Max Rosenberg

Credentials: Despaña Brand Foods

Position title: Head of Marketing & Business Development

Photo of Max Rosenberg

Major: Journalism (emphasis in Strategic Communications)

Certificate: Digital Studies

Graduation Date: May 2016

How did you end up at Despaña Brand Foods?

After UW, I knew I wanted to have an experience internationally. I had studied abroad in London during my junior year, and had an itch to get back to Europe after that. I also knew I wanted to learn another language. I found an English teaching program that set me up to teach in the public school system within Madrid as an “English Teaching Assistant.” I really had no business teaching English, but in the end they just wanted native speakers to work with students to learn the language more organically. No experience was necessary. I had two amazing years there, but knew it was time to pack it up after I reached a bit of a professional ceiling (although, life outside of work was lovely).

From there, I moved to New York City in search of a job in the realm of my degree. However, I knew I wanted to maintain a link to Spain and its culture…I fell in love with it, and I also met a wonderful woman I had intentions to keep seeing. She still lived in Madrid.

That’s when I came across Despaña. I sent an email to their general outreach section and essentially stated I have a background in marketing and communications, and loved Spain. It was a BIG shot in the dark. I soon heard from the owner, and she expressed she was not sure what role I would fill, but she wanted to meet. I eventually got the job, and over time I carved out more and more responsibility. Now, three years later, I’m a manager within the company with huge responsibilities to help our brand grow…and I get to spend time in Spain and NYC. Crazy?!

Moral of the story: Even if there are no listed jobs for a place you like, always reach out and introduce yourself! You never know what response you might get.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

I’m part of a small team with a lot of moving pieces, so my responsibilities are all over the place! For reference, Despaña Brand Foods is an importer of specialty foods from Spain. We sell these imported specialties to restaurants and markets throughout NYC and the country, while also operating a couple of brick and mortar retail stores throughout NYC, alongside a growing online shop that allows us to sell B2C across the country.

Primarily, I focus on our digital marketing initiatives, with a strong focus on email marketing and e-commerce management of our online shop. I spend a lot of time creating content that highlights the brands we bring in, along with our own Despaña private label. In addition, I manage our social media profiles and curate content daily for our feeds. I compliment those activities with communication with valued wholesale restaurant clients and markets in our network, serving as an account manager of sorts. With so many different facets of our business, I juggle many things daily.

My role involves jumping between NYC and Madrid, Spain, and I am based in Madrid at the moment as I look to foster enhanced relationships with the brands we import. The goal is to create more content that will help drive sales of these specialty foods within the American market.

How has Digital Studies influenced your career path?

I loved UW and my classes in the J-School and throughout my Digital Studies Certificate. My ability to communicate and understand the importance of digital tools and their impact has greatly directed my professional trajectory. I knew after school that I wanted to work within the realm of marketing and communications with an emphasis on utilizing digital tools. I can comfortably say that I would not be where I am today without my work in school.

Do you have any advice for current students?

First, I would say really take advantage of making relationships with your professors. Learn as much as you can and stay curious in your thoughts. After being out of school for a while now, sometimes you can miss having access to such an awesome network of educators that have a vast amount of knowledge in their field. They might prove to be helpful down the line as well.

Second, take your coursework seriously and find enjoyment in it. More often than not we tend to appreciate things once they are over, and the classes you’ll take throughout your Digital Studies certificate are going to have much more impact on your direction than you might realize.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career thus far?

I feel very lucky and proud to be where I am, having carved out a career for myself using the skills I acquired in school, mixed with my passion for a country and it’s cuisine.

However, throughout my time at Despaña, I am most proud of my working efforts during the first year of the pandemic in 2020. In NYC, most of the restaurants we serviced closed down, essentially wiping out a huge part of our business overnight. Like many, I was laid off for a while and had to collect unemployment, which was quite a humbling experience. However, throughout that, I opted to really focus on developing our website and interacting with our customers through more digital marketing tools to drive sales to our online channels. This initiative ended up creating a life boat of sorts for our business as we were able to redirect a lot of our working efforts to servicing more individual consumers. It also showed that we can operate a lot more online and in turn, it has become a key element of our business that I oversee now.

I was able to play a role in helping our business survive during the most difficult time in the history of our industry and create a new role for myself. I’m quite proud of that.