Q&A with Tori Bilas ‘17, Account Manager, Jump Media
In this interview for the Duke Entertainment, Media, and Arts Network (DEMAN), Tori Bilas ‘17, account manager at Jump Media, discusses her experience navigating different career paths before landing a job she loves in equestrian sports and shares advice for current Duke students.
Majors: Visual Art; Visual & Media Studies / Minor: Spanish
What are 2-3 ways your Duke experience helped prepare you for your current career role and/or previous roles?
I am the youngest and least experienced person in my role in my very niche industry. I truly believe having a Duke education set me apart from the beginning and allowed me to be chosen from a field of very experienced professionals. Duke taught me how to problem-solve, which I have to do a lot of in my industry, and it helped me with the social skills I need to interact with others.
How did you make the transition from Duke to your career? What are a few helpful takeaways from your first years out of Duke?
I spent a year working in mainstream sports, where I learned a lot about myself and about how to be a hard worker. I then went to graduate school to get my MBA, which also helped make me a desirable candidate. If you don’t know what to do, try to focus on ways you can be more widely desirable to employers so that when you do know what you want, you are the top choice.
How did you decide what you wanted to do after Duke? And how did you make transition(s) to different fields?
I took a few years to decide, but I just kept coming back to how much I loved horses. It’s not a steady career path to become a professional rider, but there were a few opportunities in the media at the top of the sport. I set my sights on that 2 years after. It was a hard world to break into, but I was persistent, and I took an entry-level job to begin and now the industry is wide open to me.
What is your favorite thing about working in your profession? Most challenging?
I love that everything I do goes back to the love of horses. Everyone in my industry shares that passion, so we can bond over that. I also get to work from home and travel, which I love. The most challenging part is dealing with different personalities in my clients. I have to adapt to their styles and troubleshoot as needed.
What are 2-3 pieces of advice you would offer to a student interested in your field(s)?
To get to know people personally, because everyone knows everyone in a small industry. In media in general, stay up-to-date with all the latest news at all times because it will help on a daily basis. With client management, just read every email and write everything down because it’s so easy to let things fall through the cracks.