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CEPE Student Success Stories - Joel Bornzin
CEPE Student Success Stories - Joel Bornzin


    TMM’s Thoroughly Modern Success Stories: Joel Bornzin

    | October 4, 2013 | 2 Comments

    TMM's Thoroughly Modern Success Stories: Joel Bornzin


    Joel Bornzin completed his certificate in Digital Marketing Strategy at Portland State University over a year ago. He came to the program in hopes of increasing his digital marketing skill set and driving a smart online marketing strategy at his current job. Not only did Joel manage to implement several successful marketing campaigns, he also was selected for a promotion. His hard work and dedication to his craft paid off and now HE has a marketing assistant.

    Joel has been extremely active with TMMPDX.COM and acts as our Director of Scholarship. His passion and vision for helping others in our community has inspired our entire team. With his help, TMM has launched a scholarship program partnering with Portland State University and the Digital Marketing Certificate Program. The programs seeks to offer tuition assistance to qualified students who would otherwise not have the opportunity to go to school. We’re currently looking for scholarship candidates and accepting community donations to help fund the program.

    Joel’s creativity and passion always take a leading role and are demonstrated through his work. He has lived up to his Mom’s advice – ‘be yourself’. We’re excited about Joel’s future in digital marketing and proud to share some of his insights around his success.

    1) What challenges have you faced moving from being a recent graduate of the digital marketing certificate program to a working professional marketer?

    The single greatest challenge that I have seen in the marketplace since graduating is that all jobs (not just digital positions) are hard to get right now. It is tough to secure an interview and even tougher to land the position. Great digital marketing jobs are highly coveted here locally; you can come up against exceptional talent that is also going for these positions.

    2) What have been the biggest factors leading to your success?

    1. The early work that I did in my career I am grateful for and view as a tremendous learning opportunity. This was during a period of complete disruption in the music industry. I worked at one of only four major recording companies with a handful of truly great media management professionals. It is this experience that I am fortunate to have been a part of, I learned so much. One of my favorite quotes from that time period was “If everyone in this meeting is saying the same thing, no one is thinking”.

    2. I am afraid of heights. It is probably my greatest fear. So I started mountain climbing and rock climbing. The fear never goes away, although I felt if I could learn to manage that fear it would help in all other areas of my life. It is true. And I happy to report, I have climbed a few mountains in the cascade range culminating with a successful summit of Mt. Hood last year. It has helped my whole life. I do have to give credit to a great friend helping me in this space. No one can do it alone and it often takes a great friend to help support these types of breakthroughs.

    3. I also never underestimate an interview and always come prepared with research about the company, the position, and contribution ideas. If I sit down in front of you for an interview, I have come to be taken seriously as a candidate.

    3) If you had to give ONE piece of key advice to young digital marketing enthusiasts and students, what would it be?

    This is going to sound like old fashioned Mom advice and it is straight from my Mom…be yourself.

    Be honest and up front. Do not attempt to act like you know more than you do in digital. No one is a perfect expert in this rapidly changing industry. Only the immature act like they can answer it all, so don’t be one of them. Digital marketing has a lot in common with Science. That is the more that you learn and discover, the more you actually find out how little you know about how much more there is to know…and that’s a good thing.

    4) What skills have you developed that were essential to your new positions?

    All professional sales and marketing jobs of the future will have some sort of integration with social media (internal collaboration systems or external sites). I’ve worked hard to develop corporate level social media communication skills. There are many facets to consider when communicating in a public forum including legal, political, multiple audiences, hardcore fans, and detractors, in the social space. I can give you one really good example of a loaded social media question that I received on the job.

    A person posted on our Facebook page – Is “our brand name” a Christian company?

    How do you answer that and not offend one of many views of people that could be watching your brand’s reaction to the question? This is the answer that I came up with –

    Company name” is a knife and tool company with people of many faiths and all walks of life that work together to create and bring great products to you.

    It worked.

    5) How have groups like TMM and PSU’s certificate program helped you be better at what you want to do?

    PSU’s digital marketing strategy program really got me thinking about things in a different way. Before this program, I really didn’t understand strategy in the same way. The Instructors got me out of thinking about concepts and tactics and helped me back up and objectively obtain a higher level view. It is all about strategy, I understand that now.

    TMMPDX.COM has helped with providing me a professional platform to grow from. I moved back here from L.A. a few years ago and realized that I needed to be a part of an industry community. You can’t do it alone and the people in this organization help support each other. I am grateful to be a part of this growing organization.

    6) As you anticipate the next 5 to 10 years of your career – what do you hope to accomplish?

    I’d like to lead a big team, make significant changes, and answer to a board.


    7) How do YOU define success?

    Success is not how you deal with the greatest triumphs in life; it is how you choose to deal with the greatest failures. I don’t measure success by money or fame. I measure success by being true to my values and my family. If I can go home and look my family in the eyes and tell them that I did the best that I could, that I gave it my all, and that I stayed true to myself, my family, my organization, that is success to me.




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