2017 Gwyn David Lecture given by marketing CEO Shama Hyder

John Melendez

Students laughed at the annual Gwyn David Lecture as Shama Hyder, named a “Top 30 Under 30 Entreprenuer” by Forbes, described the difficulties of starting her own company.

“When I was starting my company and had no clients, I had my dog as my assistant,” Hyder said. “Snoops wasn’t very helpful, great moral encouragement though.” 

On Monday, Moody College of Communication hosted Hyder, a UT alumna and CEO of the Marketing Zen Group — a global online marketing and digital PR company — to speak about the future of social media and digital marketing.

Advertising junior Carla Montoya said she was mainly interested in the gender inequalities within the field.

“It’s really interesting to see that a woman is the CEO of such a big company,” Montoya said, “I think in marketing and advertising, it’s still an industry that’s male-dominated.”

Hyder shared her experiences as an entrepreneur and talked about the effects of social media on today’s society. She also said that she feels entrepreneurship is an increasingly viable path that students can take.

“I was interested in communication, but I was also really interested in technology,” Hyder said,  “I graduated, (and) I had a very hard time finding a job in the field. The industry didn’t exist, so I started my own company.”

As someone involved in social media marketing, advertising junior Jonathan Garza said he appreciated her advice on creating a personal brand.

“It kind of changed things for me because I manage a brand on social media,” Garza said. “It’s interesting. Rather than thinking about how do I push my product on them, how (can) I incorporate what they think about themselves with my brand?”

Social media is used for people to establish a self-identity, which is why companies should focus on how people use their products to express themselves, Hyder said. 

“It’s less to do with connection and more to do with self-identity and self-reflection,” Hyder said. “The things that you like you do so because it says more about you than it does that one thing.” 

Social media has changed how companies promote their products worldwide, Hyder said.

“Part of what’s really cool about being in marketing and communications right now is this ability to reach millions of people,” Hyder said, “That is a power humanity has never had before.”