Futures in Innovation & Technology Grad Speaks on Indigenous Perspectives in Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing is one of the fastest growing industries in Canada and is rapidly changing the way businesses and organizations reach their customers and audiences. The First Nations Technology Council is working to ensure Indigenous peoples have access to the training required to enter this exciting field through the Futures in Innovation and Technology program, which offers advanced training in several technology fields including Digital Marketing. 

Marina Galay Bott is a recent graduate of the Digital Marketing program at the RED Academy in Vancouver, one of many schools and training institutes to partner with the Technology Council to deliver Futures programs. Marina is Dene and Cree, but grew up in Vancouver. She recently told the Technology Council about her experience in the program, what she plans to do with her new skills, and why she thinks it's important for Indigenous peoples to enter digital marketing.

How would you describe your experience in the Digital Marketing program at RED?

The experience at RED was welcoming, intense and fun. During the 3-months that I spent at RED Academy, I was put to the test and challenged immensely through the various community projects. Even though the projects felt very hard at times, it was necessary as forces you to learn the skills very quickly to build your confidence for when you enter the real world. The projects were also made easier by working with other super driven and talented individuals and having fun throughout.

You have an education and experience in tourism. What made you decide to switch career paths to digital marketing?

Yes, I have a diploma in hospitality and a bachelor degree in tourism management. Although tourism is an excellent industry I felt I wasn’t utilizing my analytical brain as much as I wanted and thought by going into the tech industry I would better be able to blend my people skills with my love for more technical types of tasks. Along with getting into an industry that is in high-demand of skilled workers.

Why do you think digital marketing is important to businesses and organizations today?

Digital Marketing is the way of the future, as pretty well all businesses have some sort of contact with their customers online and the majority of people seek their information through the internet. As such, this is an excellent way for businesses to build rapport with the customers, provide more value and target the right type of audience for their business. I think more people are realizing this and getting smarter about developing their online presence to best grow their businesses and organizations.

What is your favourite part about digital marketing? Is it the Social Media and content creation side of things, or the numbers and analytics?

I definitely have more of an affinity for the numbers and analytical side of digital marketing. Now that I have completed the program I will be focusing on paid advertising, search marketing, and Google Analytics. I love being able to see how your efforts have a tangible impact on your client’s business.

What do you want to accomplish with your new skills, in the short term and the long term?

In the short-term, I want to further develop the skills I learned by practicing and putting it to use. I am trying my hand at freelancing and already have some clients lined up to work with.

In the long-term, I would like to become an expert in digital marketing to be able to start an agency that provides well-rounded amount of services to clients. Overall though, my ultimate goal is to be able to work from anywhere all from my laptop.

There aren't many Indigenous digital marketers out there. Why do you think it's important for Indigenous people to enter this field and technology more broadly?

I think it is highly important for Indigenous people to enter the tech industry, especially now, as there are so many opportunities to have our voices heard in an industry that is leading the future. The tech industry is highly innovative and ever-changing, as such, I believe it is important to have people from all backgrounds share their ideas, but especially the holistic way of thinking that comes from Indigenous teachings and backgrounds. I can only imagine the types of ideas that will come from these varied backgrounds that can help not only First Nations communities grow in a positive way but also Canada and the world.

Plus, the opportunities for jobs are endless once you learn these in-demand tech skills!

How important do you think it is to have an organization like the First Nations Technology Council working to fund students and increase Indigenous representation in tech?

The First Nations Technology Council has been very integral to my success in the Digital Marketing program at RED, due to the immense amount of support I received from the organization from before even applying all the way to completion and beyond. I had fewer things to worry about in terms of the logistics of going to an intense school program like this and could better focus on the task at hand which was learning these new skills. It can be nerve-wracking to go into an industry that is always changing but the FNTC cheers you on the whole way through!

To find out more information about the training programs offered by the Technology Council, head to technologycouncil.ca.

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