How She Got There: Devon Petersmeyer Johnson, Director of Marketing at HourlyNerd

Name: Devon Petersmeyer Johnson

Age: 31

Job Title and Description: Director of Marketing, HourlyNerd

College Name/Major: AB from Harvard College/Social Studies, MBA from Harvard Business School


Twitter Handle: @devonpj 

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

Devon Petersmeyer Johnson: I recently joined HourlyNerd, an online marketplace that connects elite freelance consultants with businesses of all sizes. At a startup, every day provides new opportunities and challenges that require you to stay quick on your feet. 

With an 8-month-old son, my mornings are best described as controlled chaos. It’s a flurry of diapers and bottles, but my husband and I divide and conquer, and we are out the door by 7:30 a.m.

Once at the office, my day is spent working with my team to maximize lead generation through traditional and digital advertising, engage clients through social media and content and identify partnerships, as well as think about how to evolve the HourlyNerd messaging and brand as we grow. I also like to sit in on a few sales calls each week to stay well-versed in how our client thinks.

By 5 p.m., I am dashing out the door to get Owen from daycare. Then it’s family time until around 8 p.m., when I hop back on my computer to wrap up a few emails from the couch.

What is the best part of your job?

DPJ: This is going to sound super nerdy, but data! Bear with me. By focusing on measurement, we are able to run small, quick tests that help us learn what content, imagery and messaging resonates best with our target. Once we understand what really works, we can roll it out in a much bigger way. It is a constant learning process and I find it fascinating!

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

DPJ: I would not be where I am today without my husband, Chris. Not only is he an amazing, father, but he pushes me to take risks, challenges me intellectually and supports me in everything I do. 

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

DPJ: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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

DPJ: When I was first starting out, I tried to do everything. I worked a million hours a day, and quickly felt completely burnt out. What I didn’t fully appreciate at the time is that, no matter how hard you work, there will always be more to do. What I should have done is talk with my manager to identify the priorities, so that I could focus on tackling the items with the biggest impact.

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

DPJ: For me, that moment was the first time I saw one of my advertisements in market. It was about six months into my job at Procter & Gamble, and I opened Marie Claire magazine to find my Gillette Venus ad staring back at me. I shrieked, and then immediately took a photo and sent it to my family. To this day, I still get equally excited when I see my products or advertising. If that ever changes, it’ll be time for me to switch careers.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

DPJ: I look for something that I will call “hungry curiosity.” I want someone who is eager to get into the head of the client to understand how they think, how they talk, what they need and how we can serve them better. These types of people don’t settle for status quo, but are always looking for newer, better ways to do things. Nothing was ever done 100 percent right the first time, so I want to work with someone who will help us to continuously evolve and grow.

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

DPJ: Jump at opportunities that feel a little scary. If you feel really comfortable in your job, you probably aren’t learning as much as you should be.