Less than a decade after graduating from UCR, Sheba Roy, 30, has led brand building and marketing strategy for some of the world’s largest companies, including Fujitsu, Dell, Google, and Meta — the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. The most important brand she’s ever promoted isn’t a tech giant though. It’s herself.
“I’ve never had to apply for a job because I’ve always been recruited for positions,” said Roy, who earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2013. “That’s because I’ve used speaking and networking opportunities to build a personal brand that companies want to be associated with. You have to focus on yourself. ‘What is the Sheba brand?’”
Roy, who was born in India, moved with her family to the San Francisco Bay Area when she was 10 years old. The region’s ethnic diversity and cultural tapestry instantly made her feel at home. As the first in her family to attend a U.S. university, she looked for similar qualities as she toured college campuses.
“When I visited UC Riverside and spoke with the faculty and students, I saw the diversity across the campus. I fell in love with it,” she said.
Once at UCR, she fell in love again — this time with the idea of marketing. Classes with Professor Sean Jasso, a political economist and business ethicist, taught her critical thinking and business strategy skills that have become mainstays in her professional life.
“AS LONG AS YOU LEARN AND GROW YOUR SKILLS EVERY DAY, ALL THE PIECES WILL FALL TOGETHER.”
“I love the idea that you can take a product that no one knows about and transform it into something that people want and love,” said Roy, who was recently named a top marketer on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list. “It’s not easy to take a product to market, but it’s a challenge that I love.”
Roy worked for several consumer goods companies, including Diamond Foods — the home of nuts, kettle chips, and other snacks — and Disney, before taking an unplanned detour into the technology sector. She worked for Dell, where she marketed cybersecurity products, and then Google, where her work on the cloud computing team resulted in multimillion dollar partnerships with some of the world’s largest technology firms. In 2021, she was recruited by Meta to help market the company’s messaging platforms to businesses seeking to engage with customers and achieve a competitive advantage. For Roy, the job is the ideal mix of working internationally to build relationships and partnerships that serve clients’ needs.
“I like the versatility of the work I do and the field I am in,” she said. “You can market anything, you can be a marketer anywhere in the world, and every day is different.”
Her advice to students: Don’t worry if your career path takes a different trajectory than you imagined.
“I fell into tech accidentally, but I absolutely love it now,” Roy said. “I would tell students not to worry about having a linear career path, and that as long as you learn and grow your skills every day, all the pieces will fall together.”
Achieving work-life balance is also important, said Roy, who juggles her demanding career with another full- time job: mom to a 10-month-old son.
“Finding a job that you love is important because it’s such a big part of you, but don’t forget about the other things that are important to you,” she said. “Your career is just one part. There are so many other parts of your identity — your family, your hobbies, your passions — and you have to balance that.”