In a new commercial released by Macy’s featuring its fall collection as part of its “Find the Remarkable You” campaign, Macy’s recognized six different real-life women from six different impressive professions. One of them is Vanessa Beckman, a Cal Poly Pomona alumna, and current CPP graduate student who is a fourth-grade teacher in the Bonita Unified School District.

Macy’s advertising team first approached Beckman, who is currently finishing her master’s in education at CPP with an emphasis in multimedia, via her Instagram account.

Vanessa Beckman in the “Find the Remarkable You” campaign. (Courtesy of Jack Waterlot and BBDO New York)

“I have an Instagram account where I post activities I do with my students,” Beckman said. “I created it to connect with other teachers. I received a direct message from Macy’s advertising team and thought it was spam at first, so I didn’t respond. Then they emailed me on my work email and I knew they were serious.”

Beckman knew that there would be other women featured in the commercial but she didn’t know who they were or what they would be doing.

“We filmed the commercial in June and it was released in September. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the finished product,” she said.

The other five “remarkable women” in the commercial are Becky Hammon, assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs and the first female NBA basketball coach; Tiffiny Blacknell, a public defender in Los Angeles; JoAnne Falletta, a conductor and music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and Virginia Symphony Orchestra; Patricia Valoy, a civil engineer from New York; and Mishaal Ashemimry, an aerospace engineer from Miami.

Six noteworthy women are featured in the Macy’s campaign. (Courtesy of Jack Waterlot and BBDO New York)

The ad shows each woman getting ready for the day from choosing the day’s clothes to applying their makeup, then it quickly cuts to scenes of each of them working on the job with No Doubt’s “I’m Just a Girl” playing in the background.

The commercial also shows Beckman with a group of students with safety goggles on, counting down to watch their class project rocket launch.

“The children in the commercial are child actors, but when the commercial came out, I did show my class the commercial and my students really liked it,” Beckman said.

Beckman completed her teaching credential in 2013. She has now been a fourth-grade teacher for five years. Beckman says her experience at CPP greatly prepared her for becoming a teacher.

Vanessa Beckman shows off the finished advertisement hanging in a Macy’s store. (Courtesy of Vanessa Beckman)

“I think Cal Poly is pretty underrated,” she said. “When I was in the credential program, I was in a cohort with other student teachers. Our program required us to meet up weekly to discuss our individual experiences student teaching with one another. We had a built-in support system, which I don’t think is something a lot of other schools had.”

Beckman said one of the hardest and funniest things about being featured in this campaign was that she had to keep it a secret from her family and friends. She wasn’t able to tell anyone about it till the commercial was released.

“Once the commercial was out, I told everyone, and my family was really proud. Friends and family [would] send me pictures of my poster that is up in different Macy’s stores around the U.S. I’ve received pictures of me from Chicago, New York and San Francisco,” she said.

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