Meet the Team: Alex Niu
This week, we’ll be talking to one of our critical team members, Alex Niu. Alex is our Digital Marketing Assistant and has been working with ForwardAI since they joined the team in late 2021.
So Alex, can you tell me how you came to work in Marketing? What’s your employment background like?
I didn’t start off knowing that I wanted to work in Marketing! I consider myself data-driven and analytical, and for a while, it seemed like walking a path closer to accounting or finance was right for me. I went to undergraduate at Wilfred Laurier University and did an accounting internship during the time, which I thought I would have loved (spoiler alert: I didn’t).
One day, I was reading online and came across my first SEO article. I thought it was fascinating how we can influence people online before they even know, and I got hooked to learn even more! I enrolled in a postgraduate certificate marketing program at George Brown College and had been dabbling in the marketing of many different fields until I arrived here at ForwardAI.
Thinking back, it’s funny because I have two sisters who shopped for a lot of cosmetics when I was a kid. I always wondered what motivated their purchases, and now I’m on the other side, encouraging the purchases people make! The best part about marketing is that it’s constantly changing, and every field is different, so it never gets boring.
What would you consider your specialty?
I wouldn’t say I have a specialty in particular, but I am pretty versatile in working an excellent Go-To-Market strategy for the company. Let it be researching and launching PPC campaigns, developing influencer or partner marketing workflows, or informing business decisions through analytics; I’ve done it all for both B2B and B2C companies!
Being versatile is a crucial skill for a marketer, and I’m lucky to have learned many execution methods in my career so far. The most important question that I always ask myself is, “does this make sense if I were the customer” and I let that be the guide to the work I do.
Do you ever find it challenging to maintain a healthy work-life balance?
It can sometimes be challenging, but ForwardAI sets clear expectations for work hours, and they don’t expect you to work after you’re done for the day. I think that is crucial, especially for a fully remote company where work and personal life blend together.
That being said, I do always figure out a good schedule that works for my lifestyle. I don’t always work the regular work hour schedule. Sometimes I start earlier, sometimes a bit later. I also love and always find time to cook, try out new restaurants, and go to rock climbing gyms or regular gyms 3-4 days a week. It really depends on how you handle it, depending on your lifestyle.
What makes your job fun? What makes it a chore?
Having worked at many companies and heard so many companies forcing their employees to return to the office, I absolutely love that ForwardAI is a #RemoteFirst company. The flexibility of working to your own schedule is amazing, and I get to play with my pets during my coffee break! (Check out the pets of ForwardAI and my lovely parrots!)
The startup environment also means you can wear many different hats at once, which is fantastic for me. Some people find doing the same task over and over ideal, but I like to try, test, and learn different things and keep it changing. That’s part of the reason why marketing appeals to me.
The one downside that I would say is communication can be a bit hard, especially with a global team with diverse backgrounds. Sometimes you can send out an email and not get a response until the next day. If you don’t get everything nailed down in one email, that back and forth email chain can really add up to days or even weeks. But that’s part of what working in a completely remote company is about, so I am getting used to it and better at making sure my emails are succinct!
ForwardAI is expanding the team constantly! What do you look for when someone new joins the company?
I think the most important thing is to have the right mindset and culture fit. The job market is bouncing back from the pandemic, and there is more talent than ever before. There are many capable candidates today, but not everyone integrates with the current team well. Being able to collaborate with the existing team members is essential for everybody’s success, in my opinion.
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