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What would you do if you were offered a chance to be honored as a guest of Forbes, the media powerhouse that covers the intersections between finance, industry, investing, and marketing?
Allie Mullen, who earned a degree in marketing from the Harbert College in 2015, just got that chance — and it happened on a whim. “My friend was like ‘hey, you should look at this and apply.’ My friend just sent it (the opportunity) to me and I just thought, why not?” Mullen said.
Mullen’s opportunity, Forbes’ newly minted Forbes Fellow initiative — a program that celebrates notable individuals for their contributions in business and for spurring meaningful social change — gave her the chance to hear from a string of renowned speakers, network with like-minded professionals, and broaden her social connections.
“I’m normally a really outgoing person. (This opportunity) pushed me a lot out of my own comfort zone," said Mullen, who is manager of global marketing for Mogul, a New York-based all-inclusive technology platform that links women worldwide and allows them to connect and exchange ideas. "I had to travel to Boston alone and meet a bunch of people while I was by myself. I was able to make a lot of great connections that way. I loved learning to go up to people — amazing people — you didn’t know and be part of the conversation.”
Founded in 2014, Mogul has launched campaigns to empower women to see themselves as vital voices that can transform the world.
Born in Los Angeles and raised in Austin, Texas, Mullen fell in love with Auburn’s Southern charm and atmosphere. “I just started touring around different schools and the classic Auburn story just gave me that feeling,” Mullen recalled. “I remember going on the tour and seeing that video. I got chills and turned to my mom. I knew I wanted to go there (Auburn) after the tour.”
Like many students, Mullen had to find her calling. Eventually, she landed in marketing at Harbert College, which blended her creative aspirations and business passions together. “I knew I loved business, but I wasn’t as much of a numbers lover as my dad," she said. "After my core classes, I started talking to people and I was introduced into advertising. That made a light bulb go off in my mind. Marketing, in general, and advertising is what I decided to do.”
Mullen’s stretch at Harbert College left a mark on her professional persona, which continues to impact her to this day. Two Harbert educators, Marketing Department Program Champion Emory Serviss and Thomas Walter Center Professor Danny Butler — and their classes — stand out in particular. “I took his (Serviss’) class and several of the projects were about completely revamping our LinkedIn,” Mullen said. “That was the first time I really started working on LinkedIn. It was great to get in that mindset of preparing and getting to know the company. Prepping for interviewing. Really doing your research.”
Mullen’s prep work seems to have paid off; her application was accepted last week to be a Forbes Fellow and attend the 2018 Forbes Under 30 Summit, which boasted a host of up-and-coming tech startups, key stakeholders in businesses around the world, and high-profile guest speakers. Jennifer Hyman, CEO and co-founder of Rent the Runway, became a favorite for Mullen. Other speakers at the event were Sarah Blakely (Spanx), Jenny Han, John Kerry, and Jeff Flake.
Mullen — who recently pioneered a Mogul-first conference that united 600 women from more than 100 cities, 24 states, and seven countries — feels that the summit will only be a boon to her professional trajectory. “I went through and added all the people I connected with, which was 30 people," she said. "I loved all the connections I made. I even connected and got to meet one of the speakers.”
While unsure about where all these connections will lead in the long run, Mullen is optimistic for the future and has advice for Harbert College students just starting their careers. “Always go for it and don’t put yourself at a loss before you even try," she said. "Don’t let things like impostor syndrome make you think that you’re not good enough. Don’t see something like this (the Forbes’ Summit) and count yourself last for any reason.”