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Sync with Symbians: Meet Ellen Zhang, Chief Marketing Officer

Published by Meghana Machiraju on April 15, 2022
3 min read

Meghana Machiraju

Meghana Machiraju is a B2B content marketing professional at Symba. Previously, Meghana worked as a Content Marketing Lead for a SaaS healthcare startup. She holds a Masters in Marketing from Schulich School of Business, Canada, and an MBA in Advertising from Symbiosis International University, India. Outside of work, you will find her traveling or looking for the next vegetarian restaurant to go to!

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Welcome to our ongoing blog series, Sync with Symbians! With each post, we’ll highlight a rockstar member of the Symba team. You’ll learn a lot about the people who make Symba, their journey so far, what their day looks like in their role at Symba, and much more. 

Meet Ellen Zhang, CMO at Symba. Ellen is part of the founding team and has been a part of Symba since it was just an idea, but joined full-time in February 2021. She leads the marketing team and is currently focused on building out our account-based marketing and sales strategy. Outside of work, Ellen loves to travel (especially road trips), sing karaoke, and eat breakfast foods. Come, let’s learn more about Ellen and her journey so far - professional and personal! 

1. What brought you to Symba and what’s been keeping you here?

Ahva and I were friends in high school in San Antonio, Texas. We were both studying to be future health professionals (and we both didn’t go that route 😅). We lost touch for a little bit in college but reconnected in Boston in 2017! I was living there and Ahva was visiting for a conference. That’s when she told me about her idea for Symba. I had been interested in social entrepreneurship since college and was excited about the mission of creating more equitable access to early career work opportunities. Internships were pivotal to the launch of my career. And that was the beginning of my journey with Symba! I helped out in a consulting capacity while I worked full-time jobs at cybersecurity companies and gained more marketing experience and skills, and then joined full-time in February 2021. What’s still keeping me here is the fact that we’re social impact oriented, the team is amazing, and I love that I get to build a department and business function from the ground up!

2. How would you describe Symba’s work culture? 

Symba’s work culture is hard working, fast-paced, and flexible. Like most startups, our culture is constantly evolving and improving and work moves quickly. We experiment with new ideas, learn from them, and iterate or move on. We’ve built a team with very empathetic people who are passionate about our mission which makes for an exciting and supportive workplace.

3. What does a day in the life of Ellen look like?

I normally start out the work day by listing out in my notebook the key items to get done for the day (move the needle items) and then other to-dos. The rest of the day really varies; sometimes, I have back-to-back meetings and other days, I get more time to work on deliverables and strategy. 

Outside of work, I have a 3-year-old mini Aussie named Hensley. We head to the dog park most days after work so he gets some playtime in. I just moved to LA so I’m taking my time exploring and making new friends!

4. Proudest moment at Symba? 

My most recent proudest moment at Symba is spearheading the launch of our ABX strategy. I drank the ABX/ABM kool aid years ago and it’s been exciting getting to implement it at Symba. It requires the ultimate interdepartmental collaboration, alignment, and multichannel marketing. A lot of hard work from our entire team has gone into ABX and we’re already seeing great results; I’m excited to continue building it out.

My earliest proud moment would be building our v1 Symba website 🙂 

5. How’s it like to be a ‘remote worker’ at Symba? 

Symba has always been a remote-first startup so remote work is ingrained in who we are; we were even named a leader in the remote work revolution by Forbes! There’s a lot of flexibility built into remote work; it’s been awesome being able to work from different locations like SF, Boston, NYC, Portland, Seattle, Idaho, and now LA. 

I do miss being able to hang out with people live in-person, but we’ve been able to plan the occasional retreats, meet at in-person conferences, and even just visit each other as friends.

6. What’s your personal mantra and why is it important?

I don’t know if I have a personal mantra, but my favorite quote is “Nature, in giving men tears, bears witness that she gave the human race the softest hearts” from Rousseau’s Discourse on the Origin of Inequality. I read a bit of Rousseau in college for a Philosophy/Theology course and this quote always stuck with me because it speaks to the empathetic nature of people, how at the end of the day, we all feel and should approach each other empathetically.

7. Any advice for future Symbians? 

Just be your authentic self! Come as you are and share your passions. We welcome diverse interests, thoughts, and backgrounds, and want to celebrate all Symbians. 

Now for more fun stuff! 

  1. Favorite book: The End We Start From by Megan Hunter 
  2. Favorite TV show: Charmed (the original); and Station Eleven
  3. Favorite cuisine: Vegan or Breakfast foods
  4. Favorite vacation spot: Scotland
  5. Favorite cause: Equitable access to education/STEM education

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