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My First Job: Marilyn Santiago

The president of Creative Architectural Resin Products reflects on her early work life.




My first job was as a DJ for a radio station in my hometown in Puerto Rico. It was a very interesting experience that gave me the opportunity to learn how to analyze marketing from the perspective of a radio station that serves two different clients: the audience and the advertisers. I was able to work with marketing at its best while dealing with promotions and strategies for all different types of clients.


However, one Valentine’s Day I was asked to fill in for a DJ as the morning personality and received a playlist from the program director that I was supposed to play. I was appalled when I realized there were very few romantic songs on the playlist. When I came across the song Tarzan Boy on the playlist, I stopped the playlist and started playing songs that were more in the Valentine’s Day spirit. I remember playing music from REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, Led Zeppelin and Neil Young—all hot artists at the time. This was also the day I lost my job; playing music that is not on the playlist from the program director is a big “no.”

Even after losing my job, I continued to work in the industry as operations manager and manager of radio stations, program director of radio stations nationwide and vice president of programming for radio networks nationwide for the span of 30 years. Through this experience, I learned all the right and wrong things to do in the industry. I applied all this knowledge to my specialty in marketing, which helped me become

a better professional and eased my transition into talent management as I became the liaison between high-profile artists and major companies. [Later on, I decided
to reinvent myself in a different field where I could use my skills in marketing.] So, I entered the construction business. After many challenges, my partner and I secured the finances and equipment to start Creative Architectural Resin Products. Three years later, CARP is growing and doing exceptionally well.

–As told to Makayla Connor 

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