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How She Got There: Lila Barton & Helena Hounsel of Levo League

Name: Lila Barton
Age: 24
Job Title and Description: Sales Development Manager at Levo League. My job is to listen to companies and make sure that Levo is building unique, scalable solutions. I’m the bridge between the sales and product teams, making sure our product team understands the needs of our clients. I am also responsible for packaging sales offerings; creating beautiful, compelling sales materials and proposals; as well as managing Levo’s jobs board.
College/Major: Stanford University, International Relations. I was also a member of the Stanford women’s golf team all four years.
Website: Instagram.com/lilabear
Twitter Handle: @LilaBarton

Name: Helena Hounsel
Age: 22
Job Title and Description: Levo Community Manager. Dedicated online community manager to execute social media strategies across all social platforms.
College/Major: Marketing at the George Washington University
Website: www.pinterest.com/helenalor
Twitter Handle: @helenalor

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

Lila Barton: There is never a typical day, and that’s one of my favorite things about Levo. My job is to make sure that Levo is building amazing solutions for companies. I help companies attract the right talent and build programs to support the current talent within their organization. In this position, I work with the sales team and management to build partnerships so that companies are better communicating with and understanding the Gen Y woman. I also manage Levo’s jobs board. I love hearing stories of women finding their dream jobs through Levo and companies coming back to hire more talent through our site.

Helena Hounsel: If you hear the Levo “voice” on social, you’ll find me behind it. I engage our community directly through management of all social media channels and online communications, which means I speak to amazing and inspirational women across the world every single day. “Typical” isn’t in my vocabulary, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What is the best part of your job?

LB: I love my job because I’m both internally and externally facing. One moment I’m on the phone with companies listening to their needs and discussing how Levo can support their efforts, and the next I’m talking with our engineering team about product updates and new features to build. I get to use both my relationship skills and my creative juices.

And, of course, my AWESOME coworkers. I learn from them every day, and I love being part of a group of people doing something that’s never been done before. I literally do not know what I would do without Helena in my life.

HH: The Levo community. You can’t beat it. Literally, these women [and men] are powerhouses, and the best part is that they genuinely want to help and support one another. I also can’t ignore that my co-workers are ah-mazing (Seriously, Lila is my soul mate. Thank you, Levo!).

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

LB: I started at Levo as an editorial intern. I told them I wanted to do what I could for the company while I was still in school with the hopes that I would be a good fit for the team once I graduated. When graduation time came, Levo offered me the account manager position, and I instantly took the job. I’ve been involved with the company for over a year and a half, and it has been an amazing ride.

HH: I’m in it. I interned for Levo the summer before I graduated as a PR intern and killed it. A Local Levo Marketing Assistant role popped up when I was graduating, and it fit like a glove. Our Local Levo Director, Maxie McCoy, and I have been rocking the Dynamo Duo ever since.

What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?

LB: The importance of knowing the basics of how to code. My position does not require coding, but understanding what goes into features is extremely helpful. I took some coding classes at Stanford, but I would highly recommend Skillcrush to anyone who wants to start from scratch or improve your skills! The program is amazing.

It’s so important to be able to communicate with your team, and learning the basics has been so helpful during my time at Levo. I have our awesome engineers to thank for a lot of my knowledge. The team has been a big part of me building up this skill and applying it to my work.

HH: There’s not something I wish I knew per se, but I do wish I had taken more time to master Photoshop and learn more about web design.

There are, however, a couple things I wish I could tell my social media newbie self: Everything is an experiment. Everyone makes mistakes. You can do as much research as the next person, but everything will adapt and change… just like Facebook’s algorithms. Nothing is the end of the world; you have to take setbacks as learning moments as opposed to confidence-shakers. Oh, and have fun!

Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?

LB: Leslie Zaikis. The girl is a total rock star. She was my first manager at Levo, and I learned so much from her in the five months before she went on to other things. She taught me how to build amazing proposals and how to successfully pitch ideas to high-level people. She also taught me how to think about building business in creative ways. We often would refer to things as “flipping it upside down,” and that immediately helps you look at things differently.

