St. Kate’s Panel Discussion Q&A

Last month I had the honor of speaking on a panel at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn. The discussion was focused on marketing and social media. I had a great time sharing my experiences to help the students and learning from the other panelists George Sawyer, Tierney Krienert and  Kelli Ramirez. Special thanks to Beverly Kumar for extending the invitation.

Here are a few of the questions from the evening and my answers:

1. What does your average workday look like?

My days as a marketing/brand manager with Allina Hospitals & Clinics vary, of course. Daily tasks might include participating in a number of meetings, reviewing creative work from our ad agency, writing or editing internal communications, building strategies to address business/brand issues, monitoring health care news and trends, presenting plans and/or creative to executive leaders, competitive and market research…. and fielding calls from more ad sales reps than you can imagine.

2. Does your career fulfill you on a personal level? If so, how? What part of your job do you find most rewarding and challenging?

I’m fulfilled when two things happen – 1) I know my work makes a difference and 2) I’m challenged by the work. This is why I work in health care, and one of the best parts of my job is knowing my work touches patients and helps inform their decisions.

However, it’s getting more difficult to feel challenged the longer I do it. Believe me, I’d be thrilled if I never wrote brochure copy ever again! Doing the “same old” things doesn’t sit well with me. It’s the firsts that I get jazzed about – and my current role has given me some of those. For example last summer I produced a series of television ads, which was my first time working in that space.

3. How did you get to where you are now? (could be education, training, etc.) Has social media/networking affected the evolution of your career? If so, how?

I have a PR degree from Drake University, from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. I was trained as a PR writer and a journalist and, most importantly, required to get some solid internships under my belt before graduation. This made a big difference in my early career.

Of course social media didn’t exist when I first began working in marketing, but I’ve always been attracted to the web and online tools. I began blogging years ago (see my other blog Marketing Mama) as more of a hobby and space for reflection. Once I added Facebook and Twitter to the picture I began to broaden my network professionally in a new and different way. This network is important to me – not only because of the great friendships and business relationships I’ve developed, but also for the ways I’ve been able to use it in, and for, my career.

4. What is the biggest way you’ve seen social media/internet change the way business do business and how has it directly impacted the way you perform at work?

The biggest change I’ve noticed is increased access to our businesses by our communities/patients/customers. I think we all agree how important it is for businesses/brands to participate in social media, especially on Facebook and Twitter. But that presence can’t be one way communications. Many people will use social platforms to get a brand’s attention, ask for help or complain about a problem. This is both an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity is it gives brands a chance to have a (hopefully) positive interaction with that customer and (again, hopefully) resolve any concerns quickly. The challenge is to stay relevant, engage in a meaningful way and provide useful enough content that people want to stay connected with you.

5. Do you have any advice or tips on how to establish a brand for marketing yourself/or career without seemingly “tooting your own horn?”

This can be tricky – we are challenged to be authentic online without appearing boastful. Ultimately all social platforms are a bit narcissistic by nature. Here are a few tactical pieces of advice:

a. Match your online footprint to your professional aspirations. If it doesn’t fit, change it — or develop a second footprint to address your career.

b. Use a blog for thought leadership. Share your opinion on current events and hot topics in your industry. This is a great way to establish yourself without being too boastful. Be careful your posts aren’t rants and focus more on positive content than criticisms.

c. Showcase others. One way to take the focus off yourself is to feature others. These can be peers, businesses whose practice you admire or online and offline resources. Do this on all platforms -  feature others on your blog, re-tweeting/sharing meaningful things from others on Twitter and link to great things on Facebook.

Thanks again to the staff and students at St. Kate’s for the opportunity to connect with you on marketing and social media!

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  1. I’m so glad I was able to catch some of this panel discussion. It was great to hear from you and the others on the panel. You all provided very great and educational information. As a student at St. Kate’s, I like knowing we are bringing in real-world experiences to our classes.

    • Thanks Leah! I was so glad you were able to attend that evening, for many reasons! It was my first exposure to St. Kate’s – what a great school with great people!

  2. I was honored to speak on the panel and to be on such great company.
    I really enjoyed hearing your story and learning more about your success.
    Anyone who has the chance to meet/network/get to know you is very fortunate. You have and continue to make a name for yourself through your work and being a great mom. Remember- you can be happy where you are, but always keep one foot out the door.

    • Thanks Kelli – it was great to meet you and learn from you as well. Totally agree on your last sentence – don’t get too comfortable and be planning for the next opportunity. :)

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