Meet A Botetourt Young Professional – Mariana Toledo

Communications Specialist
Botetourt County Office of Economic Development

Mariana Toledo develops content for Botetourt County and manages the online presence of Botetourt through its #BOCOVA blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest social media channels. Mariana is one of the founders of the Botetourt Young Professionals Organization (Botetourt YPO) and manages its Facebook.

She has a Bachelors degree in Marketing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Business Associates degree from Virginia Western Community College.

She considers herself a travel nomad, professional dog cuddler, coffee champion, and supporter of nom nom’s and beer. She is a regular contributor online and you can follow her own personal adventures through her Instagram @tasteofwander.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever gotten?

Don’t be afraid to fail. Everyone is going to fail at something, at some point in their career. Learn from your mistakes and move past them.

What’s the most useful job skill to have?

In the digital age, I think the most useful skill to have is communication. Not digital communication, but actually having a one-on-one conversation with someone. Networking was always a struggle for me until I just decided to throw my fears into the wind and start making conversation with people I would meet.

What’s something you wished you had done or learned, to help you in your career?

Looking back now, I would have taken some courses in graphic design and web development. In the communications world, that goes hand in hand with whatever you are doing. I had to teach myself the basics in the beginning, and am still learning, but it would have been so useful to come straight out of school with those skills.

Advice you would give to young professionals who are just starting out?

Find a great mentor! No, really. Once you figure out what you would like to do for your career, reach out to someone who has been doing it for a while. Take them to lunch, buy them a coffee, and sit down with them and ask them for advice. I learned so much more applicable skills from people who had come before me. More than what I had actually learned in college.

Don’t ever stop learning. Professional development is something that you should make a priority. Whether you learn how to use a new tool or concept, you’ll be amazed at all of the little things you discover each day which will make your work life so much easier.

Alright, now onto the fun stuff. What’s one fun fact about yourself?

Yeah…I’m that crazy dog lady you keep hearing about. My dog, Albus Puppledore, has his own Instagram account. He has more followers than I do. I work hard so that my dog can have a better life. Ha.

About Botetourt County

Botetourt is nestled just 20 minutes north of Roanoke, VA. It borders the Blue Ridge Parkway, is home to the headwaters of the mighty James River, and has a vibrant metro mix of arts, culture, and events. It’s easy to drink in the beauty and create everlasting memories whether you live, work, or simply just adventure here.

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