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Thursday, March 23, 2023

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Jackie Truong (’11) Jackie Truong (’11)

Giving Back

SDSU alumna Jackie Truong says being taught by professors with real-world industry experience helped prepare her for a career in business and marketing.
By SDSU News Team

“Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you admire, companies doing things you’re interested in. It's always great to have peers you can talk and brainstorm with.”

Jackie Truong (’11) leads Google’s brand marketing strategy for partnerships across popular platforms such as Google Search, Maps, Photos, Shopping, and other consumer applications. 

“I work with our strategic brand, entertainment, and sports partners to create and tell stories of how Google products help people around the world,” she said. 

Truong is one of three SDSU alumni participating in the Women in Leadership conference, hosted by the Fowler College of Business on Mar. 10-11.

Truong is most looking forward to “give back and engage with students” at this year’s Women in Leadership Conference. “I remember hearing from alumni who had found their way to a job or career that they really enjoyed, particularly a young Asian woman who came to one of my classes, and it just gave me such hope that I could be there one day too.”

The SDSU News Team spoke with Truong about how organizations can empower female leaders and career advice for students.

Are there specific skills you learned at SDSU that helped you with your marketing position’s qualifications? 

I learned to work harder in classrooms that were large and find a place for myself to learn and connect with classmates and my professors when it was possible. Having to pursue learning when it wasn’t tailored in small groups was a critical way to learn how I could personally operate at a company when you’re thrown into teams and organizations that can be big and complex—having to find your own voice, how to be assertive and build relationships.

RELATED: Register for the Women in Leadership Conference

Having the opportunity to have experienced business courses at SDSU taught by professors who worked in those industries was extremely valuable and rare. Many other universities have programs that aren’t as applied and specific that push students into the business world with little to no real-life business experience sometimes. I’ve hired many different folks and have seen the difference, so I’m grateful for the lessons and time spent in applied marketing courses such as consumer behavior research with Dr. Paula Peter and relationship sales with professor Steven Osinski. 

What can organizations do to empower female leaders?

Make sure women are included in impactful decision-making, genuinely ask for their feedback, and listen. Make and provide spaces/discussions that are open for women specifically, organized, and led by women. If there isn’t a woman in the room or meeting in the biggest company moments, question why? And genuinely find opportunities for women to have input. Provide unconscious bias training and resources.

What advice do you have for SDSU students, regardless of their field, looking to jump-start their career and land their first job post-graduation?

A few things that became clear to me after graduation and ten years into my career:

Landing your “perfect job” out of school isn’t going to happen if you’ve never known what it’s actually like to work at different companies and with different managers. Remember, not every job needs to be your forever job. You have the freedom to grow and change your mind. It’s important to reevaluate your personal values and passions throughout your career to decide which direction and jobs to pursue. Success is no longer only about vertical growth; it’s about personal growth.

It’s 100% possible, and I’m living proof, that you are just as smart, capable, and valuable as students who graduate from bigger, more well-known schools or Ivy Leagues. I personally wasn’t sure how I’d compete with so many other graduates coming out of schools at the same time with similar degrees. But it’s possible, and if you get to know your strengths, foster authentic professional relationships, and keep an open mind, you will have the chance to pursue opportunities that take you to places you could not have imagined. 

Don’t be afraid to be yourself. You will be tempted to try to be who you think companies or managers want, but there are incredible companies looking for unique, diverse perspectives, and you will want to end up at a place that accepts you for you. 

What experience at SDSU has changed your life the most?

Finding friendships with people who accepted me was huge. I came out during my freshman year, and my roommates were an incredible support system. We’re still close friends to this day. Also, joining Aztec Adventures and leading groups on outdoor outings for rock climbing and camping helped me find a new love for nature and has been one of my passions ever since.

What are ways outside of the classroom that students can help launch their career paths?

Connect with people who are pursuing similar career paths or interests. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you admire, companies doing things you’re interested in. It's always great to have peers you can talk and brainstorm with. 

Also, celebrate and be open about what you’re interested in because I have had so many people reach out to me because they know what I like and care about, so they think about me when relevant opportunities come up. Both Netflix and Google roles happened because my close colleagues and friends thought of me as someone who would like the job and be good at it.