SPOTLIGHT ON BREA DAVENPORT, T'12, MMS'14
“Pay attention to the companies that say they care in their marketing and see what changes they are making to the diversity of their leadership and general employees.”
SEPTEMBER 8, 2020 | BY LILY ZHU
Brea Davenport is a Marketing Manager based in Seattle, Washington. She is a Georgia native and proud Duke Blue Devil with a deep desire to help connect people to great products and experiences. She has spent nearly a decade creating integrated marketing campaigns for global brands such as Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Holiday Inn, and currently Amazon. She also works with women ready for career success through her coaching business decidecreatethrive.com.
During her time at Duke, Brea majored in English as an undergraduate student. In addition to BOW, she was active in Langdorm’s Japanese Hall and participated in several Hoof ‘n’ Horn musicals. She also obtained her Master of Management Studies degree from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.
You graduated from Duke’s Trinity College of Arts & Sciences in 2012, then returned to Duke and received your Master of Management Studies degree from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in 2014. How did you grow throughout your time at Duke, and how did Duke prepare you for your career?
I am originally from a small town in Georgia. I knew I wanted to go to a school that would take me places (literally—I wanted out and was ready to see the world!). Duke provided me with exposure to new people, experiences, and ways of thinking, plus the rigor and expectations to rise to a new standard also prepared me for the career I have built these past few years.
How did you discover your interest in marketing? What advice do you have for current BOW members who are considering a career in marketing?
I fell into marketing through interesting internships and opportunities that I found on campus. I also learned about other areas related to marketing and business by taking classes. It was valuable to me to have multiple projects that let me explore different areas of marketing. I think BOW members who are considering marketing careers would find value in gaining experience with projects that have tangible outcomes, like publicizing an on-campus event or developing a social media campaign or a website—especially if they can speak to how their marketing efforts helped with business performance.
What is your favorite marketing campaign that you’ve worked on to date, and what made it so meaningful to you?
I worked on Smiles Ahead, Holiday Inn’s 2017-2018 campaign, from almost the very start. I loved the entire process: working with an agency, selecting a concept that told the story of the brand, and bringing that story to life through TV, digital media, Out of Home, and events. I learned through that campaign that I really enjoyed being the owner of a brand’s story and making sure that story resonated with customers.
Given the global pandemic and growing unrest over racial injustice in the US, how are brands adapting their image/messaging to emphasize connection, diversity and inclusion?
Brands are ultimately led by people. If the people running the brands genuinely care about connection, diversity and inclusion, they are evaluating both how their media represents their customers and how their company provides a great work experience for all. Pay attention to the companies that say they care in their marketing and see what changes they are making to the diversity of their leadership and general employees.
How have you transitioned to working from home? What were the most challenging or unexpected parts of the transition? The transition has been rough, but I consider myself lucky. Once it looked like work from home would be a 6+ month situation, I had to make adjustments to my workspace and mindset. I have had to set personal boundaries for when I work versus when I relax. I have also had to get creative on how to not go stir-crazy while still social distancing. Scheduling time to connect virtually with friends, family and coworkers has been really important to me.
How has having a strong professional network helped you in your career, especially as you’ve changed jobs and moved to a new city?
Having a strong professional network has been crucial to my career. Almost every job I have had post-Duke has been through a referral from someone in my network, and a majority of those connections were Duke-related. I make an effort to stay in touch with people whom I’ve connected with over the years as I make different career moves. I genuinely enjoy reconnecting with old classmates and colleagues, and I also enjoy helping others by sharing my knowledge. Thankfully, I have found that others also enjoy communicating and sharing their knowledge when they can as well.
What book, article, or podcast would you recommend to everyone?
Most of the time if I have a podcast or an audiobook playing, it is less to listen to the content and more to surround myself with good energy (especially now since I have no coworkers to casually chat with in my apartment). However, I recommend reading The Memo by Minda Harts for career advice and listening to The Trill MBA Show and And She Rises for interesting and helpful content.