Intern Stories: Whitney Curry

whitney

Whitney pitches a new project during Hack Week.

Zillow was exactly what Whitney Curry was looking for as a college senior studying marketing – even though she didn’t know it. She was flexible on which industry she wanted to pursue after school, but was motivated to learn and grown in a fast-paced environment.

When she came across Zillow’s internships in the summer of 2007, they didn’t even have a marketing department. But they had high growth, there was no doubt about it. So Whitney rolled up her sleeves and kept pace. Fast forward many years and now she’s a director in marketing, managing social media and campaigns.

Curry takes her social media work seriously, as fun as it is. Social media is a part of people’s lives, and that’s not a privilege she takes lightly.

How did you find out about the internship?

I had just finished my junior year in the summer of 2007. The previous summer I interned at a consulting firm, which was a very stay-in-your-own-lane field. I wanted something more exciting. Zillow didn’t even have a marketing program at the time. They had a Public Relations internship, but I didn’t even have a good understanding of the differences between marketing and PR. I remember Googling it before my interview! I learned and I loved it. Now Zillow has its own marketing department!

Whitney happened to be part of an “accidental twin day” in the early days of Zillow.

What did you like about your internship?
Zillow had under 100 employees at the time, and no “lanes” like my previous internship. It was still a very small team. The PR team at the time was me and three others, including Amy Bohutinsky, who is now our Chief Operating Officer. I had executive visibility from the beginning. I was the youngest person at the company, so everyone came to me to learn about social media. Eight years later I’m in charge of all the social media campaigns and promotions. Zillow has a think-big mindset that was a perfect match for me. Working for them after graduation was an easy decision for me.

What are you working on now and how did you get there?

I’m responsible for all of our social media campaigns, from our giant sweepstakes to every tweet.  We’ve given away everything from an iPhone to launch our mobile app to an actual house. From the silly to the serious, we tackle it all.

I have a track record here of asking for new roles and positions. After my internship, I took Spencer Rascoff, now our CEO, to coffee and said, “Here are three reasons I think you should hire me after I graduate.” He said, “It’s funny you say that. We were going to make you an offer tomorrow.” I’ve asked for each new responsibility I’ve been given, and grew social to be its own department.

We have seven people on the social team now. I’ve grown from being an individual contributor at Zillow to managing a team. I view myself as the conductor. I don’t play the instruments myself, but I train and empower my team members. I work hard to cast the right vision so my team members can nurture their strengths and be successful, individually and together. Three of our social team members actually started as interns.

Whitney helped coordinate a Town Hall on housing with President Obama.

What’s the best part about your job?

The social team is the face of Zillow to hundreds of thousands of people. We have a very intimate connection with them. We’re in front of them on their Instagram in between pictures of their friend’s kid’s birthday parties. We bring them inspiration around the possibilities of the home. Even though it’s been 8 years, I wake up excited because I get to innovate and tackle new things. I’m successful here because I’ve been able to become a trusted and strategic partner over the years. I’ve earned the right to be heard and try new initiatives.

What’s your advice for interns?

Strive to be better every day. Not perfect, but better. Better is resilient and makes perfection insanely jealous. Come to work every day with an intent to learn new things, expand your scope and pursue excellence. Develop a personal brand as a “do-er,” someone your colleagues can rely on, and who delivers consistently strong performance. Your internship is a 3-month-long job interview.

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