Saying ‘yes’ to opportunities at NC as a student, pays off in career in marketing for Felipe Reis

Felipe Reis is a 2020 graduate of Niagara College’s Business Sales & Marketing program. He worked with the Business & Commercialization Innovation Centre as a Marketing Research Assistant from November 2019 to May 2020, helping research and present marketing and business strategies to well known brands, and helping develop social media campaigns and more. Felipe is now employed with Thorold company Norgen Biotek in the role of Marketing Specialist.

Tell us about where you work

I am the Marketing Specialist at Norgen Biotek—a local biotechnology business based in Thorold.

Describe your role and what you like about it:

I love every aspect of my work, and it is a pleasure working for Norgen Biotek. I am the Marketing Specialist in the Marketing and Sales department. Every day I have to develop strategies and plans to help the business succeed and grow in the market. So, I would say it’s very challenging, but it is something that I am so proud of doing.

How has your experience with Research & Innovation helped prepare you for your current role?

Working with Research & Innovation was very important to me and my career in marketing. During my experience, I had the chance to learn more about how marketing can impact a business and how to deliver strategies to clients. In addition, I had a great mentor, Paula Reile, who always ensured I was moving in the right direction. For sure, having this experience was the most important first step in my career.

A memorable applied research project during your time at R&I?

One of the projects I worked on during my time with R&I was creating a competitive analysis of the pancake market. As an international employee, I thought it was fun to learn about the Canadian culture of consuming pancakes and discovering the many different formats of making them. I remember I did a very detailed competitive analysis on the market size of pancakes. I thought this was a memorable moment with the team.

Felipe Reis, dressed as the NC Knight and after graduation

What led you to Niagara College in the first place?

For sure, the experience of studying and living close to Niagara Falls. I wanted to attend a great college with a good reputation and be surrounded by the beautiful natural landscape. I think Niagara College (NC) can provide great experiences inside and outside the campus to all the students. There are many great things to do while studying at NC. If I had to pick one word to describe my experience, I would definitely say “magical.”

Most memorable experience at NC? 

I had so many great experiences at Niagara College and choosing only one is very tough for me. Being an international student is no easy task, and probably a significant portion of these students might think the same. 

Think about living far from your home, far from your friends, and family and leaving behind everything you have built. Fortunately, the student engagement and leadership department create fantastic events and opportunities to help students engage with different cultures and help them cope with a vast combination of emotions.

I think the most memorable experience at NC was when I founded the Loving Out Loud club. I decided to open a club for LGBTQ+ people from different backgrounds. We made Loving Out Loud a second home for queer students feeling alone in Canada. I wanted to give opportunities for these people to be in a club where they could meet new friends and be part of a community that also served as emotional support. It was my life’s most remarkable and beautiful moment, and I will never forget it. Niagara College was always there for me when I needed it.

Due to my devotion to Loving Out Loud, I was honoured to receive the Niagara College Student Excellence Award for respect for others and the community.

Is there a particular mentor who influenced you?

I had two great professors at Niagara College who influenced me to continue my career in marketing: Michelle Brisebois and Matt Sajn. They are super knowledgeable professors that shared so much valuable content with us. Besides all their expertise in marketing and business, they are great human beings, and I remember it was so lovely to be in their classes. 

In addition, I want to mention my academic advisor Michele Ruicci, who is just the nicest advisor ever. She was always there for me when I needed help with academic direction.

Those are people that are still important to me. I think it’s super hard to forget some people you meet and suddenly they positively change your life forever. I believe coming across these professionals was an essential step in my life.

What advice would you impart to current research students or future alumni?

This is the best moment to build your resume and gather experiences. The College will provide you with many opportunities to develop your career to the next level; you have to take chances and participate in projects you like. Trust me; this will be very important when you start applying for jobs, so take advantage while you still have time.

“Working with Research & Innovation was very important to me and my career in marketing. During my experience, I had the chance to learn more about how marketing can impact a business and how to deliver strategies to clients.” – Felipe Reis

After being in the workforce, what have you learned? 

I learned that you need to exercise your creativity and never stop learning. Even after graduating, I am still studying to learn more about the new trends in my field. For example, I am taking this fantastic course about Instagram, which teaches me how to use the platform correctly, and I am also learning French. As Canada is a bilingual country, I want to be able to communicate with both official languages and expand my opportunities.

Proudest achievement since graduating?

I wanted to say that my proudest achievement was being promoted to Marketing Specialist, but, this is my second one. My proudest achievement was to travel to Alberta last year. I realized I was working full-time in a great company and could finally enjoy my vacation without worries. Driving past the gigantic Rocky Mountains and seeing countless rivers made me feel alive. I will never forget the moment I stood in front of a vast rocky mountain and felt the wind hit my face and run through my hair. At this moment, I realized everything I had been through was just a path to get me here. I was talking to myself then and remember saying, “I am so proud of you.” When I opened my eyes, I felt I had given myself happiness.

What are you passionate about at the moment?

I am very passionate about writing video scripts. When you have this opportunity to create something that comes from your imagination and see it on the screen, it makes you feel so good.

Interests outside of work?

I love watching shows and movies, listening to music, and playing with my cats, Calvin and Sansa. 

I just finished watching  HBO’s The Last of Us, and it was amazing. What a great show! I am also watching the 15th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and it’s just so fun to watch. 

One album that I can’t stop listening to is the latest Paramore album titled “This is Why.” I think it was a well-done album with great songs. I can’t choose a favourite song!

If you could have a billboard message seen by many, what would it say?

“Be humble!” or “Be nice!”. Having this cool and simple reminder on the billboard wouldn’t hurt to see.