where her first project was in the tough automotive category. She found her niche in “building and really understanding a project from concept to fruition.” She credits that first project as the genesis for her love of digital advertising – where she first learned how to help clients, as well as what goes into projects, the costs and benefits associated with building the program and how it compares to competitors.
She graduated in the digital boom and describes it as a little like the Wild West, with its constant changes. “I might create a product today and people try to create the same identical thing tomorrow, or I might create a product that is not relevant in a few months because of a new technology…It’s a constant learning curve.”
To stay sharp, Melissa likes to get her hands dirty. She dives into the backend of Facebook and Google Ads to learn about the functionality.
This past January, she joined the team at Modern Luxury as the VP of Digital Advertising. She spearheads all things digital. “It’s everything from training to product development to enhancing the print and complementary programs,” she says.
In her first eight months on the job, they generated $2 million worth of revenue. Her favorite part of her job is her full autonomy to “be able to understand and develop products that make sense for Modern Luxury and within a high-end luxury retail business.”
She also appreciates the management’s open view that, despite her young age, she can still bring a lot to the table with her experience, drive and passion for the industry.
“If I could use this as a platform to be able to speak to the younger generation and people finding success at a young age, I’d say that it’s really important that you never use age as an excuse, you have as much value as anyone else,” she says. “You can feel confident if you put the work in, understand the craft and work hard, that’s your ability to garner success.”
She says it is unfortunate that there is a belief that experience only comes from age. There are many things younger and older people can bring to the table. However, she also dislikes the stereotype that millennials are entitled and lazy.
“You need to work really hard,” she says. “You don’t just get things because of your age or because you’ve been in the company long enough. It’s about understanding, being a team player and really knowing that you don’t just talk, you act; you don’t just say, you show; you don’t promise, you prove.”
Kirsten is the Social Media and Blog Editor at the News Media Alliance.