Alum of the month: Marisa Turner

portrait of Marisa

December 20, 2023 - 10:00am

Marisa Turner graduated from VIU’s Bachelor of Business Administration, Major in Marketing program in 2022 and wasted no time in starting her own design firm – Marisa Turner Design. She’s also giving back to the community with a side venture that aims to inspire.

Called @Honey_WomenWhoWin, Marisa interviews successful female entrepreneurs to “help the younger generation realize the range of opportunities aside from those traditionally offered.” Her efforts with this platform have earned her a nomination for a Women of Influence Nanaimo award for Creative Innovator.

Here's more about Marissa’s innovative ventures and why taking the leap and starting her own business has been so worth it.

Why did you choose VIU?

I was born on the Island and moved to Germany when I was eight. Back then I made a little girl promise to myself that I would return once I was 19 and old enough. And I did. After graduating, my best friend and I decided to take a year abroad and spent it in Qualicum Beach. After working and saving money for a year, it was time to get back at it and start studying. We both returned to Germany, as education is free there. Once landed, we immediately felt amiss. After I decided to return, she dropped out as well and we both applied and challenged our English tests. She enrolled at the University of Victoria and I enrolled at VIU. I chose it because it was close to home, was cost-effective and had a more personal professor-student allowance due to smaller class sizes. And – the bunnies!

Tell us a bit about your experience at VIU.

If you are planning on studying business in particular, gear up for group projects. A lot of them. While this may seem very challenging in the first two years, it gets easier. Another benefit is, although I didn't like hearing it as a student, you learn how to work with any type of person – including those who simply don’t. You will unfortunately encounter that in the workforce. When you run your own business you may have a little more control, but not everyone will work the way that you do or how you expect them to, including clients.

Were there any unexpected benefits you discovered after becoming a student? 

The network. One piece of advice: No matter which class, whether you like the professor or the topic, always give it your best. Your peers and profs will remember you for it. And that is what counts most in the real world.

What’s next for you?

I started my web design and marketing business in November 2022. Since then it has grown exponentially, from web design and SEO optimization to social media management and marketing consultancy. I aim to build this branch out further and am lucky to have partnered with two other amazing freelancers for ads/graphic design and drone videography. Together we aim to grow sustainably while sticking to our core value of personalized service. At all costs we aim to avoid an agency “quantity over quality” approach – the initial reason we all started our own businesses.

For @honey_womenwhowin, the goal is to accumulate content that will help the younger generation realize the range of opportunities aside from those traditionally offered. Knowledge of job opportunities is what I felt I lacked when I was faced with decisions about my future. This may expand into a partnership with high schools and maybe even VIU 😉

What are you most proud of since completing your program at VIU? 

Taking that leap to start out on my own. It’s been amazing to witness the response within the community and meet the people that I have so far. I just love that I can immediately act on my ideas as they come up without having to work through a rigid hierarchy. I have big plans and plan to execute them with driven and positive partners.

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

I’ll share a few pieces of advice that have stuck with me along the way:

“Act as though you own and take pride in your work and the quality of such.” (Heather, Calico Cat Cafe, Nanaimo)

“We'll cross that bridge when we get there.” (my dad – on overthinking)

“Always try your best and you won’t regret trying.” (Elisabeth, owner of Pacifica MD, recent Honey interview)

Tags: Business Administration | Our Alumni

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