Podcast Transcript – Makenzi Roberts
Today’s podcast features an interview with UNT alumna Makenzi Roberts. We asked her questions related to her program and a little about her postgraduation career path.
We hope you’ll stay tuned. My name is Makenzi Roberts, I have a BBA in entrepreneurship from UNT, I am currently the marketing manager for content and communications at REManufacturing. When you started at UNT, what were your plans for after graduation? Have these plans changed, if at all? So while at UNT, I was actually currently working on starting my own business, I started my own business called Motocross Ladies while as a student at UNT and really wanted to pursue that.
It wasn’t until I got an internship my senior year at UNT with a company called Lenox Industries where I really figured out what I wanted to do, which was to be in corporate marketing.
What advice do you have for current students as they decide their next steps after graduation? So the advice that I would like to give students in regards to starting their career is really just to jump in. I hear so many times a student saying no to opportunities because it was whether whether it’s because it wasn’t quite the job title that they wanted or maybe even from a financial perspective, it wasn’t what they had at first in mind. My biggest recommendation is to say yes, say yes, jump in, get your foot in the door, and really work on finding what part of the business that you want to thrive in.
Think about your resume. Find ways to build your resume and always say yes. Even if you don’t quite know how to do it. You will get so much further in your career by saying yes, then you will be saying no.
How did your program at UNT help you feel prepared for this role? When I think about what I use the most today, I think it comes down to communications being able to eloquently write emails, being able to stand in front of a crowd to present whether it’s just within the office or maybe in front of thousands of people. I think back to the times where I had to prepare a presentation at UNT and present it for a grade. That time and learning how to do that really impacts my day to day as a marketing manager at REM.
Tell us more about your company, Motocross Ladies and entrepreneurship. My time at UNT, I was very involved in a motocross racing community. I raced myself. I grew up on dirt bikes and around the racing community and while at UNT I wanted to find a way to apply my passion to maybe a future career. So while at UNT, I used and abused my professors, ask them a million questions to figure out how to start a company that can support women in motocross.
So I started a company called Motocross Ladies. Motocross Ladies at one time was the one and only all female race team within the United States. It supported up to ten different women in their families during a race season and really allowed the women to get the support. That was really difficult to get before motocross ladies came around. I partnered with incredible companies such as Fly Racing, Bell Helmets, Bumph Patch Factory and even multiple different graphics companies like Source MX to be able to support these women in their racing.
So what I did was I applied my passion for motocross, but also my passion for business, as well as the immediate learnings that I gained from my courses at UNT to create an online community that continues to thrive today.
How does your communication play a part in your current role?
Communication plays a part in my current role in many different ways as a marketing manager. We are all things communications, being able to communicate certain messaging to our customers, but also how can we communicate to our internal stakeholders as well. Being able to write beautiful emails is just the beginning. It’s also about creating copy that will manifest the message that we are trying to convey, but also while keeping the brand in mind, not to mention the fact just communicating within teams, being able to to communicate cross-functional in multiple different departments, understanding your audience and finding ways to strategically craft a message to not only get what you need out of the time, but also to make sure that they understand and see the value in it as well.
How did you find your current role? When it comes to finding a role and even how I found my own role, I always I will always say that LinkedIn is a great place to start, but it also helps to have friends, colleagues, coworkers that are either working in an environment that you want to work in or that you’ve just been able to pick up around your career to be able to help you and your moves. So I always talk about making sure to never burn bridges and to always make sure to be a friend.
And that is so important, especially when it comes to finding a new role. You have to think you’re not necessarily going to be in the role that you’re in today forever. And that could be a good thing or a bad. But either way, knowing people within your industry, having mentors to be able to help you find those roles and to have that guidance, to be able to know what and when is the right move is extremely helpful in finding current roles.
What is your favorite thing about your field and what is something that you wish you could change? If you look at just my history and what I’ve done in my career over the last five to ten years. It’s funny how you jump from industry to industry and what you find that you love the most and maybe what you wish you could go back to. I started out my career in the HVAC manufacturing world and went to the mortgage industry, went to the food industry, went to the fast digital technology industries.
And now I’m back in the HVAC industry. And what I found when I left was that I missed a lot and missed the the family vibe of the industry. If you think about who owns a lot of our HVAC companies out there, it’s a lot of those families. It’s mom and pop shops whose company is going to be passed generation to generation. And to be able to be in a role in an organization that’s within an industry that impacts small businesses has been such a game changer for me and allows me to not only be able to impact a big company just being a part of the organization, but also knowing that I’m helping small businesses.
So being able to be in an environment that’s family first, people first is extremely important. And one of the things that I absolutely love about the industry, thinking about things that I would change, honestly, I can’t think of anything that I would want to change. Every industry comes with struggles and comes with some some difficulties that you have to overcome that’s in the industry. But at the end of the day, all the struggles really make you a better person and also determine how you are going to own your career.
Are you going to allow those struggles to be barriers or are you going to be fired up by them and find ways to overcome? What was the most challenging part of the interview process for you? So I think one of the most difficult things about any interview process is really getting the hang of things. It’s really getting practice in those commonly asked questions. It’s getting into the mindset of interviewing and selling yourself. I think one of the most difficult things I have is when I walk into a season of interviewing, it takes some practice to get back into it.
I always say take any interview that you can, because the worst case scenario, it was practiced for the next one. So the more that you do them, the more that you practice, the more confident you will feel, but also the more eloquently you’ll be able to answer those questions. That may be tough ones. How is the career center helped you, the UNT Career Center really helped me when it comes to crafting a successful, purposeful resume.
I remember my senior year, I think it was senior year where the career center partnered with our class to ensure that we had a beautifully eloquent who laid out, clear, clearly communicated resume. And that really, really helped me when I was looking for my first job. Now, of course, my resume looks very different today, but to be able to get the bones out there, to be able to say what you’re wanting to accomplish as a young professional is a great first step and making sure to set the foundation that you want for your lifelong career.
Do you have any extra advice to share? A few things that I would I would love to share is that my career has been a blessed one. I feel very fortunate to have received so many wonderful mentors in my life. Some great bosses and some wonderful opportunities to gain a lot of experience in an extremely short amount of time. But one thing I’d like to note is that it doesn’t always come easy. I think a lot of times as a college student, I know that I feel overwhelmed.
I felt that I had so many roadblocks ahead of me and obstacles to overcome and hardships in my life that I felt like I wasn’t set up for success. But one thing that I would love to say to that, to that college student who listening to this today, who may be working a full time job while going to school, who may be the one who is affording everything themselves that may not have that parent helping them. You can do this.
It’s hard, but this is temporary. And as someone has told me many times, you know, you kind of have to fake it till you make it, but also realize that you can do anything for a few years. It’s that long term goal. Where do you want to be in your career? Where do you want to be in life? And what kind of person do you want to be 10 years from now? And making sure that every single step that you take today is pushing you to be the best version of yourself.
So don’t allow those things like financial struggle or comparing yourself to others, stop you from going after your dreams.