“Always think about what a man in your situation would do,
and then do it — with grace and integrity.”
-Marina Lvova, Director of Business Development at Undertone
Marina Lvova is everything I struggle with — confident, fearless, and strong. I have known Marina for almost two years, and in that time she has traveled the world, found her calling, and marched her way up the corporate ladder.
Marina was my teammate in a pressure cooker course called Seth Godin’s altMBA program, where she nailed each challenge with her level-headed leadership and savvy marketing abilities. She also guided me through a visioning exercise, which paved the way to the Pink Mentor Network.
Marina is an unapologetic millennial businesswoman and leader. She has built an impressive and inspiring resume because of her age and gender. And now, she is teaching young professionals how to do the same.
Marina Lvova makes me hopeful and excited about the next generation of female business leaders. If they are anything like Marina, or get the opportunity to learn from Marina, this generation will be the most successful women executives in history. Now, that’s a vision to look forward to!
Marina recently shared with me her experiences and the path that brought her here.
Marina, I always dreamed of having a career like yours–a glamorous title and position at a New York City advertising organization. Tell us about your current role.
I am the Director of Business Development at Undertone, an ad tech company. My work consists mainly of figuring out how we can partner with other companies in the advertising space to fill gaps in our offering or make it more appealing to our clients.
In addition, I’m building a coaching business to support individuals and organizations looking to find their purpose. What I love about this work is the empowered environment it creates for clients. Coaching is all about partnership, and being able to incorporate equal parts cheerleading and tough love to help people grow is something I enjoy.
Tough love. Aww…I have experienced Marina’s “tough love” and am so much better for it. Where do you think this interest in coaching comes from? And what advice do you have for young professionals?
The most important connection I draw between my success in my day job and in my interest in coaching is intellectual curiosity. Being the one to ask “why” and “how could we do this better” has unlocked so many opportunities for me.
I encourage networking — not just collecting business cards, but really meeting with different folks in the industry and learning about their challenges — as a great source of information and growth.
Seth Godin is one of my favorite thought leaders for both advertising and business.
Agreed. Seth Godin’s altMBA program brought us together! Tell us about your education prior to joining Undertone. What did you learn from your college experience? What did college not prepare you for?
I went into college as an undecided major. I thought I’d major in Linguistics or Spanish for a while, but ended up switching to my university’s business school and graduated from Georgetown University with a major in Marketing and a minor in Spanish. I chose business because it was practical. And I did take a few classes that really prepared me for my first job as a sales planner.
The experience of college taught me about balancing ideology with practicality, balancing obligations with desires, and about maintaining an open mind no matter what your first impressions of people are.
What college doesn’t prepare you for is that, to be successful, you need to be in the learning mindset forever. It’s more about learning how to learn than learning anything specific.
I love that — a lifelong learning mindset! That’s something you & I definitely have in common. So what happened after college? What was your first “grown-up” job? And what did you learn from it?
Sales Planning Coordinator at Undertone
I learned the ins-and-outs of media planning. I learned media math. I learned how to write emails that helped me get what I needed. I learned the importance of interpersonal relationships with coworkers. I learned it was ok to be myself at work (swearing included).
Since I’m still at the same company, though with many years between the first job and today, I can honestly say it prepared me for the road ahead. It shaped my communication style, my management style, and my organization skills.
One of your many fascinating and admirable traits is the ability to establish work-life balance. Since I have known you, you have literally conquered the world via Remote Year where you lived and worked in a different country each month for a year. How have you established work-life balance?
I work for a company that values work-life balance. Being upfront and both asking for and expressing expectations has been helpful.
I have created boundaries for myself, including limiting when I am checking emails, signing off completely during vacation times, and turning off notifications. I have yet to miss something truly urgent and important, and I find most things can wait.
“No one will respect your boundaries if you don’t!”
I’ve also had the courage to ask for things I believed in, which is how I got to travel for a year while working remotely. I almost didn’t ask, and looking back, it was one of the most powerful experiences of my life!
Marina Lvova is busting millennial stereotypes, and paving a new path for businesswomen. She has taught me to fearlessly follow passion though her own example, and with the guidance of her “visioning exercise”.
Here I am completing the course last summer.
(Baxter was also planning for his future that evening.)
If you zoom in real close, you will see seeds of Pink Mentor Network on those post-its.
Marina helped plant them. She will do the same for you.
Marina will be facilitating Pink Mentor Network’s first-ever online mentoring session. She will be sharing her perspective and professional experiences as a millennial businesswoman, as well as sharing her “tough love” coaching style and extraordinary visioning talents. The session is called “Reverse Mentoring: Lessons from a Millennial Executive”.
For more information or to register, please visit https://pinkmentornetwork-reversementoring.eventbrite.com.