GiveWP’s Digital Content Marketing Manager on staying present, appreciating tech, and how a love of stories drives her work.
Taylor Waldon runs on adventure and stories. “I’m a story junkie,” she says, “and I love to live them. Sometimes, this gets me into trouble, but it’s always worth the story I can tell later on!”
Waldon spent her childhood in Southern California in a small country town in the suburbs of San Diego. “I was shocked the first time I saw a horse crosswalk button. They’re about head-height above the normal button,” she says. It was a place where everyone knew everyone, and high school sports were a town-wide event.
An avid soccer player at elite SoCal clubs, Waldon spent much of her youth training or playing in tournaments. Then, as a teen, she got her first taste of marketing while working part-time at her parent’s restaurant. “My first true marketing job was as their social media manager,” she says, “back when social media marketing was brand new.”
Eventually, Waldon earned an undergraduate degree in English Literature and a Master’s in International Relations. After school, she worked in marketing in a variety of industries including food service, RV sales, and plumbing supply.
Now at GiveWP, Waldon gets to put her love of stories to use. “I get to see a ton of stories from wonderful nonprofits, people, and my coworkers,” she says. “This is my favorite part of my job.”
Waldon is the Digital Content Marketing Manager at GiveWP. “I explain my role to people outside the tech industry as either ‘I do marketing’ or ‘I’m a writer,’ depending on who I’m talking to.” It’s a job that offers glimpses into the tech world, which Waldon appreciates.
“I love the access that I have to learn new technologies and coding languages,” she says. “I’m not a developer, but working closely with them is one of my favorite things. I can make more informed marketing decisions by understanding the technology behind our products. It surprises me how much marketing and development need to work together to create a product that people want. Without that connection, there are gaps in features users want, or marketers can promote. Before working in tech, I never thought about this connection.”
In her career journey, one of her proudest accomplishments has been receiving her Master’s Degree in International Relations from the School of International Service at American University. Another highlight came from her brief career in international technologies when Waldon spent a month in Africa with her former employer. “The GiveWP 100K party in January 2021 was one of the most fun and successful events I’ve ever helped put together,” Waldon says. “We held it in Gather Town, a virtual space where people connect in a Zelda-like atmosphere along with Zoom video integration. This was also when we launched the GiveWP Swag store. This combination of events helped us maintain higher sales in the first few months of 2021.”
When asked about influences on her career journey, Waldon says it isn’t a matter of who so much as what. “Becoming permanently disabled at the age of 18 limited many of my options,” she says. “I wanted to be an intelligence agent, which is why I got my Master’s in International Conflict. To do this, I would join the military as an officer after grad school. However, my back injury prevented this and made it so that I needed to look for a job with flexibility and stability. Luckily, I found my way there with the tech industry, which was much more accessible for a remote worker where people were already used to this working environment.”
Waldon tries to stay present and live each day to the fullest. “I had an epiphany when I was in college. After spending my entire college life fighting a back injury, a doctor sat me down and told me my quality of life would only deteriorate from that point on,” she says. “He wanted me to live my life to the fullest before my mobility declined even more. So, I did. I sold my house, bought an RV, and hit the road when I was 22. I live for the moment because you never know when the moments will stop.” Waldon lives in an RV with two dogs and is currently writing a memoir. She also has a podcast called “The Legend of CA Man.”
As for the future of women in tech, Waldon does not doubt that the opportunities are rich. “Nearly every profession that has been male-dominated in the past has eventually become more of a women-dominated industry. For example, advertising and marketing used to be a man’s world. Now, the majority are women. The same goes for teaching and philanthropy. As more women enter this workforce, there will be more opportunities for other women.” She encourages young women to explore tech and science fields. “Even if you don’t go into the field of technology, having the knowledge and the skillset to get started is an advantage in any career path.”