As a marketing professional, I’ve been fortunate to work in a number of places. Each term was long enough to transition through several business cycles –experiencing upclose the many different ways people in this business interact. In the eighties, I was deeply immersed in the advertising agency world. Fresh from college and my first stint on the creative side at DeWitt/Hess and later, transitioning to management, ultimately leading a team of professionals and learning how to collaborate, lead, direct and win! Exciting times as VP Account Group Director at an agency called CMF&Z, part of the Young & Rubicam Worldwide network. Long gone now, those of us who worked at CMF&Z were part of something very special. In fact, just two years ago, one of my new clients said, “Oh! you’re one of them.” when she learned about my 14 year stint at CMF&Z. I guess the alumni standout.
From agency days to entrepreneur, I started my own business in marketing services when my husband and I moved to eastern Iowa on the Mississippi River. What I was expecting to be a tranquil existence as new-mother-married-to-local-banker, turned out to be anything but as I quickly developed a client list from hospitals and clinics to manufacturing and service businesses up and down and across The River. I learned more from those very local clients than I ever imagined I would. I can sum up that time with a favorite phrase, one I still use when meeting a new client, “I’ll never know as much about your business as you do.” Clients know it’s true. Admitting it simply sets the stage for me to jump into a deep dive of understanding. Absorbing everything about the brand is necessary before it’s even possible to develop messages and programs that are right on.
Moving back to central Iowa meant letting go of those very local clients and tending to three active children who were getting used to new schools, new friends and life in the suburbs. Quickly, I returned to work full-time at the Iowa Foundation for Medical Care. IFMC was a company growing by leaps and bounds, but with little exposure beyond the industry of Utilization Review – a very hot topic in the regulated healthcare environment. My job was writing the monthly magazine and newsletters explaining new and complicated concepts about health insurance coverage to the employees of our many client businesses.
Most recently, I helped start and lead a Client Solutions team for Gannett, one of the nation’s leading publishing companies. I would call my position intraprenuerial as I intersected with businesses both large and small. Our job was to serve both Sales and Clients as they learned how to move from the traditional media environment to one that is increasingly complicated by digital and social media choices. Ten years later, Gannett leads the publishing industry with its vast array of digital products and services – and I’ve moved on to a new chapter.
My clients have shaped my view of the world of work, formed the foundation of my success and taught me about myself in the process.
From the title of this blog, one would think I’m all business. But I am also a mom who works out, travels, volunteers, loves sports, great restaurants, good wine and tries to be healthier. I am a news junkie. And, I am passionate about the state of Iowa, our universities, our land and our businesses. Just like my clients.
I hope you enjoy the blog. Please consider sending me your thoughts and sharing your input.