Name: Michelle Wong
City: New York City
Job: Marketing Executive
How she got there: After graduating from NYU’s Stern School of Business, Wong kicked off her career in brand management at a CPG company before heading to American Express, where she got her first taste of entrepreneurship in the Enterprise Growth group. As a result, she then made the jump to Fab.com to lead online marketing strategy. Now Wong is at Handy.com, an on-demand home services platform, where she oversees customer acquisition.
Levo: You’ve had a variety of jobs since graduating from U.C. Berkeley in 2004. How has your style changed as your jobs have changed?
Michelle Wong: When I first started my career in consulting right out of college, I was excited to enter the corporate world and had a closet full of business attire and stilettos. That excitement wore off quickly, and I found that I prefer to wear clothes that can easily transition outside of the office. For example, instead of a fancy work bag, I use my Everlane backpack.
So if you traded your briefcase for a backpack, how would describe your style now?
MW: Preppy hipster—I like to mix and match from different brands and stores.
What about this outfit makes you feel “take charge”?
MW: This is a Tinley Road dress with vegan leather cap sleeves, so no animals were harmed. I love my Everlane backpack! It’s versatile, lightweight, and the light grey color matches basically any outfit. I carry my laptop, gym clothes, wallet, toiletries, and extra pair of shoes—so I can walk to work, go to the gym, and then out on the town all with one bag.
How practical and polished! Is there anything you wear regularly that has sentimental value?
MW: I keep my diamond studs on 24/7. They were a graduation gift from my parents, so they’re pretty special to me. Plus, they still live in California, so it’s nice to have a memento of my family on me at all times.
In the world of marketing, style can be essential when it comes to pitching and taking meetings. What are some of your style rules?
MW: Make sure you feel comfortable in whatever you wear because confidence is the most important part of personal style.
Your Lovers+Friends heels are the perfect example of casual chic.
MW: Yes! Choose your shoes wisely. It doesn’t matter if they look awesome, but can you actually walk in them?
You said that you’ve gained so much from going to business school, but what was the biggest lesson you learned from a setback?
MW: My most recent professional setback happened when I took the plunge and left Amex to join Fab. I was only there for a short time when, suddenly, the company folded and let go the majority of its workforce. I could have returned to my corporate job, but I knew I wanted to stick it out in the start-up world, so I reached out to my contacts from B-school and beyond. I landed at Handy, and it’s been an incredible ride.
As common as they are, layoffs are always nerve-wracking.
MW: What I’ve learned over the years is to keep things in perspective and remember that everything happens for a reason—as cliché as that sounds. Your career isn’t going to be built after landing the one perfect job, or ruined from one misstep. There’s so much to learn from each and every opportunity you get, and it’s up to you to take advantage of all of it.
Lastly, what advice do you have for Millennials who are looking to break into marketing and advertising?
MW: Keep up to date on new marketing trends (i.e. mobile) and what’s going on in the industries you’re interested in. Earlier on in your career, try to determine how you will differentiate yourself from the pack and be open to learning new skills.
Photos: Sam Teich / Levo