Student Spotlight — Martina Elegino
Updated: Oct 9, 2020
Interviewed by: Timiro Mohamed
Photographed by: Jerry Cao
As published in the October 2020 issue of Lazy Faire Magazine.
This month I had the opportunity to virtually sit down with Martina Elegino, a marketing student at the Alberta School of Business, who has been involved with on-campus activities, as part of clubs like JDC West and NEW, and in case competitions at the local and national level. We talked about the struggles of finding your purpose and learning to realign when the time comes, the importance of finding side hustles, and what it means to navigate business school and the professional world.
Was business school always a part of your plan, and if not, how did you find your purpose?
Business school was not a part of the plan, and that’s a lot for me to admit. It wasn’t easy for a planner like myself to recognize that I wasn’t heading in the right direction. It took me up until the day of my interview for the Criminology program to decide that it wasn’t for me. It was so tough to get into that program; you needed several volunteer hours, references from professors, and a letter of intent. I put in all this effort to make sure I was the best candidate to go into that program, but on the day of my interview, I woke up and I said, “this is not for me.” I chose to go into Business because I knew that I was both a creative and analytical person; I needed to be in a space where I could use and challenge those skills. Now that I am in Business school, I know I made the right choice.
You had the opportunity to compete in the L’Oreal Brandstorm National Finals for Canada as part of the first U of A teams selected in the finals. How did it feel to be at the forefront of such an achievement as a WOC? What do you think it says about the role of women in the Alberta School of Business?
Every year, they get the same schools from around Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, so it was such a fantastic thing to be the first U of A team and be an all-girl team. We brought forth the idea of “creating a plastic-less future for the beauty industry”. All three of us girls have very different hair; we were all wearing pink and were there as a confident group of girls. We leaned a little bit more to our feminine side by wearing pink. As a woman of colour, I feel that I am representing others every time I win something. I know that many white people don’t necessarily feel that way because they express themselves when they’re there. But for me, every single time I join a case competition or participate in class, a part of me that says I’m representing women of colour - so I need to work harder and represent them well. I think that’s something that many women of colour don’t even realize they’re doing, even if we don’t want to, that’s just how it is. While there’s much diversity in the Alberta School of Business, I feel like many of us are kind of on the sidelines when it comes to who’s involved.
There is much conversation about millennials and the idea of the “side hustle”- the Globe and Mail recently wrote an article about it. Do you feel that with our new economic reality and the future’s uncertainty, side hustles are becoming increasingly important?
I can’t believe it, but I’ve become one of those who say, “I don’t have hobbies, I have side-hustles.” It sounds annoying, but that was something that I realized earlier on in the year. I had friends around me that had side businesses and felt like I needed to find something for myself. One of my side hustles is as a wedding coordinator, and I’ve done a couple of COVID-friendly weddings now. I also have two jobs: a Marketing Analyst for a tech startup called Pontem Innovations and as a Social Media Assistant for a PR firm called The Adams Agency. Yes, side hustles are becoming more relevant because they offer flexibility and a chance to explore other career options out there.
You were so involved on and off campus, but with so many aspects of our lives ultimately moving online, how have you adapted to our new virtual word?
I’m quite lucky because when I had my internship at ATB financial, we were already allowed to work from home. I was familiar with all these online platforms because I was conducting meetings virtually. For me, the only tricky part for me was realizing that I was going to be on my computer all day every day. I had to work two of my jobs on, do all four of my classes, conduct meetings as the Network of Empowered Women (NEW) co-chair, and socialize... all on Zoom!
Do you feel there’s more of a blend between your life’s different spheres because your room is now your office, your classroom, and your living space?
Yes, this 10 by 10 square foot room has been my entire world for the last few months. It’s difficult because I enjoy group work, finding new places to study on campus, and being with people. However, I think it has really forced me to stick to my schedule and not procrastinate as much. Now I value each and every single minute that I have to myself in between numerous meetings.
What do you think is one positive of this transition to the virtual world?
It’s challenged us to think a little more creatively about how we can be together. One example is that for Network of Empowered Women (NEW), we managed to do an online event series, where we fundraised money for a women’s shelter called the WIN house, which is a safe space for women that are victims of domestic violence and abuse. With three online events, we managed to raise almost $800. I am really proud of what my team has accomplished and I am looking forward to other events we have in the near future.