By Amanda Blumeyer
As part of our Highlight series, we're shining a light on notable Kellstadt alumni. Get inspired by their success stories and learn how to make the most of your time at DePaul.
What is your academic background?
I earned my bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Ohio State University, and then I went through the evening MBA program at DePaul, specializing in Finance. Since I had the foundation in marketing already, I wanted to focus my Master’s studies on more of the financial aspects – interpreting income statements, understanding company performance, etc.
Which marketing class at DePaul was most valuable to you and why?
So many courses were memorable, but one that stands out was a business communications course – I believe it’s now MKT 576: Effective Business Communications – which I took with Professor Whalen. At the time I was not a confident public speaker, but in my current role it’s a rare day when I’m not in front of a group of people presenting an idea. The ability to effectively articulate a pitch, ask for funding, or clearly present an argument is so critical to success at any level in our careers.
I vividly recall the time in Professor Whalen’s class where we were videotaped giving presentations. He had a genius hack (not that we used that term back in the day!) of re-playing the footage in fast-forward. This dramatically highlights a speaker’s physical tics – things like unconsciously shifting back and forth from foot to foot, repeated gesturing, putting your hair behind you ear, etc. - and can diminish your ability to effectively deliver your message. Being cognizant of these kind of subconscious things is so important when you’re presenting, and Professor Whalen was instrumental in helping me improve this critical skill.
Is there a marketing class you wish you’d taken during your time at DePaul but didn’t? Which one and why?
I was looking on DePaul’s website and noticed MKT 583: Monetizing Marketing Strategy. ROI-centric marketing is an expectation in today’s economy. The ability to tie marketing expenses to revenue contribution is critical – tracking and analyzing lead attribution, understanding the conversion of leads to opportunities and then closed wins, for example. Getting access to this data is certainly easier with today’s technology, and the art of quantifying and articulating how any marketing programs contribute to overall company performance is well worth the time and effort. I certainly wish I’d taken a class like MKT 583 when was at DePaul!
How do you go about networking? What recommendations do you have for current students who are looking to grow their network?
I encourage anyone to invest time in networking. When I was living in Chicago and attending DePaul, I participated in a women’s mentoring program where young women just starting out in our careers were paired with high-profile female leaders in their industries. It’s so important to have the opportunity to learn from people who have already gone through similar challenges you may be facing at work today.
Here in Atlanta, Elavon is a major sponsor for Technology Association of Georgia, and their events are a great resource for networking, as just one example. It’s not just about who you meet at these events – though that’s important, too – but it’s also about the topics of conversation. What you find is that your counterparts at other firms are encountering the same issues across the board in any given industry. Struggles are shared universally. The discussions you have at a networking event can be so helpful; your peers can often provide fresh perspectives on the same issues you’re encountering. You might learn about a new software or training program utilized successfully at another company, which you might be able to implement into your own.
What's next in your career path?
I started my career in sales at JCB, a Japanese credit card company, which is when I was enrolled in DePaul’s evening MBA program. After a relocation to Atlanta in time for the 1996 Olympics here, I transitioned to business development and product marketing at Equifax, followed by a brief stint in supply chain management field marketing at Manhattan Associates. This ultimately led to a global product marketing role four years ago at Elavon, the payments subsidiary of US Bank.
I’ve recently been promoted to SVP & Head of Global Marketing at Elavon. It’s an exciting time for our business; US Bank has a keen focus on the fintech space, and is committed to further strengthening Elavon’s competitive position in eCommerce and integrated payments. In an industry known for disruptors and technological innovation, it’s a privilege to be leading the transformation of our marketing team’s organizational structure, skills and tools to contribute to our company’s success. We’ve grown our North American marketing team by 40% in the last six months, and have a similar initiative underway in the EU, so there’s never a dull day!