Department of Marketing
VCU School of Business
Snead Hall, Room B3185
301 West Main Street
P.O. Box 844000
Richmond, VA 23284-4000
Office Hours: M-F, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Closed University Holidays
Tell us a little bit about how you initially came to the VCU School of Business and the Marketing Department.
I absolutely love being a member of VCU’s Marketing Department. I tell people all the time that, for me, being a faculty member here has been like hitting the lottery! I get to go to a job I love, work with an amazing team of colleagues, help develop students and be a part of a life-long learning community. What’s not to love?
I have fellow professor Bob Kelley to thank for my introduction to Dr. Little! After our introductory meeting, Dr. Little invited me to become an adjunct faculty member teaching Services Marketing in the evening. Over time, I began teaching additional courses, and VCU really began to feel like home. I was truly thrilled to be offered a full time position in the department.
Prior to working for VCU, you had an interesting career outside of academia. What kind of work did you do in the corporate and nonprofit sectors? Are you still involved in those arenas?
Before entering academia, I served as an Executive Committee Member and as the Senior Vice President, Director of Marketing for the former First Market Bank (now Union Bank). In that role, I had responsibility for developing and executing the corporate marketing strategy; building and strengthening the bank’s brand; commercial and retail product development, management and pricing; advertising and public relations; social media strategy and execution and business analysis.
I have also been a very active member of my community, serving on boards of large and small nonprofits doing important work in our community. From Junior Achievement to Saint Andrew’s School, I have centered my volunteer efforts on causes that are important to me as a Richmonder.
From a marketing perspective, how do the corporate and nonprofit worlds compare?
I think these worlds are merging. Non-profits have always been challenged with managing a “double bottom line,” in other words, managing their profitability and viability as an organization while also advancing their mission. More and more, for profits are being asked to do the same. It is no longer just about selling stuff. Transparency and mission impact are becoming such an important part of the strategy for organizations of all sizes.
You teach MKTG 301 (Marketing Principles), so you are many business students’ first introduction to the marketing field. What do you most want those students to understand about marketing? Are there any misconceptions about marketing that they come in with?
I want for students to understand how rich and varied the marketing field is. As a marketing professional, there are so many paths available to you, and I want students to leave the course with a context of the field and a curiosity about how they want to participate in it.
I think the biggest misconception about marketing is that it is all creative and not quantitative. I tell students that marketing is not responsible for creating excellent ads and messaging. It is responsible for creating excellent ads and messaging that make money for the company. To be a strong marketing professional and to grow into a marketing leader, you must understand how what you do contributes to the income statement and you must be able to talk to the other executives around the table about how what you do drives revenue and profitability for the company.
You are the faculty advisor to the VCU Collegiate Chapter of the American Marketing Association. Why should students get involved with AMA?
AMA is a great way to develop your marketing skills, expand your professional network…and have fun! Through our speaker series, our workshops and the job bank available to you, you can begin to find ways to further differentiate yourself in the job market. Plus, if you work hard, you may be selected to join us in New Orleans at our national conference where you can compete for national recognition in different marketing areas.
You hold a Bachelor of Business Administration with a Marketing Concentration from College of William and Mary and an MBA in Strategic Leadership from the University of Richmond. How have you seen marketing change since you were a student?
It might be quicker for me to say how marketing hasn’t changed! It really has evolved in every way possible. And I think the evolution will continue at an exponential rate. Companies no longer hold the brand of the organization, customers do. Messaging channels are more available than ever before. Clever ads no longer create strong brands, clarity and transparency do.
What this means for students is that it is more important than ever to understand your customer and your strategy. Marketing may change, but in the end it is about identifying your audience and connecting with them in a way that captivates them and turns them into a raving fan for your business.
What do you most enjoy about teaching in the Marketing Department?
This might be the most difficult question of all! There are so many things I love about working here!
I absolutely love working with our students. Hearing their stories, working side by side with them throughout the semester, helping them design a path for their future and hearing about all of the wonderful things they are doing in the world after they graduate is not only a pleasure, it is a privilege.
I also love my team of colleagues. I am very lucky to be surrounded by such smart, capable and captivating people.
Finally, I feel very lucky to be in an environment that supports me professionally. I am encouraged to attend conferences, to develop new skills and to participate in summer programs that are important to me. Working on a team that supports life-long learning in this way is a privilege.
You have had a great career. What advice do you have for students who are hoping to make their mark in the business world, and specifically in the marketing profession?
My mentor once told me that “You make your own luck.” And while I am still a believer in the power of a little good luck, I do believe that hard work will get you everywhere. Everyone will show up, but thinking hard and making a real and meaningful contribution is what will make you a success. It is easy to go to work, check things off a list and go home. It is challenging to think about how to make a real difference in the lives of your customers and to actually have the discipline and patience to do it.
I also think that following your passion and being open to new opportunities can really transform your life. Teaching was that for me.
I was awarded my marketing job because my hard work was recognized, and that has enabled me to do everything I am doing now; I took an unexpected turn into academics by being open to a new opportunity that at the time seemed a bit scary. But even though it was a big change, full of uncertainty and unknowns, I jumped in and applied those same work ethic principles to my new career. And I can say confidently that joining VCU has been the very best decision I ever could have made.
So my advice is to work hard, contribute, trust yourself and stay open to the bends in the road. You could end up somewhere really amazing if you do.
|Dr. Mayoor Mohan|
|Dr. Brian Brown||Dr. Jodie Ferguson
|Dr. Haeran Jae||Dr. Kenneth Kahn|
|Dr. Michael Little||Dr. Frank Franzak|
|Dr. Suzanne Makarem||Dr. Thomas Myers|
|Dr. Wayne Slough||Dr. Van Wood