My Career(s) at RV features people who have experienced SEISMIC career shifts, turned their “side-interests” into full-time jobs, or made gigantic leaps to follow their passions. All right here at Red Ventures.
Nishtha Sharma graduated from UNCW in 2011 with a degree in Communication Studies and French (FYI- she’s since lost all the French). Prior to Red Ventures, she worked at a public relations firm in Wilmington and a nonprofit in Charlotte. In her free-time, she enjoys playing with dogs – mostly her boxer/pit mix, Brownie – reading, traveling, and trying anything new.
Now, she’s joined our mission to create opportunities for underprivileged youth and improve economic mobility in the Carolinas. Next on her list? Learn to code, so she can take over the world (or, become a front-end developer at RV.)
Q: Hi, Nishtha! Ready to chat RV careers?
A: Bring it on.
Q: That’s actually a great place to start. What brought you to RV?
A: It all started with community involvement! Before RV, I worked at a nonprofit in Charlotte. I liked my job, but I didn’t have a clear vision of a long-term career path there. My friend Sheena Patel (an RV icon) mentioned that Red Ventures was hiring and invited me to the Rock ‘n Read 5K, which supported our local library… and happened to be sponsored by RV. I met a recruiter there who told me everything there is to know about Red Ventures. Of course, I raced home afterwards and applied.
Q: Fast forward – you started at Red Ventures as an outreach coordinator. What exactly is that role?
A: In short, outreach is all about developing content that will bring more visitors to our sites. (Read the long version of that here.) It’s our job to make sure our content appeals to a wide variety of audiences – while aligning with our brand guidelines. The challenge is figuring out what kind of topics people will want to read about and share, because that’s constantly changing.
When I first started, the outreach team was much smaller – we’d just jump in wherever we were needed each month. But as our SEO team grew, I began to focus all of my time on our telco brands. That in itself was a minor shift. While my role was the same, I had to change my mindset in terms of the content and brands I was working with.
Q: And then you made another move. (Congrats, by the way!) What do you do now?
A: Now I work with Road to Hire and Golden Door Scholars, two nonprofits which have spun out of Red Ventures. My goal is to raise community awareness about our programs and to build up our web presence. Social media is a huge part of my job. It’s a great fit because my outreach experience comes in handy, but I’m challenged to apply it in new ways.
Q: For all the newbies (or people who don’t follow us on Instagram), can you tell us more about these programs?
A: I’d love to! Road to Hire is a paid training program which offers a path to job placement for high school graduates for whom college may not be a feasible option. We offer two career tracks: Sales and Technology. Golden Door Scholars (GDS) is a scholarship program which helps undocumented students with DACA status get work experience and access to higher education.
Q: Love it! Aside from just being a good human, why did you get involved?
A: My parents are immigrants. While my family hasn’t gone through the same struggles that the Golden Door kids face, I understand how hard it can be. I believe everyone deserves an opportunity to learn and to earn a job. At RV, we’re helping create those opportunities. It’s a fun, incredibly rewarding thing to be a part of. Plus, the students in Road to Hire and Golden Door are just awesome people – the kind of people I’d like to be friends with.
Q: This is sounding more and more like your dream job. How did you land it?
A: In typical RV fashion, it happened pretty fast (laughs). I got involved with GDS about a year into working at Red Ventures. At first, I just pitched in here and there. But I kept in touch with Kacey Grantham (the program director), and she’s always known how passionate I am about Golden Door. When a full-time position opened up, she let me know about it. Of course, I jumped at it. And I started two weeks later!
Q: Word on the street is that you’re doing all this – plus our in-house tech accelerator (ITA) program?!
A: Yep, I’m on the front-end development track. It’s a great opportunity. Right now, I’m on a path where I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen next. I love doing dev work, and I love our community involvement programs. Ideally, I’d like to get to a place where I can merge those two passions. We’ll see where that takes me.
Q: Early prediction: pretty far. What’s the inside scoop on the ITA program?
A: It’s been a lot of work to take on in addition to my day-to-day responsibilities… including some late nights (laughs). But I’m learning so much! It’s definitely different from what I’m doing on the community involvement side. It’s all about getting your mind into the right place and asking for help when you need it (answer: often). I’ve got an incredibly strong support system here at RV, which is also crucial. Huge shout out to our veteran developers for volunteering to hold study halls and being awesome mentors in general!
Q: That sounds like a huge commitment. What compelled you to essentially take on an additional full-time job?
A: I’ve always been interested in coding. When I was on the Outreach team, I would poke around WordPress every chance I got. Last year, I got more serious about it. I took some Code Academy classes on my own, but I wanted even more practice. Since I already run an Instagram account for my dog (seriously), I bought a domain and started building a full-fledged website about him.
Q: Yeah, need to see that immediately. Hit us with that link!
A: Haha, well it’s not live yet, but hopefully it will be soon: Gangstercharles.com. I’m a liiiiitle busy these days, but keep checking back!
Anyway, as I started doing more dev work on my own, I’d ask Mark Kroh (the ITA Program director) to look over it. He’s the one who encouraged me to join the latest round of the ITA program. And here I am!
Q: Yes, and we’re so glad! One last question – why stay at RV through all these career changes, as opposed to exploring elsewhere?
A: I know everyone says this, but it’s the truth: the people. Everyone’s so excited to get involved here, and RV is big enough that you can jump in on a ton of different opportunities. I’ve been involved with GDS and Road to Hire, plus the Humane Society events we’ve hosted on campus. We’re lucky to have a CEO who really cares about giving back. Everything we do is geared towards “leaving the woodpile higher than we found it.”
Up next: read about Laine Plummer’s journey from copywriter to analyst to VP of Content.