Student success story: Brilynn Rakes

by | Sep 22, 2020

How one Pathstream student transformed from a professional ballerina into a digital marketer and disability rights advocate

Brilynn Rakes spent 14 years pursuing a professional dance career. An excellent ballerina, Brilynn worked with renowned choreographers and performed in New York and other major cities. Although she is legally blind, Brilynn never let her visual impairment slow her down. Instead, she began pursuing disability advocacy work to advance opportunities for others. She was featured on Dancing with the Stars, Access Hollywood Live, CSPAN, and the National Federation for the Blind’s radio show to drive awareness around disability rights issues.

After earning a degree in Communication from Fordham University, Brilynn moved to California and was eager to gain additional marketable skills to stand out in the job market. She enrolled in the Facebook Digital Marketing Certificate at Foothill College, where she learned about content marketing, Google Analytics, digital ads, email marketing, and many other things.

“I had been a Communications major in college, but I had never learned about the practical details of digital marketing that I could actually use on the job,” she said, “The program challenged me to think bigger about what I could pursue as a career.”

Brilynn used her new marketing skills by first volunteering for the nonprofit Respectability, based in Palo Alto. In this volunteer capacity, she launched a blog to advance their advocacy work and built a database of new contacts for the organization. However, she was eager to find a paid marketing role where she could continue to learn and grow.

After working with a Pathstream career coach, Brilynn reached out to her network and was offered a paid internship opportunity at Learning Ally. This organization creates audiobooks for students with visual impairments and dyslexia. As the organization’s College Success Program Marketing intern, she is drafting content, developing promotional materials, and supporting the broader College Success team.

“I gained the confidence to reach out to my network and pursue new opportunities because of what I learned in the Facebook Digital Marketing Program,” Brilynn says.

She is eager to continue her career in the marketing field but has already found exciting ways to put her skills to use in the service of an important mission.

Ready to start your Digital Marketing career?

Sign up for The Facebook Digital Marketing Program offered through Pathstream and our college and university partners.

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