The most important thing that Leslie taught me is that age does not matter. If you have the skills, you can do anything, regardless of how young or old you are. If you don’t have the skills, you can learn anything. The lady has a wonderful outlook on life.

HH: My mom. Hands down. She’s incredible. Two-time cancer survivor, strongest person I know. I find myself complaining about something and I want to smack myself. She laid the foundation for my unparalleled organization, dedication and work ethic. I have her to thank for everything.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

LB: As a golfer, the most important thing is to control what you can control and not let things out of your control affect your emotions. That same advice has proven to be so valuable in the workforce. It has allowed me to navigate sticky and often stressful situations with a great attitude.

My favorite quote: “I believe that if one always looked at the skies, one would end up with wings.” – Gustave Flaubert. Helena and I were introduced to this quote at the same time, and it resonated so loudly with both of us. I’m obsessed with nature, especially sunrises and sunsets. This quote is perfection.

HH: My personal motto: “Run sh*t. Run everything.” Because… Why not?

My favorite quote: “I believe that if one always looked at the skies, one would end up with wings.” –Gustave Flaubert

Ask anyone that knows me: “Helena has her head in the clouds.” It’s true. I’m all over the place. I run a mile a minute, but it works for me. When I found this quote it made me so happy and gave me a sense of hope. One day I’ll end up with wings.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

LB: One of my strengths is being sensitive to others’ feelings, but sometimes that comes in the form of not wanting to disagree with someone or say no. As an adult, it has become clear that always agreeing with people is not good–for you or for the other person. If you don’t agree, it’s because you have something to say, and it’s important that you say it. It’s been a process, though, one that’s often fought more internally than people around me may realize.

HH: Even though I’m working on it, I am a bit of a perfectionist. I’ve learned it’s okay to want things to be perfect (I still do), but when something doesn’t turn out the way you want it to, it isn’t the end of the world. We all make mistakes. It’s better to fail fast, recover and move on.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

LB: There’s not one particular moment that stands out right now, but I get goose bumps every time someone reaches out and says they found their dream job through Levo. What we’re doing is making a huge difference in people’s lives, and I love seeing the impact this is having on the individuals in our community.

HH: What is surreal is being so young and having so much advice to share. I have a wealth of knowledge from such a short time with this company. I’ve met so many incredible men and women who want to help you and share what they’ve learned. You don’t find that everywhere. It also starts an amazing chain reaction. So many people have helped me and given me advice, and I love doing the same.

It was also kind of surreal when I met Sheryl for the first time. I could quote her all day, and then to meet her in person… needless to say, this picture was sent to our entire team.
 
What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

LB: A positive, go-getter attitude. You better be able to work your butt off and also laugh at yourself along the way. I also have a low tolerance for misspellings. But I was terrible at spelling tests growing up, so no judgments here.

HH: I look for genuine voice, passion, dedication, excitement and ease of communication.

Side note: typos aren’t acceptable. If a new hire can’t double-check their email, resume or correspondence, why would I give them a second look? Harsh, but true. 

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

LB: Life is too short to not smile every day. Be patient with yourself and don’t run too quickly through life. If you’re not doing something you love, find something else. Your 20s are such a blessing–it’s your time to explore. Go explore the world, try new things, meet new people. But in the process of meeting new people, don’t forget to spend time with the ones you love.

HH: I would say go out in the world and do whatever your heart desires. Go live in Rome, fight to get your dream job, start a company that makes a difference, go swimming with dolphins… no, but really. Enjoy your 20s and do something that you love, something you are passionate about. It makes life worth living and keeps you sane.

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Lily is a member of Wesleyan University's class of 2016, where she double majored in government and sociology. She's a writer, editor, and social media manager, as well as co-founder of The Prospect (www.theprospect.net), the world’s largest student-run college access organization. In addition to her work with Her Campus, she also serves in editorial roles at HelloFlo and The Muse.
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