Our Stories

Discovering Her Real Career Calling

Projects to change workplace culture leads marketer to change careers

Shanah Gaskill
MBA Intern, Global Talent Management, Twitter

Vanderbilt MBA 2020

In 2017, just over three years after joining Uber, Shanah Gaskill became senior marketing manager. But that same year, she says, “Things at Uber started to get a little bit crazy.”

The company was plagued by negative publicity. Employee morale was falling, and turnover increased. After a lot of internal reflection, Shanah says, “I decided it was time for me not to jump ship but to roll up my sleeves and make a difference. I raised my hand for basically any and all projects around culture. I deeply believed that our working culture could improve.” Soon, along with her responsibilities for marketing, Shanah found herself managing “engineer-focused culture projects.” In the process, along with helping to make Uber a better place to work, she found her true career interest: human resources.

That, she says, is what brought her to Vanderbilt, where she found a refreshing focus on people. “I never felt like a number at Owen,” she says. “I was always Shanah. The admissions team knew my story, they understood my goals, and they cared about helping me reach future successes. It was clear to me from the beginning that the people at Owen—students, faculty, staff, and alumni—are all part of the same team. The support and kindness are truly unmatched.”

As a career switcher, Shanah was “a little bit nervous” about embarking on an internship with little to no HR experience. “However,” she says, “what I am learning inside the classroom is going to be extremely applicable in my day-to-day on the talent management team.”

It also helped to have some superb human resources at the school supporting her. Shanah wants to work within a specific HR niche—Employer Brand. “The career management team and my professors helped me network with Owen alumni to open doors within this function,” she says. And as a result, she’s completing an internship where two Owen alums are working within this space. “It’s because of the Owen team that I was able to connect with the alumni,” Shanah says. “I’m so thankful for their willingness to help.”

Fun Fact: Shanah once was part of two different events that made the Guinness Book of World Records: the world’s largest swimming lesson and the greatest number of sandwiches made in one hour. (Both marks, she says, have now been eclipsed.)

I never felt like a number at Owen