Maricopa Emergency Management System Alert

For Career Success, Bet on Yourself!

screenshot of Rio Salado College business student Hugo Organista in a virtual meeting screenshot of Melissa Brown, CEO and founder of Phoenix-based Copper Sky Social Media in a virtual meeting

For Career Success, Bet on Yourself!

By Mira Radovich, Senior Contributing Writer

The pandemic has changed so much about the world we live in. How we travel has changed. How we work and go to school has changed. Even our daily living routines have changed. And while change can be good, it sometimes causes fear and uncertainty.

Last fall, Rio Salado College business student Hugo Organista set out to quell some of that uncertainty by taking part in the college’s partnership with Roadtrip Nation.

The project has current students meet and interview successful college alumni and former students to get advice and learn about different careers and industries.

“I learned that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself or take a risk,” Organista said. “Even during a pandemic, when things get scary, the one person you can always count on to come through for yourself is you.”

Organista found a kindred spirit in Melissa Brown, CEO and founder of Phoenix-based Copper Sky Social Media.

“I started my social media business off as a side hustle,” said Brown. “I was working for a vitamin manufacturer and doing social media on the side for a friend who opened a personal training gym. Then I started networking and meeting more people. Eventually I set up my business the proper way.”

While Brown already had a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University (ASU), she took advantage of community college classes to gain additional knowledge about her new field.

“I’ve always used the community college system to brush up my skills,” Brown said. “When I started my side hustle, I decided to take marketing classes, in addition to working full-time, to make sure that I was giving the best to my clients.”

Organista also delved into entrepreneurship, but with a different outcome.

“Many years ago, I freelanced for about a year, and to this day, I still consider it one of the biggest failures of my life,” Organista said. “I walked away feeling afraid to go on my own again.”

Brown admitted experiencing similar feelings of self-doubt and fear when the pandemic hit.

“One scary time came when COVID hit,” Brown said. “I lost probably 75% of my clients that day. I took it as a moment to reflect and reset.”

She used the time to bolster her company’s professional repertoire.

“I added website services, content writing and organic growth methods, so that I could diversify myself and not just have one skill,” Brown said. “I think it’s important to recognize I can’t just do one thing and rely on that.”

Keen to round out his skill set, Organista is on track to earn an associate degree in business at Rio Salado in May, and transfer to ASU this fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

“I plan to continue my career in marketing, and eventually pursue a senior leadership role in this field,” Organista said. “Having my degree will help me combat some of the ‘impostor syndrome’ that I face from time to time.”

Organista is thankful for participating in Rio Salado’s partnership with Roadtrip Nation and for the life lessons he got from speaking with Brown.

“I walked away from my Roadtrip Nation interview feeling inspired, refreshed, and with a new perspective on what my future could look like,” Organista said. “I am so grateful that Melissa shared her perspective with me because I know it will guide me for many years to come.”

See Organista’s full interview with Brown here.

Share this article