Q&A with Ashley Alman (Netflix)
In this interview with Ashley Alman (Trinity ’13), we learn how this former undergraduate navigated experiences from INDY Week to the Huffington Post to her current gig as Creative Marketing Manager at Netflix all while following her passion of utilizing media to share stories to the masses.
How Her Passions Landed Her at Netflix
Major: Political Science; Certificate: Policy Journalism & Media Studies
As a Duke Political Science and Policy Journalism & Media Studies student, Ashley Alman found strength in her two passions: U.S. politics and finding simple ways to communicate complicated information. After graduating in 2013, Alman worked at the Huffington Post before being hired by Netflix as a Creative Marketing Manager. Through her career changes, Alman explains how taking risks and stretching your comfort zone can allow you to grow and discovery new passions.
In this Who is DEMAN Interview, Alman explains how her passions led her down unexpectedly amazing career paths.
How did you decide what you wanted to do? Both after Duke, and in your transition between different fields of arts and entertainment?
AA: I was always passionate about two things: U.S. politics, and finding simple, creative ways to say complicated things. That’s what initially drew me to writing and eventually news coverage in Washington. My career since that first internship has been a series of convenient and happy accidents – I moved into the social media role at HuffPost mostly to get off the night shift, but then found social strategy to be a highly engaging and challenging world for me. Netflix unexpectedly recruited me via LinkedIn (update your LinkedIn!!!); I never saw myself living in Los Angeles or working in entertainment, but the path from social strategy for news coverage to social strategy for documentaries made sense to me, and came at a time when I was ready for a big change. The move into creative marketing for comedy series was another unplanned curveball, but one I’ve enjoyed immensely. My decisions along the way were less about taking specific, calculated steps toward a pre-planned destination and more about choosing to take risks and stretch out of my comfort zone when an opportunity for growth presented itself.
“My success and career path came from bringing everything in me to the job at hand, while being flexible with changes and opportunities that presented themselves when I least expected them.”
How did you make the transition from Duke into your career? What were the first 5 years like?
I studied Political Science and Policy Journalism & Media Studies at Duke, and had a range of internships and on-campus gigs that had me writing, blogging, and working on creative projects throughout. Thanks to those experiences – ranging from a local broadcast newsroom to Duke’s Admissions Office, INDY Week to a DC think tank – and with the help of several mentors at Duke, I was able to get an internship at the Huffington Post’s Washington Bureau. I was hired on full time to work as the evening editor a few months later, covering breaking news. I eventually moved into a role managing all of the social media accounts for politics coverage, most notably through the 2016 election and the first 9 months of Trump’s presidency. And right before I hit 5 years out, I was hired by Netflix! My first role was managing social media campaigns for documentary projects, but I now manage creative marketing campaigns for comedy series.
What’s your favorite part about your profession?
I’ve loved having the opportunity to play a small role in bringing untold and underrepresented stories to the masses. It’s the one through-line I can identify for each of the roles I’ve had along the way, from D.C. to L.A. Whether it was workshopping headlines and designing graphics to make sure an important news story captured the attention of more readers, or developing trailers for trailblazing series created by and for diverse communities, I’ve been so lucky to rally audiences around something that could in ways large and small change their lives.
“My decisions along the way were less about taking specific, calculated steps toward a pre-planned destination and more about choosing to take risks and stretch out of my comfort zone when an opportunity for growth presented itself.”
What advice would you offer a student entering your field?
Stay laser-focused, but keep an open mind. I think anyone who came across my resume would probably think each step was intentional, and part of a larger plan to get to where I am now. That’s far from the case! In addition to the help and guidance from those around me, my success and career path came from bringing everything in me to the job at hand, while being flexible with changes and opportunities that presented themselves when I least expected them.