This story is a part of our “A Day in the Life'' series that highlights the career journeys of 2U employees across the world. This article celebrates one of our 2020 No Back Row Award winners—an employee recognized for embracing one of 2U’s nine Guiding Principles. Ellie Hook was one of two 2Utes selected as the winners of the Don't Let the Skeptic Win award.
Senior Manager of Insights and Operations Ellie Hook is one of many 2Utes who’ve been able to take advantage of the company’s tuition benefit plan for eligible employees. Two years ago, she earned her MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School, one of the many online degree programs powered by 2U, while continuing to work full-time.
Ellie first joined 2U as a writer and then an editor on the Content Marketing team, working on our university partners’ program blogs. Soon after she began the MBA@UNC program, she thrived with applying her statistics, operations, managerial accounting, and leadership coursework to team projects.
“I was asked to launch a new insights and operations strategy function,” Ellie says, “helping Content Marketing leadership measure business impact, model capacity and resource allocation for their teams, and consult on areas of growth and opportunity based on insights.”
Ellie (top row, fourth from left) training for Teach For America in Los Angeles
Ellie’s drive to succeed is ultimately fueled by her passion for educational equity. “I started my career teaching high school English Language Arts with Teach For America in the Bay Area,” she says, “followed by working at IXL Learning, a K-12 edtech company, in consulting and proposals management. 2U seemed like a natural fit to continue supporting university partners with expanding their reach to more and different students across the globe.”
Read on to learn more about Ellie’s role at 2U, why dashboards and metrics are her favorite professional pastime, and what her No Back Row Award for “Don’t Let the Skeptic Win”—one of 2U’s nine Guiding Principles—means to her.
Ellie (far left) serving on an EdTechWomen San Francisco panel for "Building a Mission-Based Culture"
How would you describe your role as senior manager of insights and operations at 2U?
I lead insights and operations for the Content Marketing teams, which includes our content, outreach, and social media teams. I’ve built out a reporting infrastructure to track, inform, test, and refine our team’s performance, responsibilities, and processes.
What do you find most rewarding and challenging about your job?
One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is equipping the various teams I support with actionable insights, hopefully making their work more efficient and effective. Some of my favorite parts of my role are consulting with team leads, analyzing data, and using those insights to inform operational decisions on our team (launching initiatives, refining processes, allocating resources, and more).
Because we’re often creating new tests or new ways of measuring performance, it can be challenging to find the right data and then come up with ways to automate and scale insights.
Ellie (right) volunteering at D.C. Central Kitchen for the Marketing Team's "Cause of the Quarter" in March 2020
Out of everything you’ve done at 2U so far, what gives you the most pride?
I partnered with the social media team to figure out how they could go from referencing in-platform data for each social channel they manage to creating dashboards for all 240+ social channels to inform their prioritization, strategy, and impact reporting. We found a way to take large raw-data files from social media platforms to create Tableau dashboards, where users can filter by program, dates, campaigns, topics, performance, and more. This first step served as a gateway for creating a prioritization model for all channels and partnering with the CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) team to track on-site metrics like traffic and conversions that originate from the social team’s posts.
Each of 2U’s 2020 No Back Row Award winners were recognized for their commitment to one of the company’s nine Guiding Principles. What does this honor mean to you?
I love working at 2U because I get to partner with and learn from my awesome teammates. This award means so much to me because my team nominated me, and I deeply value their dedication, support, and talent.
Ellie's last pre-COVID trip abroad, to visit her brother who lives in Spain, in September 2019
In your own words, how would you describe the guiding principle you epitomize: Don’t Let the Skeptic Win?
To me, “Don’t Let the Skeptic Win” means recognizing barriers to achieving an important goal but relentlessly pursuing that objective nonetheless. On my team, we’ve creatively found ways to overcome a resource gap or area of ambiguity to begin testing, measuring, refining, and scaling successful strategies together.
Learn more about us.
At 2U, we’re on a mission—to eliminate the back row in higher education and help universities thrive in the digital age. To learn more about who we are and what we do, follow the links below.