Faculty Q&A: Shirley Dong, Experiential Education & Career Management

Shirley DongShirley Dong brings two decades of experience in beauty and home décor marketing into her LIM College classroom. Currently, in addition to her part-time teaching responsibilities, Shirley does consulting work for Diageo, a multinational producer of spirits and beer.

What’s your professional background?
Three words best describe me: marketer, innovator, and educator. I’ve had marketing roles in beauty, fashion, and home décor, launching over 450 products. These roles ranged from concept development to bringing products to the market.

As a Senior Marketing Manager for Avon Products’ North America region, I conceived and launched celebrity fragrance brands such as Derek Jeter Driven, Reese Witherson Bloom, Fergie Outspoken, Ungaro, and Christian Lacroix. In home décor, I managed vintage tabletop collections that included Cape Cod and Hummingbird.

What type of courses do you teach?
My courses focus on career-building. The curriculum emphasizes meaningful work experiences related to student career goals that are also aligned with academics. Through internships, fashion industry seminars, and guest speakers, students develop academic and professional skills and abilities.

How does your professional experience infuse what you do in the classroom?
With my years of experience in the beauty sector, I am an instructor and mentor for students to navigate that career path. I share the ins and outs of a beauty career—what to expect, what to avoid, and what to prepare for in an entry-level position.

Are there any special strategies you use when it comes to preparing students to find a job?
I teach my students to have a “three-legged pitch” for networking and interviewing. In addition to a resume and cover letter, they prepare a mini career portfolio that demonstrates their internship/work accomplishments and skills. It's a great ice-breaker and shows extra effort. Several of my students have told me that their mini-portfolio helped them clinch an internship!

What are the advantages that an LIM education confers?
Most colleges focus on academics via book learning. LIM has the unique ability to offer academics paired with real-life experience through internships, so students can gain business knowledge and then apply it in a corporate environment. They also have career coaches to help guide their career development. Professors have firsthand experience in the industry, and this knowledge is invaluable to students exploring and beginning their careers.