How I went from marketing intern to Head Business and Product Development at Stefanka, a clothing fit software on the rise.

Christine, Marketing intern to head of Business and Product at Stefanka

Christine Pelletier holds an interior design degree and was a finalist at the Sico New Talent Excellence Award, held during the Montreal International Design Show (SIDIM). She then completed a Bachelor degree in Commerce at Concordia University, in Montreal, with a Major in Marketing and a Minor in Management. She has extensive international experience as she spent a year studying in Austria and working in India, as Guest Relations Manager for a luxury resort. She is now based in Montreal, evolving in a fashion tech company as head business development.

My story in a nutshell: 

Technology is everywhere, in every industry, so even if you think tech is not for you, it might just be! That was my case. I could barely use my cellphone and I’m now able to program, read code, and lead a team of developers to create cutting-edge clothing fit solutions. I “learned tech” by being surrounded by it, even if everything was unknown and unfamiliar at the beginning. When your a creative problem-solver, you can thrive anywhere and everywhere.
Business development was also new to me, and I still sometimes feel like those undercover agent or journalist, trying to find clues and insights everywhere. Bottom line is, people gave me a lot of responsibilities, their trust, and I wanted to deliver, so I learned and surrounded myself with experts to guide me and teach me.

How was your University time?

I studied Design before doing my bachelor in Commerce, which I did only because I wrote it randomly as a first choice on the form to apply to university, before the program in design that I also felt appealed too. When I got the answer, I was obviously happy I got in, yet I felt a little bit like an outsider given that I saw businesses with much more than just bottom lines and big corporations. My classmate all wanted to become rich business owners after something like 5 years of work. I thought they were dumb. Business too me was interesting because I loved psychology and how it could affect your employees, your selling and negotiating strategies, your marketing, and so on. That’s also why I loved design so much. It’s all about understanding the other, being empathic to their need and tailor something for them, wether it is working conditions, a product, and so on. 

Why did you Seekout a career in this field? 

I never EVER thought I would be working in technology, as I felt it was far stretch from my profile: An entrepreneurial mind, creative problem-solver with a passion for design, business and arts. I could barely use my cellphone, so technology, really? Then, I started as an intern in a technology company for the fashion industry, working mostly in marketing and business development. So “I learned technology” because I got immersed in it, because I was surrounded by open-minded people ready to teach me, and also because I had a mentor as a boss who was putting me in charge of projects and teams where I needed to learn.

What was your first job or nuggets from jobs you had that helped you to get to where you are today?

While studying, I worked part-time in restaurants, where I have experienced the rush, the overwhelm, customer’s facing issues, and so on. Afterward, dealing with clients and colleagues was a piece of cake because I’ve spent 10 years learning how to read people and anticipate their thoughts and needs. This made a huge difference. Moreover, time pressure in a restaurant is incredible, so everything afterward seems much more relaxed. I strongly encourage anyone to work while at school. It teaches you how to schedule your time, and even though it might not be related to what you will do later, I think it prepares you and you arrive on the field much more mature and mentally ready.

How did you prepare for an interview?

Interview: read FIT. Fit is everything from both side, so I encourage people to know what they want, what they want to do, to learn, where they want to be and identify role model and seek out what their path was. That way, you can arrive at your interview much more ready. It’s OK not to be a match, and I’d rather tell a wonderful profile that it’s not gonna be a good match with us rather than doing a hire and know beforehand that the person won’t fulfill her needs. In an interview, ASK QUESTIONS! You’re also the one assessing the fit, it’s not just the employer role. Lastly. Be. Prepared. Do you really want to look like a fool by being unprepared? Please don’t.

Books that helped you?

Books were key for me to improve myself on certain skills or topics. I’ve learned UX design mostly by reading everything I could on the topic. At first, I had an imposter syndrome where I felt I did not have the background, but once you start doing the work, then you realize you have what it takes. So stick to your gut, read a lot, and make sure you keep on learning. 

What can you recommend on CV?

More is less. We tend to scan things rather than reading them fully, this is important to have that in mind while writing a resume. Plus, I want to clearly understand the fit between the candidates and the role, so make it easy for me! It’s totally fine to filter all your experience and keep only what’s relevant. Well… It’s essential actually!

Advice for someone looking for job?

Project where you want to land in maybe 5-10 years. Look at more advanced / senior positions, and write down the required experience and background. You’ll have a clear path of where to apply and what to do right now in order to get there. 

why do you think you were selected among other candidates?

Companies will fire you mostly for your attitude, not because of your skills. Bear that in mind, because it’s your personality, your fit with the team, the values of the company, that will make you stand out from other candidates with similar background. Are you someone we want to work with? Are you someone who wants to learn?  

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