Outbrain Culture

From College Graduate to Managing a Team at Outbrain

Paola Simmons
Paola Simmons
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It’s hard to believe that my first job after graduating from the University of Florida with a bachelors in Advertising, would be the place where I would grow, evolve, and still work – 5 years later.

Early 2017, after graduating, I knew I wanted to start a career in advertising and New York City was the place to be. It was an exciting time, to finally be able to join an organization and make an impact. I was asked to join MediaCom, a major media agency in NY. I only needed to submit a few references and the job was mine. And so I did! I reached out to an old colleague for a reference, who happened to be working at Outbrain. While happily agreeing to be my reference, she also mentioned she was switching roles internally at Outbrain and asked if I would be interested in sending her my resume. I had already accepted the position at MediaCom but I sent it to her anyway. What was there to lose? 

After a week I got an email from Outbrain HR confirming they wanted to see me for an interview. No questions asked, I took a 5-hour bus ride all the way from Virginia to NYC twice for two separate rounds of interviews. After coming to the Outbrain office, and having a chance to meet the team, I knew that joining Outbrain was the right decision for me. The role, the people, the company culture, and how I felt at Outbrain were exactly what I was looking for, so I accepted the position and joined as a Sales Planning Associate in February 2017.

Outbrain allowed me to grow and advance in my career 10x faster.

The ability to leverage my creativity in the business world was what initially really pulled me to the ad industry, but what makes Outbrain such a great place for me is that I am constantly learning and growing. I felt like I learned more in 1 year at Outbrain than 4 years of university! To be finally exposed to the real digital advertising world and understand how brands and agencies work, what it takes to actually launch successful digital advertising campaigns and the products and technology needed in order to make it all a reality is not something you can just learn from textbooks.

Looking back and reflecting on the past 5 years, I think joining Outbrain was one the best decisions of my life. Here are some of the reasons why:

 #1. The company culture is truly unique and a great environment to be in that makes you want to come into work. (You will hear this time and time again at Outbrain, but it really is true!) Outbrainers definitely work hard but also love to have fun while doing it!

#2. Outbrain really cares about their employees and shows it. Yes…don’t get me wrong, the perks are nice, being able to expense our phone bill, gym, unlimited sick days, vacation days, etc. but for me personally it’s the flexibility. Outbrain really trusts their employees’ work ethic and their ability to get the job done. 

#3. I’ve had amazing managers throughout my time at Outbrain who have taught me everything I know and have pushed me to be the best I can be.

#4. Outbrain has trusted me and given me opportunities to grow within the company from a very early stage in my career. In a year, I went from an entry-level role to building and leading a new Sales Development team from the ground up.

The future’s looking bright

One of the highlights of my career at Outbrain was becoming a first-time manager. I had no previous experience or official management training so you can definitely say I hit the ground running! I think managing people is one of the most challenging but rewarding jobs out there. I can definitely say that some of my proudest achievements have been seeing my new hires learn, grow, and advance in their careers.

2022 is also a very exciting year to be at Outbrain. The company has recently gone public and I cannot wait to see what the future holds. My team has also recently expanded and is continuing to grow internationally. It’s amazing to have the ability to work with people from so many cultures and backgrounds from all over the world.

If you are considering a career in the advertising world, but you are unsure, I hope sharing my experience at Outbrain has helped you. We are always growing and expanding the teams, and why not, maybe Outbrain could also be the perfect place to grow and fast track your career!

To check out the open positions at our offices worldwide, click here.

Paola Simmons

Paola Simmons

Paola is the Sales Development Team Lead at Outbrain. Originally from Nicaragua, she is passionate about traveling; so far she has been to 28 countries and counting!