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Life & Work with Teagan De Leon of La Mesa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Teagan De Leon.

Hi Teagan, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I grew up in a creative household, so my story doesn’t really have a specific starting point. Before I was even born, my dad started his own DJ business and my mom began her journey in hospitality where she eventually started her own event coordination business. They turned every weekend at my house into an event, with music drifting through the hallways and table decorations covering every inch of my kitchen table. Growing up in this environment taught me two things: there is always a use for glitter and everything I do should be approached with improvement in mind. Striving to do my best in my pursuits is what allows me to express my creativity to its fullest potential. I loved watching an empty space transform into something special and seeing guests have the time of their lives.

After seeing my parents start their own companies, I decided that I wanted to pursue a similar occupation. In May 2021, I graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in business administration management with a specialization in entrepreneurship. During my undergraduate career I was involved in many different organizations: the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta, known as Theta, and the co-ed business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, known as AKPsi. Within both of these organizations I was given the honor of being Event Director for a year with Theta and for two semesters with AKPsi. During these positions I planned and executed numerous formals, date dashes (date based activities) and banquets. My favorite events were the formals because it was so fun getting to dress up and dance the night away. It was also incredible seeing weeks of my hard work pay off for my entire organization.

During my time in college, I maintained numerous Campus Representative roles for brands such as Victoria’s Secret PINK, Tiktok, Kendra Scott, and Princess Polly. In these positions I was able to continue building my event planning skills and begin my journey with content creation. Some of the content I created for these brands can be seen on my Instagram where I focus on lifestyle and fashion content. I eventually began to create unboxing content on Tiktok where I had 3 videos go viral and one of them amassed more than 2.5 million views.

This expanded my interests to include social media marketing. Within that, I was especially drawn to the rapidly growing area of influencer/ brand ambassador marketing. I had previous experience from the side of a content creator but not from the brand side, and I was looking to gain insight from this side. So, during my senior year of college I interned at the influencer marketing company Statusphere. I was the Influencer Relations Intern where I learned about influencer recruitment, influencer communication, and everything that goes into making a campaign.

Shortly after my internship concluded, I graduated from San Diego State University and will be returning in the fall as a graduate student to get my MBA with a specialization in marketing. I will also soon start a new position where I will be in charge of a local golf course’s social media accounts.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No, it definitely has not been a smooth road. I remember my first time applying for the PINK Campus Representative position I actually got rejected. It ended up hitting me pretty hard, as I was very proud of my application, but I knew I had to try again. My second time applying was a success and I not only was a Rep for the next two years, but I was also invited to be part of a nationwide campaign and an IGTV/Youtube interview. Even after overcoming and finding success in that situation, I still face rejection. There have been plenty of times where I have not been accepted for a brand collaboration or rejected from a job.

Something that I also struggle with is burn out. At the end of January I took a short break from Tiktok because it was difficult putting in hours to film and edit for the video to only reach a small portion of my followers. When I wasn’t feeling burnt out, I noticed that comparing myself to others was really easy to do when scrolling through social media. Always seeing everyone’s highs and not really their lows definitely took a hit on my self-esteem. I was always wondering why I was not able to look like or do what another girl was doing.

Lastly and most recently I have struggled with not knowing exactly what I want to do with my future. This was especially hard right after I graduated as I would see other people’s posts on LinkedIn about how they were about to start a really cool new job or internship.

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
If you are a student I would recommend looking for school sponsored organizations that connect students with mentors or events where you can converse with likeminded individuals. Besides events there are also different clubs, organizations and even Facebook groups that you can join. One of my most important networking pieces of advice is almost anything can be turned into a networking opportunity so you should always put yourself out there. This can be by going to events that you are interested in, finding a study buddy, visiting your teacher often at their office hours or striking up a conversation with someone wearing a shirt of something you like. Something that really works for me is whenever I am at an event I will go up to people and just introduce myself. If it is a more professional setting I will shake their hand as well.

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