My first two lunch & learn sessions for Pearson interns (read: free food) highlighted one of the company’s best assets: employees who love their jobs. Even though the speakers came from two different departments and spoke about entirely different subjects, they both talked about their work with a contagious excitement and an intense passion. The enthusiasm for their careers and for Pearson itself was palpable in the conference room, and while the day to day activities of Brandy and David are totally different, love for their jobs unites them as Pearson employees.
I liked Brandy Dawson right away – she’s exactly the kind of fun and happy adult who makes me think, “I want to be like that when I grow up.” She’s petite, has dark hair, and radiates an energy that wakes up the whole room. I supposed it’s this energy that makes her so good at her job. As Pearson Education’s Vice President and Director of Marketing, Brandy is in charge of the big-picture of Pearson’s marketing, so it’s lucky that she has a personality large enough to handle it.
David Alick is a former science teacher, which came across loud and clear in his
presentation. Interns answering his questions elicited shouts of “Yes! Right answer!” and during our learning activity David responded to questions of “Can we do it this way?” with an enigmatic “Well that’s an interesting idea…” David is reminiscent of the fun uncle you call when you find an awesome new website or have a computer problem. As Pearson’s Senior Digital Media Editor, David oversees some of Pearson’s most interesting products in Higher Education – like video games that supplement textbook material.
Both Brandy and David had somewhat unusual beginnings at Pearson. Brandy is a history major who spent time selling yellow page ads to business. She recalled how her stomach would sink every time she used her charm and intelligence to sell a larger ad to someone whose company truly didn’t need one. After switching to on-campus sales of Pearson textbooks, she felt that instead of peddling a product, she was now solving problems for professors and students alike, and she’s been at Pearson ever since. David was a high school science teacher frustrated with an education system that focused more on students’ test scores than actual learning. With no foreseeable way to change the school system as a teacher, David came to Pearson to make educational technologies that would help students learn for the long-term instead of for a grade.
Challenges exist for both Brandy and David. Brandy described the difficult conversations she has with authors and editors when one product appears to get a larger portion of the marketing budget than another. David talked about the obstacles to getting professors who don’t use anything but Powerpoint in the classroom to adopt digital media as a learning tool.
Despite these complications, Brandy and David have been at Pearson for years and show no signs of leaving. Maybe that’s because they have an intense belief in what they do, and they come to work brimming with excitement at the thought of making a difference in modern education. Brandy described her job as “motivating and exciting” the people who work with her in order to market Pearson’s products in new and innovative ways, while David said his job is to “make the professor look like a rock star in front of the class.” You can tell that rather than dreading Monday mornings, these two are genuinely happy to be at work, which makes me really happy to be an intern here, because the part that comes after the internship is finding the dreaded job, and if I get to intern at a place where the people around me are loving what they do, maybe some day I, too, can find a career with Pearson that I love.