Student Spotlight: Leslie Martinez

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From a young age, Leslie Martinez has had a fascination with the entertainment industry with its ability to spark creativity as well as tell a powerful story. In her junior year, Leslie got one step closer to realizing her career goal by interning at DreamWorks Animation's marketing and public relations offices. The marketing student impressed so many staff members that she was offered two jobs but, ultimately, turned them down to finish her final year at Cal Poly Pomona. 

Leslie talked with Public Information Officer Marisa Demers on the experiences at Cal Poly Pomona that prepared her for success. 

You’re heading into your senior year at Cal Poly Pomona. Looking back, what opportunities or experiences do you value most?

Looking back, there are three experiences and opportunities that I value and stand out to me the most; the first is joining SIFE (now known as Enactus) my freshman year at Cal Poly Pomona. The second is studying abroad in London my sophomore year, and the third is interning at DreamWorks my junior year. Joining SIFE helped broaden my network of people on campus and gave me the confidence and encouragement I needed to pursue my career goals. Studying abroad opened my mind and perspective to a completely different world and culture and it really helped me grow as a person due to the independence I had and the fact that I was forced to rely on myself. And finally, I've learned so much from interning at DreamWorks, have met so many people, and it has opened many doors for me. Doors that I didn't even know were possible.

You were selected to intern at DreamWorks Animation, one of the top entertainment companies that has released hits such as Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and, more recently, Turbo. What assignments were you given?

I started at DreamWorks in January as a brand marketing intern where I was initially in charge of putting together marketing guides for each film, created a library of over 1,000 movie posters and logos, put together marketing decks for executives and presentations, assembled pitch boards for executive meetings, updated the marketing and publicity slate, and analyzed the competitive box office reports. As I was nearing the end of my internship, I was hired by the public relations and publicity team for the summer to assist them with a new press website they were going to launch. In publicity I was in charge of compiling all of the DreamWorks and industry news and sending it to the executives, including Jeffery Katzenberg. I also sent out DreamWorks news company-wide and managed the press release section of the new website.

What did you learn at Cal Poly Pomona that prepared you for a successful stint at DreamWorks?

All of the business classes that I have taken at Cal Poly Pomona have given me a lot of insight as to what I should expect when I enter the business world. All of my marketing and advertising courses have given me a good sense of how I should apply my skills and and put them into practice at my internships.

When did you realize that marketing was your passion?

I've always known that I wanted to do combine my creative side with my business side, so marketing just seemed like the perfect fit. It's a perfect mixture between being creative but also knowing how the business world works, what sells your product, how it can reach the most amount of people, and what's going to be the most profitable. And I've always known that I wanted to be in entertainment because I love films and storytelling.

What’s been your favorite learn by doing experience?

My favorite learn by doing experience has been all of the internships I have had. My first internship was at a local broadcasting station my senior year of high school and I have had five more internships since then. I would not know half of the things I know now if it hadn't been for every single one of those internships. Not only have I learned a lot about my profession and career, but they have also taught me about the office environment, networking, and real life experiences. 

What advice do you have for undergrads to make the most of their time at Cal Poly Pomona? 

My advice to incoming freshman would be to get involved on campus and intern as much as you can, while you still can. There is no better way of learning or finding out if you want a career change than by actually experiencing it. The education you get in a classroom and at an internship are both so valuable but also completely different, that's why it's important to have both. And try to meet as many people as you can!