Junior marketing major Redeate “Red” Alemu is a big believer in the power of stories. Born in Ethiopia, she was raised by her grandparents for her first seven years while her mom and dad created a home for her to come to in America. During those early years of her life, Alemu couldn’t speak to her parents much, aside from short conversations with international phone cards.
“This was in 2004 before iPhones and FaceTime,” Alemu says. “I really only knew them from the stories my relatives told me.”
Those early experiences taught Alemu how stories can make a difference in the way a person feels about themselves and the world. It’s a lesson she carries with her every day into her marketing classes at the Busch School of Business. She believes storytelling can help with marketing by connecting products to be sold with specific stories and emotions.
“Marketing and storytelling go hand in hand,” she says. “I know how much storytelling influences me, so why wouldn't I want to use it to impact others?”
Alemu’s passion for influencing others will go to good use this summer, while she participates in a prestigious Microsoft marketing internship in Redmond, Wash. Alemu was recruited for the program over LinkedIn last spring and she prepared for the lengthy interview process with the help of Katherine Marshall, associate director of the University’s Center for Career and Academic Success.
Last summer, Alemu participated in Microsoft’s Marketing Leaders in Technology Workshop, a three-day summer program that included professional workshops, presentations from Microsoft leaders, and networking opportunities. This year, she will return to Redmond as one of 23 interns selected from a pool of more than 3,000 undergraduate students nationwide. In addition to the internship, Alemu will also have a guaranteed position within the company as a product marketing manager following her graduation in 2021.
“I feel like this experience has been God’s way of telling me that marketing is my calling,” says Alemu. “He showed me that I was on the right path many times even when I was doubting or I thought something was going wrong.”
Alemu credits many of her experiences at Catholic University with helping her to earn her position at Microsoft. She learned a lot about teamwork and communication as the social media chair and vice president of the Black Student Alliance. She’s also racked up valuable career experiences through her work as a digital marketing intern for the University’s Office of Marketing and Communications and as the student cultural coordinator for the Center for Cultural Engagement.
“I really thank Catholic University for opening those doors for me,” she says. “I don't know how I would have gotten that experience otherwise.”
Looking forward, Alemu says she’s excited to learn as much as she can during her internship this summer. She’s also hoping to hone her marketing and storytelling skills in a way that will help her empower others.
“The whole point of marketing is to lead someone to consume something or to buy something that could help them feel fulfilled,” she says. “I want to be able to influence others in a positive way.”
— Katie Bahr, assistant director of communications and media relations. She can be reached at email@example.com.