Growth Story: Austen Legler of Immertec
Welcome to our Growth Story series, where you’ll meet startup team members—either natives, boomerangs or transplants—in Tampa-St. Petersburg who are building and scaling their ventures to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. We interviewed Austen Legler, Director of Marketing for Immertec, a real-time 3D VR communications platform that allows professionals to seamlessly train, consult, and observe any time, anywhere.
Where are you from?
Bradenton, Florida. I definitely consider myself a Tampa Bay native. I grew up only 1-hour away.
Tell us more about your role at Immertec. What does a day in the life look like?
It’s different every day, which I love. But my main focus since I came into the role has been on building strong marketing foundations that are going to set us up for sustainable success. This means really honing in and building out every detail of our branding, making sure our messaging is concise and tells a compelling story about who we are and what we do, and working with my awesome marketing team to come up with creative content strategies that resonate with our audience and compel them to action.
How did you get your career started and what challenges did you face along the way?
I come from a long line of lawyers in my family, so I was also expected to go to law school. But I knew early on this wasn’t for me, I wanted to carve my own path so I figured if I wasn’t going to become an attorney, I would pursue something in business. I just wasn’t sure what avenue of business to pursue. There are so many options; finance, human resources, management, entrepreneurship, and marketing. But then in my junior year of college, I took my first marketing class, and immediately knew this was something that could lead to a fulfilling career and allow me to flex my creative muscles.
After college, I got to work on building my skills and gaining experience. I worked for a large museum, handling all of their digital and social media content, I worked for a non-profit, and I spent five years at a small marketing agency.
Through these experiences, my skills slowly grew. But I knew there were bigger and better opportunities out there, and I wanted to push myself further out of my comfort zone. So I started making the hour drive up to Tampa just about every week to attend events, and learn more about the local startup ecosystem. I eventually made some connections, which led to more connections and so on. Before I knew it, I was sitting in front of our CEO being offered the Director of Marketing job!
I did of course face many challenges. I got rejected from a lot of other jobs before landing my current one, which was discouraging. It made me question myself at times, and whether or not the path I was pursuing was the right one. But I made the decision to keep going, and now I know that all those rejections were just leading me to something bigger and better.
How has this region shaped your career or startup journey?
I’m super grateful to have found an amazing community here, with amazing peers. Working in the Tampa startup ecosystem is different than anything I’ve experienced before. Everyone I’ve interacted with seems to have a genuine desire to support and collaborate with one another. I’ve already grown so much as a professional and a human being since beginning my journey with Immertec. I can’t imagine doing what I do anywhere else.
What tactical advice can you share from building your startup or career?
Be patient with yourself, embrace failure and be willing to make mistakes. At the same time, cultivate an insatiable hunger for learning. This is the formula for positive growth.
Where do you see Tampa Bay next? How do you play a role in this future?
It’s been amazing to see the incredible growth of Tampa in the last several years. And I think we’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible for the startup ecosystem. With organizations like Embarc Collective and Tampa Bay Wave acting as amazing advocates for the startup community, the future is bright! I hope to continue to get the opportunity to learn from amazing entrepreneurs and help build potentially world-changing companies here in the Tampa region.
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