When Erayna Gamble, ‘05 first came to GVSU, her focus was on computer engineering. But during her sophomore year, some insightful faculty and staff pointed her in the direction of business marketing and public relations. She took a career assessment test that showed her strengths were in marketing and advertising so she transitioned to the Seidman College of Business. This turned out to be one of the best decisions she ever made.
“I knew that marketing was the perfect path for me because it allowed me to use my creativity but was grounded in analytics and data,” she said. After graduation, Gamble accepted a position as a marketing associate at Haworth, Inc. in Holland, Michigan. Despite her initial hesitance to move, she understood the importance of gaining experience that would prepare her for the rest of her life.
“It was the perfect foundation as a marketing professional,” she said.
After more than two years with Haworth, she decided to go back to school and received a Fellowship to Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. While in graduate school, she was Vice President of the Black MBA Association and a member of the Minority Advisory Board. She also interned at Nestle—an internship that eventually turned into full-time employment. Gamble currently works as Nestle’s Associate Brand manager of Innovation where she does everything from promotional strategy to campaign design.
While working for Haworth, Gamble founded BL²END (Business Leaders Linked to Encourage New Directions), a non-profit organization established for young professionals of color to network and provide service to the Grand Rapids area. The organization just celebrated its fifth anniversary with more than 500 attendees and numerous sponsors and donors.
“It was very moving to be surrounded by individuals and corporations that are as passionate about BL2END as I am,” she said.
She is also involved with Nestle’s Diversity Recruiting Team and as a Young Leaders volunteer for United Way.
In the future, Gamble hopes to become the Vice President of marketing for a fortune 500 company, transition into independent brand consulting, and eventually earn early retirement.