From Ballet to Wall Street to Netflix
I have a PhD in getting outside of my comfort zone. I am not sure what drove me to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, but I’m pretty sure it started after saying goodbye to my ballet shoes and hello to Wall Street.
Let me explain. After college, I moved to NYC to pursue a career in Dance. I was fortunate enough to have majored in Dance and Film & Media studies at UC Santa Barbara and have trained at prestigious dance companies such as Alvin Ailey. When I moved to New York, and after countless performances and rehearsals, I was ready for a change. I had no idea what my future would hold, or even what I wanted to do with my life. So in a way, I let movies guide my decision-making. After watching countless movies about how people made money on Wall Street, I thought to myself, “maybe I can try this.” So I did my research: looked on job platforms for jobs that had “Wall Street” in the title and found a job called “Wall Street Reporter.” I applied, and voila! Got an email response back for an interview. This seemed so promising! What I did not realize was that my job was writing about financial advisors in the retirement services industry, a space I knew nothing about! But, that did not stop me from learning. Through trial and error, I ended up being one of the youngest black retirement-focused reporters on Wall Street. It definitely was not easy, but I learned a lot. After writing in this space on and off for about three years, I was ready for a change. And you guessed it, watching another show led me to my decision on my next job.
Queue the show “Billions”.
I started watching this show and became instantly hooked. Billions displayed brilliant minds working cohesively to try and solve a big problem, while constantly spewing feedback at each other. I loved what I was watching, and wanted to be a part of it. So the next thing I knew, I decided to apply to one of the world’s largest hedge funds. Luckily after a few interviews, I landed a job and worked my way up. I was overqualified, but I started as a receptionist so I can get my foot in the door. After a few months, I then became an Operations Lead and then transitioned into Tech Recruiting. I worked in so many different capacities, but this company was exactly what I hoped for: a place where feedback and sharing your open/honest opinion were welcomed. Time flew by like dog years and before I knew it, I had been there for almost two years.
After being inspired by all the movies that helped shape my career, why not try working for the biggest entertainment tech company that shapes and creates all types of movies/shows? Netflix was where I had to go. I reached out to a Netflix manager on LinkedIn who said in his byline he was hiring in the operations division. I reached out via InMail and received a follow-up response a few months later – being told I was chosen to be interviewed for an operations position. After a few interviews that took a span of a week, I was hired for the job. While playing Stevie Wonder’s song, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” my husband and I packed our bags and moved from CT to LA to start my Netflix journey.
I started off as a contractor in Title Operations, executing the tactical elements of a show’s lifecycle to ensure movies/shows have everything it needs to go live on service. I got hired on full-time eight months later and never looked back. Working here is just amazing. You are allowed to be yourself and allowed to speak your mind.
If you have passions outside of work, it’s encouraged not shunned! I’m currently an Operations Specialist within Product and Partner Operations -- responsible for handling the optimization/scalability efforts for video assets on service. Along with my job at Netflix, I am also a model represented by Wilhelmina Models. The beauty about Netflix: you can have more than one passion.
If you ever feel like you are not qualified, or not good enough, shake that feeling off! No matter what background you come from, being yourself is highly encouraged. I never thought in a million years I’d work in so many different capacities, but it has been the most rewarding experience. Don’t give up, don’t sell yourself short. It’s now time to write your own movie.
If you want to follow my journey, feel free to connect with me here or on IG, @Land_day.