Building a diverse pipeline of digital marketing talent

Blog / by Lizzy Meagher

As part of our efforts to move the needle on inclusive marketing, Apiary Digital has been fostering a partnership with COOP Careers, an organization doing the important work of “overcoming underemployment through digital skills and peer connections.” 

We are extremely impressed with the caliber of talent coming through COOP Careers, and as part of our long-term strategy, look forward to harnessing some of this talent once the 5+ years of experience required to be a consultant at Apiary is fulfilled. 

For those interested in hiring entry-level digital marketers now, or if you’re simply wanting to get to know the industry up-and-comers, we highly recommend taking a look at the profiles of these rockstar COOPers:

Rene Collins

Why did you join COOP? How long have you been part of the organization?
I joined COOP to invest in myself and grow as a person with the people who look like me. I resonate with COOP’s core values and mission statement so I decided to continue to be active in the COOP community. I started my digital marketing apprenticeship in Fall of 2020 and am now Captaining Spring 2021. 

What is one career ambition or goal that you have? Have your goals changed during school as you have prepared for your career?
My dream career is to be a face of a large gaming company. I want to let young black men and women know that if they have a passion for gaming, there are people in high places that look like them. First, I wanted to help people with my BA in Psych, but then as I got more and more into games and saw how much joy people got out of playing with me, I decided to put my passion into full force. With a career swap into digital marketing, I strive to link my passion and skills together to achieve my goal of being at a top gaming company.

What do you like to do in your free time? 
In my free time, I like to entertain others through video games. I stream on I play mostly games that are heavily story-driven and love reacting to things with my friends and viewers.

Rene’s LinkedIn profile: 

Rene Collins - COOP social media card

Melissa Beckford

What are you most proud of in your accomplishments so far?
I attended school at San Francisco State University where I have achieved some of my proudest accomplishments. There I joined a student organization called Providing Opportunity for Women (POW), which aims to promote women in business and leadership roles through networking, mentorship, and guidance in collaboration with peers and influential women in business. While on the POW leadership team, I worked to organize and promote events that have opened many doors for our members. There I held positions as Head of Email Marketing, POW Project Coordinator, VP of Operations, and in my final year at SFSU, President of the organization. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, concentration in Marketing.

Why did you join COOP? How long have you been part of the organization?
As a Marketing major, I knew there were many facets to the field. I joined COOP out of a desire to learn about digital marketing. I joined the organization in Fall 2017 as an apprentice. In Fall 2020, I returned as a captain to give back to the COOP community.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I grew up surrounded by my family’s Jamaican cooking in the home and in our family restaurant, Ackee Bamboo Jamaican Cuisine. So, as a foodie, I love to visit different restaurants and try the various cuisines in Los Angeles.

LinkedIn profile: 

Jordan Brown

What does Black History Month mean to you?

To me, Black History Month means a time to celebrate, honor, reclaim, and heal the Black story, both present and past. It’s a time to acknowledge the pain and progression of our history, and also show up for ourselves in a way that rewrites our narrative and shows the expansion and diversity of our existence.

What is your story?

Born and raised in Los Angeles, I am the product of my close-knit family comprised of my older sister, younger sister, twin brother, and two loving parents. My mother and father both being working parents ingrained in me the cost of a dollar and that the Black experience meant I always needed to be the hardest-working person in the room. My name being Jordan created a cool ambiguity and strength being a Black woman—almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy to achieve and set my standards high.

I’ve always been passionate about occupying spaces where I can work collaboratively with others. As an adolescent, I was passionately involved and college was no different. During my 4 years at SF-State, I became President of POW (Providing Opportunity for Women),

participated as Secretary for Marketing Association, and worked as Student Supervisor at the on-campus library. I was able to complete 3 internships during my time there and was a multi-scholarship recipient.

From those years, I took all the knowledge of the tech industry and brought it home and am now working at Hulu (coming up on my 6-month anniversary)

What about your heritage brings you the most joy?

What I always come back to is that Black heritage is not monolithic. It’s got varying looks and dialects, colors, tribes, speeches, and countries! The diversity feels powerful. It represents strength and resilience.

Why did you join COOP? How long have you been part of the organization?

I joined COOP because I knew SF State wouldn’t be able to provide me with all the tangible

experience I needed—only the abstract ideas and concepts. I wanted to feel more confident in my technical skills and experience and I knew COOP would provide that credibility I needed in the workforce.

Where are you enrolled in school?

I graduated from SF State in May 2019 in Business Marketing.

What is one thing you have learned about yourself during college?

I learned most that I never knew what I was capable of until I was put in challenging and

uncomfortable situations. I matured faster and made life-defining decisions while still navigating my adulthood. I realized that vulnerability is not weak but strong. It is the most powerful thing you can be and that asking for help can be noble.

How are you involved with your community?

My biggest contribution to my community is when I can pay it forward in not currency, but my knowledge/wisdom, time, or physical presence. Captaining at COOP, being a Mentor/President of POW back in college are some of the ways I took my experiences and shared them with others. Amidst the pandemic, I’ve found more joy and involvement in my community by engaging with health and wellness spaces that create a forum to better ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. Some of my favorites have been:

  • Ride for Black Lives – a cycling community
  • Walk Good LA – Black healing yoga space
  • Korea Runtown Club – running group
  • Keep It Run Hundred – Black family-centric running community

What are you most proud of in your accomplishments so far?

Thus far I feel I’ve lived up to the name Jordan Brown–headstrong, determined, and goal-oriented. Most of all, I’ve worked for every achievement I’ve gained and am proud of my past that has defined my present as a first-generation college graduate occupying the tech space as a Black Woman.

LinkedIn profile: 

Jordan Brown - COOP social media card

Alysha Hardrick

Alysha Hardrick - COOP social media card

What is one thing you have learned about yourself during college?

One thing I learned about myself during college was I can really do anything I put my mind to.

During my undergrad, I struggled a lot with impostor syndrome, feeling as if I didn’t deserve my

spot at Berkeley, but I learned that by reaching out, asking for help and being open to

opportunities, I could accomplish all my goals and reach my fullest potential—and after all that, I


What are you most proud of in your accomplishments so far?

My most proud accomplishment so far was graduating from UC Berkeley. Being a first-generation college student raised by a single parent, this opportunity allowed me to meet

amazing friends/mentors/build community, intern abroad in Australia, and find my true passion

within social media and content creation.

Why did you join COOP? How long have you been part of the organization?

I joined COOP because I wanted to grow my knowledge within digital marketing during the

pandemic that could give me a change in my career path. COOP has helped me understand the

fundamentals of the industry, grow my network, and feel confident within myself and my abilities.

I’ve been with COOP since last August as a Digital Marketing Apprentice and now working as a

Captain for this upcoming 2021 cycle.

LinkedIn profile: