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. Angie Labuschagne was one of two 2Utes selected as the winners of the Strive for Excellence award.
Angie Labuschagne is a self-proclaimed “vintage GetSmarter.” In 2014, she applied for a role at the growing South African edtech startup—now a brand of 2U, Inc.—and hasn’t looked back since.
“I’d followed GetSmarter for a year at that point, and was excited by the prospect of joining their team and making an impact through education,” says Angie. “Coming from a family that got ahead through education, I’ve seen firsthand how it can create opportunities and a sense of accomplishment.”
Angie’s passion quickly paid off. “I was successful in my GetSmarter interviews, and the rest was history,” she recalls. Read on to learn what accomplishments Angie has achieved over the past seven years with GetSmarter—from launching its first international courses with MIT to collaborating with Cape Town’s creative studio.
Angie (third from left) and her colleagues doing some team-building on a pirate boat in Cape Town's Table Bay
Why did you join GetSmarter? What is it about the company that sparked your interest?
I loved the mission of changing lives through better education. This really resonates with me, since I believe education provides integral knowledge—setting people on the path to personal and career growth.
How has your role evolved over the past seven years with GetSmarter?
It’s changed a lot. I started off on the marketing team, working as an account executive to support strategic partnerships and content campaigns like the GetSmarter annual career guide. From there, I moved into the role of product marketing manager, leading a team that focused on promoting short courses from top South African universities. Then, when GetSmarter expanded its goals and looked globally, I was part of the small marketing team that launched our first two international courses with MIT.
Angie and her horse, Apache, in her happy place in the forest
Shortly after that, we aimed to increase the number of courses taken to market both locally and internationally. There was an immediate need for people who could manage internal and external marketing stakeholders, so I built a team of account managers to guide GetSmarter toward important milestones. During that time, GetSmarter was acquired by 2U and we became part of the 2U family. I moved into a new role where I worked on effectively integrating with 2U and scaling GetSmarter operations. There was so much to learn and so many people to meet, which still rings true years later.
After teams were grown and processes were developed, we needed creative marketing assets to advertise our products and portfolios. I started a team to facilitate the supply and delivery of these assets to different marketing channels for advertising. Soon after, I recognized an opportunity to deliver more value by merging our advertising and creative operations—reducing overlap and increasing the value we could deliver. And that brings me to today! Now, I’m responsible for helping Cape Town’s wonderful creative studio deliver assets to marketing and learning teams across multiple product lines. We aim to quickly deliver quality through people, processes, and technology.
Celebrating the first MIT short course going live
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
The most rewarding aspect is that our entire team has a growth mindset. You’re never the person in the room who knows everything, and that’s a wonderful place to be. We constantly look to improve, gain efficiency, innovate, and learn.
There’s a lot to be proud of looking back at the past seven years, and none of my achievements have been solo acts. I’ve been privileged to work alongside many wonderful people during my time at 2U—and together, we’ve achieved so much.
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’m humbled and honored to be recognized, but I have to reiterate that this award belongs to my entire team. No person achieves things alone, and this couldn't be more true in my case. I’m so grateful for the team members who make me better—the people who I’m able to continuously learn from and who challenge me daily to show up as the best version of myself and deliver value for 2U.
Angie (right) and a colleague painting a pre-school during 2U's Days of Service
In your own words, how would you describe the guiding principle you epitomize: Strive for Excellence?
When you strive for excellence, you’re always asking “Where am I now?” and “How can I improve?” I often refer to myself as a work in progress, and I don't ever think this will change. Human beings are dynamic, and I see striving for excellence as the journey, not the destination.
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