Advocate For Yourself – Career Advice from Digital Marketing Specialist, Jalyssa Woodall


On February 2nd, Gate 39 Media’s Digital Marketing Specialist, Jalyssa Woodall, led a LinkedIn webinar hosted by Coursica Virtualship titled, “Closed Mouths Don’t Get Fed!” Jalyssa began the session by sharing two personal anecdotes, both with the underlying message being to “always open your mouth and advocate for yourself”.

The session was designed to speak to those entering their chosen career fields out of college, with the focus of discussion on the fact that if you don’t explicitly state what you want, it’s unlikely that you’ll receive it.

At Jalyssa’s first marketing job in 2018, her primary responsibilities were to make fliers for the company, stock the fridge, and sign for UPS packages. Since her passion truly is marketing, she created her own projects along the way until, finally, she was asked to manage the company’s new website build-out.

Psychology in Financial Marketing: 10 Principles of Human Behavior

As part of this project, Jalyssa met with a company who designs and supports websites – Gate 39 Media. She left the meeting and sent a direct message to Gate 39’s CMO Sarah McNabb to let her know about her strong first impression. Jalyssa spent the next few years keeping tabs on Gate 39 by interacting on social media and attending in-person events.

Finally, when Gate 39 was hiring a Digital Marketing Specialist, Sarah let Jalyssa know about the open position, and the rest is history.

In the meantime, Jalyssa was facing some turmoil in her current position. She had been there for a year, and was told that at annual performance reviews, employees always receive a pay increase. However, Jalyssa went in for her review and came out with the same pay rate. She never brought this up to her manager for fear of rocking the boat. In her reflection of this experience, Jalyssa said, “I didn’t know how to ask for something they told me they were going to give me.”

While her persistence in showing up and speaking out with Gate 39 Media paid off, she also learned that same lesson the hard way by not advocating for a raise.

Why don’t we take full advantage of every opportunity that comes our way?

In any given situation where a person has the opportunity to speak up for what they want, Jalyssa broke down the potential to be one of four situational personas. These are:

  • Persistent Patty – opens their mouth and says exactly what they want. This person is confident and refuses to let any potential opportunity pass them by. Persistent Pattys should try to remain confident and transparent in expressing and achieving their goals.
  • Go with the Flow Fred – wants more but is convinced that if something is meant to be, the opportunity will present itself. Go with the Flow Freds should be careful not to let faith turn into procrastination.
  • Nervous Neal – has great potential but is so frightened by fear of the unknown that they talk themselves out of every opportunity to advance. Nervous Neals should take small, incremental steps to get out of their own head.
  • Lost Larry – also has great potential, but no idea where to start. Lost Larrys should take things step by step. They should break down whether each opportunity is something they really want, and if so, define what resources are available to achieve it.

Explaining that situations are not always black and white, Jalyssa pointed out that the emotions and the context of situations will impact how likely we are to speak up, but it’s important to recognize that the persona you most identify with may shift from day to day, or from situation to situation.

Some situational tools to keep handy include:

  • knowing what outcome you want
  • having someone in your corner who can vouch for you if needed
  • being mindful of whether timing requires you to speak up immediately or exhibit some patience, and
  • being ready to take accountability for yourself and your actions, or lack thereof.

Jalyssa’s webinar was a well-attended success that yielded several follow up questions from a young career-minded audience. Additionally, she was also recently highlighted in a Black Women in Marketing interview and is an active member of the Gate 39 Media United Committee, an agency initiative designed to actualize and activate the firm’s core values: Diversity, Teamwork, Learning, and Empathy.


We invite you to check out recent posts by Jalyssa Woodall: