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From Student to COO in Two Years

UMD alumna Allie Hoffman
September 18, 2017

Allie Hoffman completed a double major with a B.B.A. Marketing and a B.A. Music in 2015. 

When Allie Hoffman first started at UMD, she knew that business was the right choice for her; however, she never imagined she would end up where she is just two years after graduation. 

Allie moved halfway across the country to Wilmington, N.C. in the fall of 2015 where she joined one of the top inbound marketing agencies. Fast forward one year later to November 2016, she became the agency's Chief Operating Officer. 

Allie was accustomed to a busy schedule prior to entering college, so she was ready to take on classes full-time both in the Labovitz School of Business and Economics and in the School of Fine Arts. Allie started in Organizational Management but soon changed to Management Information Systems (MIS), because she enjoyed the technology aspect of the program. After switching her major, she soon became a leader in the MIS Club, landed an IT internship that summer, and started her job at UMD as a technology program assistant.

However, once Allie completed her summer internship, she changed her mind yet again. Her internship required her to work with an IT infrastructure team and business analysts on different projects throughout the summer. From the internship, she learned that this was not the path she wanted to be on and went back to UMD seeking advice on a new direction. 

“UMD has so many resources to help guide you through your schooling. I talked to advisors, peers, and professors,” said Allie. “I knew I didn’t want to be a salesperson, which is why I didn't consider marketing before . . . but what I didn’t realize is that marketing can be anything when it comes to business. It's all about growth––how are you going to grow your company, and how you are going to generate demand?” What drew Allie to MIS was the technology and project management piece––both of which are a huge part of marketing. So she changed her major to Marketing and never looked back.

“Luckily, every business major takes similar classes leading up to junior year, so changing my mind about where I wanted to be didn’t affect my four-year plan,” said Allie. 

Leading up to graduation, everyone always asks, “Where are you going? What are you doing?” Many individuals want to have a job locked down before they walk across the stage, because it eases their mind.

“It’s truly fine whether you have a job before graduation or not, because, in the end, things will work out. It's best to wait for something you know you're going to love, rather than settle,” said Allie. “I actually had no idea what I was doing even the week of graduation. I received a job offer at SportsEngine as a marketing intern four days before I walked!" 

Allie says she had an awesome experience working alongside Jim Dahline, director of Marketing, for the three-month internship. However, come August, Allie's life took a turn, and she moved to Wilmington, North Carolina. 

“I fielded connections in my new location mainly through LinkedIn. Wilmington is similar to Duluth in many ways in that it's a college town, near a large body of water, has a downtown touristy-shopping area like Canal Park, and even has a lift bridge. Though, it's obviously a lot warmer here and no snow!” said Allie. The town features small shops, many restaurants, tourist attractions, and, of course––the beach.

She quickly connected with a company, Hüify. She'd had a Skype interview with them, prior to moving. The Zenith Social Media Conference, held in Duluth during Allie’s senior year, also helped her make connections as she had met someone from North Carolina at the event who actually knew somebody at Hüify. This connection ultimately helped her land the job at Hüify just three short weeks after moving. 

Hüify is an inbound marketing and sales agency with clients in the enterprise Software as a Service (SaaS) industry. Allie has learned the ins and outs of inbound marketing and sales––everything from running email and social media campaigns, digital advertising, managing client relationships, designing and building websites, running an agency––and overall, how to build and grow a company.

Each team member at Hüify has their speciality skills that they excel in, though everyone on the team learns to become a jack-of-all-trades and jump into any task or client situation.

Hüify has clients located all across the U. S. and even in Europe. Since Hüify clients are not in North Carolina to meet face to face, the company has weekly video-conference meetings with clients to discuss their goals and strategies.

“I've learned more in two years at this company than I would have in 10 years at any other job, because of all the diverse opportunities and experiences that Hüify has to offer,” said Allie. Positions at a marketing agency offer a well-rounded experience whether someone is the operating officer, managing clients, or collaborating with the team.

We stay on our ‘A’ game and take pride in what we do. My co-workers and I are close friends both in and outside of the office. We are a very tight-knit team,” said Allie.

UMD’s Integrated Marketing Communications course with John Kratz has students working with clients while providing them with the best recommendations. "It's the most hands-on course you'll find and offers real-world experience," said Allie. 

She also recommends another one of his courses, Social Media Marketing, which guides students through networking on social media and building one's personal brand online. Allie took both of these classes, and Kratz became a mentor for her as well during her senior year of college. They continue to stay in touch, and she has even spoken in his classes over the last couple of years.

“Kratz emphasized the importance on how to network effectively. If it is important to get your story heard by a specific person, then get it out there! You have to learn how to hustle,” said Allie.

“John Kratz learns with his students because the field is always changing. He pushes his students to stay connected and build relationships–both offline and online,” said Allie.

The classes she took and the experiences she had while attending UMD not only gave her a strong foundation for the life ahead of her, but ultimately gave her lifelong connections and taught her to "always be hustling."

"In school, at work, in projects, at conferences––there's always an opportunity to experience, to learn, to grown, or to make a new connection," Allie said.

If you'd like to connect with Allie and learn more about her story, you can find her on LinkedIn: