Mostly Marketing by Theresa B. Clarke

Sharing my love of marketing. Helping marketing students, marketing practitioners, & marketing professors connect with one another. Passionate about nurturing new marketing talent. Enjoys sharing novel ideas about a wide variety of topics…but mostly marketing.

Complimentary DMAW/EF One-on-One Lunch ’n Learn

The DMAW/EF is offering one lucky student a terrific opportunity to learn more about direct marketing.

During a complimentary one-on-one Lunch ‘n Learn, the winning student will have a chance to sit down and pick the brains of a renowned direct marketer, Brian Brilliant, founder of Brilliant Communications, an award-winning direct response agency.

Brian will buy the winning student lunch and share what it takes to provide customized direct marketing solutions. To enter the drawing, please mail you name and preferred contact information to me before October 16. The winner will be selected by the DMAW/EF among entrants in a blind drawing and the announcement will be made on Monday, October 24.

*Restrictions: Lunch must occur at a mutually agreeable time at a location within the DC Metro area, expires: 7/15/17

Mariam Bekele Reflects on the 2016 Diversity & Inclusion Mini-Conference at Advertising Week New York

Mariam Bekele, JMU COB Marketing Major attends the 2016 Diversity & Inclusion Conference

Mariam Bekele, JMU COB Marketing Major

Mariam Bekele was a student in my MKTG 384 class (Integrated Marketing Communications) and a member of the JMU College of Business winning team that captured the 3rd Place Bronze Award in the 2015-16 Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Competition.

Mariam recently attended the 2016 Diversity & Inclusion Mini-Conference at Advertising Week New York.  In this interview-based guest post, she shares  reflections about her experience.

 

What is the Diversity & Inclusion Mini-Conference and why did you decide to attend?

    The Diversity & Inclusion Conference is a one day conference presented by the American Advertising Federation in partnership with ADCOLOR. The conference, held during Advertising Week in NY, discusses solutions to the diversity and inclusion issues that still plague the advertising and media industry.  I first heard about the conference from Dr. Theresa Clarke. She was the professor for my Integrated Marketing Communications (MKTG 384) course last semester at JMU. It was actually in her class that I realized my passion for advertising. I visited her office to thank her for a great semester and for helping me realize my passion.  During our conversations, she suggested I attend the Diversity & Inclusion Conference at Advertising Week, NY  and then connected me to the College of Business’ (CoB) Office of Experiential Learning at JMU to learn about financial support for the trip.  Thankfully, Ms. Molly Brown, CoB Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, offered financial aid through her office so I could attend the conference.

    I decided to attend because, as a soon-to-be marketing graduate I couldn’t have imagined a better opportunity. As a woman who comes from a multicultural background, I had a lot to take away from this conference. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to connect with individuals who have similar experiences and also learn from people who have succeeded in the industry despite the many obstacles they have faced.

What did you do at the conference, who did you meet, and what was your biggest takeaway?

The conference started out with a presentation by Norma and Hector Orcí. This husband and wife duo co-founded Orcí Advertising Agency and have been champions in understanding the Latino consumer demographic and helping companies in the US cater to their needs. I learned that firms can no longer afford to lag behind when it comes to the inclusion of minorities, especially since the US is on its way to becoming a “minority-majority” nation.  

Their talk was followed by a panel moderated by Renneta McCann, Chief Talent Officer at Leo Burnett. The panel focused on the experiences of different multiculturals at the workplace. Oftentimes, multicultural employees face micro-aggressions and stereotyping in the business world, especially since minorities only make up about 20% of business employees. That number drops down to 14% when it comes to minority business owners. Due to our small numbers, often times multicultural employees feel invisible in the workforce as a result of people’s unconscious biases. This panel discussed a variety of solutions to the issues faced in the workplace. I felt quite emotional during this part of the conference.  I identified with a lot of their experiences and it was nice to hear I was not alone. One of the biggest problems faced by multiculturals in the workplace is microaggressions from their peers. For the most part we ignore comments like “can I touch your hair” or “ do all black people love watermelon” but sometimes it can be more serious. ‘Idea hijacking’ is something that happens quite often. You are at a meeting, you suggest an idea and for the most part it gets ignored; a few minutes later another colleague will make the same point you did at the meeting but this time, everyone is listening and agrees that it is a great idea. Now this is enough to upset someone at the table, but of course you can’t say anything because if you do then you are perpetuating the stereotype of the “angry black woman” or the “aggressive black man”. A classic catch 22, it’s difficult to professionally react in such a situation. Nigel Adams Chief Talent Officer at Razorfish has an interesting solution to this problem, he calls it being ‘professionally obnoxious’. For example, when someone hijacks your idea at a meeting just be ‘professionally obnoxious’ and say “That’s a great idea, I think I’ve heard that somewhere….oh yeah, I just said the same thing five minutes ago”. Use your humor, be professional, but still get your point across.

Next, we had lunch and all the attendees got a chance to chat about our experiences. I met some great individuals that have been very successful in their fields, and who were kind enough to share their experiences and advice with me.

Following lunch, there was a panel that focused on the intersectionality issues women of color face in the workplace. This was probably my favorite part about the conference. The panel was led by Angela T. Rye, one of the realist and influential political strategists on-air. The panel also consisted of several other talented women who have shined despite the obstacles they have faced in the workplace. The panel didn’t resemble much of a panel, filled with humorous advice it was more like a conversation over lunch with my girlfriends. I could relate a lot to their experiences. It’s already challenging being a woman in such a male-dominated work environment, but being a woman of color comes with certain unique challenges that are different than those other women face.

One of the themes I heard at the conference, and personally experienced, was the feeling that they were treated as invisible and not heard in the workplace.  When feeling like you are treated as invisible, a lot of the panelists suggested speaking up in the workplace and reasserting your ideas and contributions. My plan is to always be prepared in the meeting room, and back up my business solutions with sound research. This is why these women have excelled and found their voice, in an environment that constantly tries to silence and ignore them. They have turned around and used their greatest weakness as their greatest strength.

The biggest thing I took away from this conference is to stay true to myself and stand by what I believe.  One belief that is really important to me is that if you are in a position where you are fortunate, you are obligated to help those who are not. And this conference made me realize that, no matter where I go in life and what I do, I need to always use my success to help others. I was really inspired by the solidarity among these women. I gained so much knowledge and insight from them. Some of them were kind enough to reach out to me personally and offer me advice and tips. In the future I hope to do more to support diversity and inclusion in our communities. For example, something I’m currently working on is  Fostering Abyssinia, which is a student-led organization that fundraises for the Kibebe Tsehay Orphanage in Ethiopia. As President of Fostering Abyssinia, I make sure that all of our fundraising efforts educate the JMU community about the diverse and rich culture of Ethiopia and Africa as a whole.

Do you have any tips for JMU students who want to attend the Diversity & Inclusion Mini Conference?

We are lucky enough to be a part of such a great institution that is always encouraging students to excel to their fullest potential. We are lucky enough to have amazing educators who are passionate about developing talent. Use it to your advantage and take on opportunities that will help you grow. The College of Business is very proactive when it comes to increasing diversity and inclusion. I also suggest you talk to Ms.Molly Brown in the CoB Office of Experiential learning at JMU as she may be able to share information about funding opportunities to help you attend the conference.

I also encourage everyone, regardless of their background, to attend this conference. Whether you are black, white, hispanic, asian, native American, I guarantee that this will be an eye opening experience for you, especially if you are considering a career in Marketing Communications/Advertising. Not only do you gain a lot of insight and knowledge but there are many individuals who are willing to share their experiences and help you in starting your career.  It’s also a great networking opportunity. In just one day, I gained so much knowledge that you don’t typically get in a traditional class. I connected with at least eight professionals who were interested in fostering new talent. A few of them requested I send them my resume and others wanted to keep in touch and give me personal career advice. I also met a few people that I will remain friends with throughout my career.

Last but not least, I want to express my extreme gratitude to the conference organizers, as well as Dean Mary Gowan, Associate Dean Molly Brown, and Administrative Assistant, Chris Shiflet for making this trip a possibility for me.

Photo Credit: Mariam Bekele

Photo Credit: Mariam Bekele

“The Invisible Ones: Women of Color” Panel from the 2016 Diversity & Inclusion Mini-Conference at Advertising Week New York

Left to right: Moderator Angela T. Rye Principal and CEO at Impact Strategies; panelists Shannon Washington of INVNT, Nita Song President at IW Group, Lucinda Martinez Senior Vice President, Multicultural Marketing at HBO, Ericka M. Pittman VP Chairman’s Office of Combs Enterprises, and organizer Tiffany R. Warner Founder and President at ADCOLOR.

Gilbert “Gilly” Bosomtwe Leads UDS Team to GOMC Semi-Finalist Designation

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Gilbert “Gilly” Bosomtwe in February when he contacted me with a few questions about the world’s largest online marketing competition, the Google Challenge (GOMC).

Gilbert Bosomtwa

Gilbert Bosomtwa, 2016 GOMC Team Leader

Gilly was serving in the role of Team Captain for his own GOMC team while also managing two other teams at the University for Development Studies in Ghana, Africa.  He also worked as a former Google Student Ambassador from 2013-2014 at his college.

Over time, our mentoring relationship turned into a virtual friendship as we communicated via email about the GOMC.  Gilly always had great questions and fortunately I was able to answer most of them!

Over 2,100 teams participated in the 2016 GOMC.  In the end, Gilly and his amazing team were designated as a Semi-finalist, ranking as the #2 team in Ghana and #13 in the Middle East & Africa Region!  I wish to extend congratulations to Gilbert K. Bosomtwe, Silas Kotoku, Priscilla Sasu, and Mohammad Ali Katu for their stellar performance.  The team competed in the 2016 Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC) under the direction of Francis Dittoh who serves in the role as ICT lecturer and university webmaster.

I thoroughly enjoyed working with Gilly and wish I could have done more in a mentoring role that spanned two continents.

Francis Dittoh, Gilbert K. Bosomtwe, Priscilla Sasu, Silas Kotoku and Muhammad Ali Katu

From left to right: Francis Dittoh, Gilbert K. Bosomtwe, Priscilla Sasu, Silas Kotoku and Muhammad Ali Katu

 

 

Jordan Kimball’s Experience at the 2016 Marketing EDGE Collegiate Summit

Jordan Kimball from JMU at the 2016Marketing EDGE Collegiate Summit - Digital

Jordan Kimball was a student in my MKTG 384 course (Integrated Marketing Communications) at JMU during the spring 2016 semester.  After learning that Jordan was one of 40 students selected nationwide to participate in the Marketing EDGE Collegiate Summit, I wanted to hear all about her experience.  Jordan kindly shared her perspectives for an interview-based guest post on my blog.  Continue reading to learn more about the summit from a student participant’s perspective.

How did you hear about the Marketing EDGE Collegiate Summit – Digital?

I was first introduced to Marketing EDGE as a student in Dr. Clarke’s course in spring 2016. Our class participated in the Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Challenge, which I really enjoyed being a part of. During that semester, I was browsing the JMU Recruit-a-Duke website and saw a link for the Marketing EDGE Collegiate Summit. I looked into it and thought “Wow this would be an awesome opportunity”, but did not apply to the summit right then and there. Shortly after, Dr. Clarke sent out an email to her students about the summit, which reiterated to me that it really was something I should consider, and I decided to apply.

Why did you decide to apply?

I decided to apply for various reasons. First, I have always been passionate about marketing and after taking Dr. Clarke’s class, I knew digital marketing was an area I definitely wanted to further pursue. The idea of learning about the industry from experts I wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to interact with sounded like a once in a lifetime experience.

Secondly, the location was ideal. I grew up in Central New Jersey, about 45 minutes outside of NYC, so I’ve had my fair share of visits. However, the city is limitless and I definitely have not seen it all. I was excited to discover that the summit would be held in the Financial District, meaning I would spend time in offices on Wall Street and in the World Trade Center (AKA the ultimate corporate dream). New York City is filled with endless opportunities when it comes to employment, especially in this area. I was very intrigued at the thought of experiencing what business life is actually like.

Lastly, just like any other JMU business student, I would really like a job. At the time I applied to the summit, I had already accepted an internship position with a company in Midtown Manhattan. Although this was a great opportunity, I was nervous that it was not related to marketing enough, and therefore wouldn’t help me transition into the field I aspire to work in as smoothly as I hoped. I felt that the summit was another chance to gain exposure to the digital aspect of the industry and that attending this conference and learning as much as I could would only help me in the future.

If I’ve learned anything from being a business student searching for internship and career positions, it’s the importance of NETWORKING. Attending a conference with undergraduates from all over the country and connecting with some of the most successful professionals in the field was the number one reason I knew I needed to do everything I could to be accepted.

What did you do at the summit, who did you meet, and what was your biggest takeaway? 

The summit was essentially a marketing “boot camp” because of everything attendees were able to take away from the experience in such a short time. Here is a synopsis of what exactly went on during my time in NYC broken down by each day:

Night 1- Sunday, June 5th: I arrived at the Holiday Inn in the Financial District of Manhattan in the afternoon and met my roommate who was an undergraduate from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. Then, all of the attendees went to a kick off dinner at South West NY (courtesy of Marketing EDGE, lucky us!) followed by a double-decker bus tour of the entire city. It was a great opportunity to be able to get to know all of the students and our advisors.

Day 2- Monday, June 6th: Opening session took place in an awesome office on Wall Street and we had our first day of presentations given by five marketing professionals: Professor Leora Kornfeld of York University Schulich School of Business presented “How It’s Made: The Connection Between Chocolate and Data”.  “What’s So Great About Email Marketing” was presented by Laura Derr (Marketing Operations Manager) and Kimberly Oscarson (Associate Director of List Marketing) both from Hearst Magazine. “Social and Customer Marketing in a Mobile World” was presented by Megan Maguire (VP, Digital Customer Experience and Marketing Consumer Services) at American Express.  Yvonne Heyne (CEO of Next X) presented “Personalized Engagement: the Uncompromising Value of 1:1 Mobile Relationships”.  Finally, “The Search Marketing Landscape and its People” was delivered by Michael McVeigh who is the VP of Advisory Services Practices at PMX Digital.  The presenters were all very interesting, but the most memorable for me was Megan Maguire. She discussed how relevant mobile marketing is today and how it impacts the consumer in such a social world. She told us about how important partnerships are and mentioned some of the many partnership relationships American Express has, including its current one with Coachella.

Day 3- Tuesday, June 7th: We continued with presentations this day, but also took part in more hands-on workshops as well. My favorite workshop was led by Tim Carr, the Chief Lifter at LIFT Agency in California, (Chief Lifter is LIFT’s creative title for CEO). Mr. Carr taught us a list of important rules used to create successful campaigns. Then we broke up into small teams and were asked to improve two real campaigns from competing companies based on the rules we learned.

The biggest take away I had from Day 3’s presentations was the importance of Programmatic, which is the automation of digital media buying in real time. This presentation was given by Laura Rodriguez, the Senior Manager of Global Planning and Operations at the New Marketing Institute, which is a branch of Media Math. What made this presentation so special was that I learned it is possible to become certified in Programmatic, which is very beneficial for the next generation of marketers who will be looking for jobs in the near future.

That evening, we attended a reception with the Marketing EDGE Board of Trustees. This took place in the Media Math office located in the World Trade Center, which overlooked a beautiful portion of the city, including the Statue of Liberty and the Freedom Tour.  There were finger foods and drinks served and we were free to mingle with a wide variety of professionals. It was a great experience to network with a diverse group of successful marketers one-on-one. One interaction that stood out to me was with Jeff Nesler who is the Senior Program and Web Manager for Marketing EDGE. He told me that JMU students often do very well with Marketing EDGE competitions and that our College of Business has earned top awards in recent years. It felt great to hear that my university has such a positive reputation.

Day 4- Wednesday, June 8th- This was our final day of presentations and activities. I was lucky enough to meet a great recruiter, Ms. Meredith Trotta, who is currently a Principal at Polished Student Recruitment Consulting, and held past positions recruiting for Time Inc., the University of Connecticut, and the Penn State MBA Program. She put us through extensive workshops on how to be successful during interviews and networking events. Another really important portion was resume roulette, where we were able to sit with HR specialists one-on-one to review our resumes and receive helpful feedback. I learned a lot through these feedback sessions, but one piece of advice that stuck out to me especially was to always have a “you in a few” prepared. This is essentially an “elevator pitch” and entails telling someone about yourself in a concise manner that will help you stand out and be remembered.

During this session, we also sat in on panel discussions. The first was “Global Privacy in 2016: Strictly Compliance or Marketing Opportunity?” The speakers discussed how the privacy sector has changed over the years and how much more relevant mobile technology is becoming. This was interesting, because we learned about privacy laws and the differences between ours and other countries. For example, European websites need more consent before taking personal information from viewers than the U.S. does, and that information is taken through cookies.

The next panel discussion was “College-to-Career Panel: True Tales of Real Survivors”, which was very beneficial, because it consisted of real professionals telling their story of how they got to where they are today in the business world. It was relieving to hear that even though some people struggled finding the career they loved at first, it worked out for them in the end. After interacting with them, I felt motivated to work hard towards my career goals and to not get easily discouraged.

Lastly, I was thrilled  to be a part of the summit for the first ever EDGE Awards. This was a huge event held at Gustavino’s and was pretty much a giant party and perfect opportunity to network. There was great food, an open bar, a live band, and an endless amount of professionals to talk to. Most importantly, there was an awards ceremony for different businesses and professionals that have done a great deal to support Marketing EDGE’s mission.

Although there were so many presentations, activities and events throughout the day, we were also given a good amount of free time to explore the city and have fun with the new friends we met throughout the conference.

Do you have any tips for JMU students who want to apply to the Marketing EDGE Summit?

My number one piece of advice for students considering applying for the summit is… DO IT! If you think this field is something you are interested in,you should definitely  go for it. It is an awesome opportunity for upcoming seniors, but I encourage underclassmen to give it a shot as well. If not successful the first go around, don’t be discouraged! My roommate did not get accepted her junior year and applied again and said she was really happy she didn’t give up.  If I have one regret, it is that I did not know about the summit sooner.  I feel that being introduced to such a wide variety of companies before senior year could have helped broaden my search for internships. Overall, it was an amazing experience to learn so much about marketing and to go beyond your comfort zone. Being in a new place and meeting new people is always nerve wracking, but I promise it was more than worth it. I made friends from all over the country that I plan to stay in touch with, and gained professional contacts that are willing to help with future endeavors in any way they can.

Thank you once again to Jordan Kimball for providing such a detailed accounting of the 2016 summit experience.

Based on what she shared, I definitely will encourage more of my JMU students to apply for this exciting professional opportunity.

Learn more information about Marketing EDGE, marketing career opportunities, and the Marketing EDGE Collegiate Summit.

JMU Wins Bronze in 2015-16 Collegiate ECHO

On August 11, 2016, Marketing EDGE announced the winners of the 2015-16 Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Challenge. I am pleased to report that the team of Dorothy Capasso (Team Leader), Allie Hammond, Joseph Scully, Mitchell Meyers, and Mariam Bekele captured the 3rd Place Bronze Award in the undergraduate division.  The team developed an integrated marketing communications plan for Facebook Custom Audiences.  Learn more about this team and their exciting experience in this year’s competition.

Dorothy Capasso (Team Leader), Mitchell Meyers, Allie Hammond, Joseph Scully, and Mariam Bekele - 3rd Place Bronze Winners in the Undergraduate Division of the 2015-16 Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Challenge.

Dorothy Capasso (Team Leader), Mitchell Meyers, Allie Hammond, Joseph Scully, and Mariam Bekele – 3rd Place Bronze Winners in the Undergraduate Division of the 2015-16 Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Challenge.

Sweet Sweep for JMU in the 2016 Google Online Marketing Challenge

After evaluating thousands of accounts and reports, Google announced the 2016 winners of the ninth running of the Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC). I am delighted to report that James Madison University students in the College of Business earned top placements in all three competitive categories of the GOMC:  AdWords Business, Social Impact, and Social Media Marketing.  According to the 2016 GOMC results, there were over 500 professors and 10,000 students from more than 60 countries in this year’s GOMC. 

 

The James Madison University Google Online Marketing Challenge Class of 2016 under the direction of Dr. Theresa B. Clarke.

The James Madison University Google Online Marketing Challenge Class of 2016 under the direction of Dr. Theresa B. Clarke, College of Business, Department of Marketing.

Lynn Radocha (Team Captain), Alex Adley, Maianh Phan, Cari Ross, and John Thompson were selected as the Americas Winner of the 2016 GOMC AdWords Business Award.  As the highest ranked team in the North, Central, and South American region, they earned a special two-night trip to Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA as part of a prize package which also includes computing devices from Google and other very cool awards.  Additionally, this team was a Google+ Social Media Marketing Finalist (top 5 in the Americas region) and was also named the 3rd Place Winner of the 2016 GOMC AdWords Social Impact Award through their work with a local animal shelter located near JMU. The team’s non-profit client, the Rockingham/Harrisonburg SPCA will receive a $5,000 donation from Google as a result of their global win in the social impact category. 

Kudos to Lynn, Alex, Maianh, Cari, and John for their hard work, desire to excel, perseverance, and keen sense of timing on so many different aspects of the GOMC.  When faced with challenges, they stuck together as a strong team and were prepared to do whatever was necessary to get the job done.

Emily Maynard (Team Captain), Jacob Brown, Amy Goffe, Christine Provino, and Jacob Shibley were named an AdWords Business Semi-Finalist (one of the top 15 teams in the Americas region) and the 1st Place Winner of the 2016 GOMC AdWords Social Impact Award. Their first place global win earned a $15,000 donation from Google for their client, the Children’s Science Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to filling the gap in Northern Virginia with a permanent, world-class interactive exploration center that incorporates traditional museum exhibits with cutting edge discovery experiences. These students will receive a computing device from Google as well as an exciting opportunity to participate in a Google+ Hangout with members of the Google Grants team.

Props to Emily, Jacob B., Amy, Christine, and Jacob S. for professionalism, positive attitudes, and for taking well-calculated risks in their online marketing strategy.  I will always remember this team for being so nimble and colorfully creative throughout their GOMC experience.

Google selected Matt Deters (Team Captain), Caitlin Fikac, Natalie Krewin, Molly McDevitt, and Claudia Schnorbus as the Americas Winner of the 2016 GOMC Google+ Social Media Marketing Award.  The Google+ Social Media Marketing Award represents an optional component of the Challenge that allows students to gain a more in-depth understanding of online marketing by developing and executing a five-week social media marketing campaign via Google+.  Their client was Poricy Park Conservancya New Jersey-based non-profit with 250 acres of open space, wildlife and their habitats, prehistoric fossil beds, and the Historic Murray Farmhouse.  The student team will receive a computing device from Google for winning the top social media marketing award in the Americas region.

Compliments to Matt, Caitlin, Natalie, Molly, and Claudia for strong performance in a highly competitive category…social media. This team was so thoughtful and patient, as well as adept at finding unique angles to solve various strategic online marketing challenges faced throughout the competition.  They created over 200 social media posts for their client and had the highest number of reshares and reshares-per-post in my class. 

The team of Alexandra Ender (Team Captain), Rachel Broudy, Annie Delafield, Elka Feinstein, and Laura Hart was among the top five teams in the Americas region in two categories.  The team was named a Google+ Social Media Marketing Finalist and an AdWords Social Impact Finalist.  Their client was The Campagna Center, the largest non-profit in Alexandria, VA that offers developmental programs for lower income residents in the community.

Congratulations to Alexandra, Rachel, Annie, Elka, and Laura for their two top five placements in the Americas region.  I appreciated this team’s eagerness to serve their client, learn from their mistakes, and focus their work into meaningful and productive efforts. 

JMU students on the winning teams will be awarded a personalized certificate of appreciation from Google noting their status in the 2016 competition.  I am incredibly proud of the phenomenal accomplishments from the Class of 2016 and the online marketing impact they made on their clients. The combined win of $20,000 in Google donations will go very far in assisting two non-profits, located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, that focus on the development of children and the welfare of animals.

I am indebted to the many individuals who supported the journey for the Class of 2016, especially my highly dedicated JMU GOMC alums. Thank you does not seem enough to express the deep gratitude I feel for all that they do to reinforce and enrich the educational mission in my class — or more appropriately, OUR CLASS.  Every year, we grow stronger because of loyal partners to the JMU College of Business who are prepared to make the difference! 

I look forward to seeing what JMU Dukes will do in our 10th year of the GOMC.  For information about applying for the JMU GOMC Class of 2017, visit http://theresabclarke.com/gomc.

Google Challenge 2016 at JMU with Dr. Theresa Clarke.




First Communion Clothing Drive for “Communion Closet” at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Harrisonburg, VA

  If you have boy's suits and/or girl's white dresses/veils that you can share for the "First Communion Closet" at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church Harrisonburg Va, please contact Valerie at vblanton@bsccva.com to arrange your donation. After my son outgrew his once-worn first communion outfit, I took it to a second-hand store in town.

They offered me $9.00 for the complete package of jacket, shirt, tie, pants, belt, and shoes.

So after saying “Are you kidding me?” I then said “Forget it…I would rather give it away!”

Valerie Cookro Blanton recently started a collection of first communion clothes at our church. Because many kids will not wear these outfits again, parish families can borrow an outfit to help their child feel special on their big day.

If you have boy’s suits and/or girl’s white dresses/veils that you can share for the “First Communion Closet” at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church Harrisonburg Va, please contact Valerie at vblanton@bsccva.com to arrange your donation.

The 2016 AAF’s Student Advertising Career Conference

The 2016 American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) Student Advertising Career Conference will be held October 7-8, 2016 in partnership with Chicago Portfolio School. Students can learn about the field of advertising, discover industry trends, and network with advertising professionals.

To learn about the conference, review the agenda, and register, visit http://goo.gl/6VoDbM.

 

Disney College Program (DCP) Tips from a JMU Student

Alexis-Moyer-2As I was exploring some research articles about Disney, I discovered the Disney College Program (DCP).  Through my colleagues in the Hart School of Hospitality, Sport, and Recreation Management, Dr. Michael O’Fallon and Dr. Reginald Foucar-Szocki, I learned that JMU has sent many students to Disney, including Alexis “Lexi” Moyer , a senior majoring in hospitality management with a double minor in theatre and business.  Lexi recently worked as a “FriendShip” boat captain at Walt Disney World.  As an effort to help JMU students learn more about the DCP, I asked Lexi to share her experiences via a guest post on my blog.  Thank you Lexi!


Overview

The Disney College Program is an internship that college students from around the country, and even around the world, can participate in during their college careers. Working at Disney means you are a “Cast Member” rather than an “employee” and you have a “roles” rather than a “job”.  Roles don’t always deal with your major, but sometimes they do.  There are many different College Program (CP) roles that one can pursue.  

The main purpose for pursuing an DCP internship varies from person to person, but the three reasons why I did the program are:

  1. I’m a hospitality management major at JMU and Disney is one of the world’s biggest and best hubs of hospitality and tourism in the world.
  2. I’ve wanted to do the program since I found out about it on a school trip to Disney my sophomore year of high school.  As a high schooler, I knew that Disney would feel like a home away from home once I went to college.
  3. I love Disney.  I grew up watching Disney movies and the Disney channel, I played with Disney toys, and I am passionate about the brand.

I spent my entire spring 2016 semester at Disney.  Although it required that I push graduation back a bit, I absolutely do not regret this decision.  In this guest blog post, I’ll share my perspectives on the application process, living the Disney life, housing, and life after Disney.

Application Process

Alexis-Moyer-3

Alexis Moyer working as a FriendShip Boat Captain at Walt Disney World.

The application into the program is a three-part process, and not everyone gets to join the program when applying. If denied, I recommend going back and trying again the following semester.  The three parts are, the initial application form, a web-based interview, and a phone interview.

The initial application form is just a general form about your work experience and to create your online account. There is also another section where you rank your desired roles by preference.  There are several categories of roles that the main website will summarize and there are four ranking categories:  “no interest,” “low interest,” “some  interest,” and “high interest.” When ranking you want to carefully consider how many roles go in each category. If you put “low interest,” there’s still a possibility of receiving that role, so choose carefully. You also only want to put “high interest” for a small number of roles, or else Disney may think you have no focus. You’ll have to wait on an email from Disney regarding the results of the application to determine whether you move on or not.  My wait was about 48 hours, but other College Program interns (a.k.a., CPs) have reported longer wait times.

If you make it past the first screening, the second application form is a “web-based interview,” and it’s a general personality test. They ask situation-based questions about guest service, your personality, and how to handle situations.  I watched a lot of Disney videos and read a lot of blogs and learned that Disney wants students who have opinions and are strong in their beliefs.  Thus, based on my research, I chose “strongly agree” or “strongly disagree,” and occasionally picked “neutral” for many of the questions.  I avoided “agree” and “disagree” to show Disney that I had strong convictions.  After the web-based interview I found the results out immediately, and moved on to the third interview.

The last interview, a phone interview, was the hardest for me. I scheduled a time for a phone call that was expected to last about 30 minutes. To prepare for the phone interview, I conducted thorough research and found some of the questions Disney might ask such as:

  • What role(s) do you feel most qualified for?
  • Which roles are in your top three choices?
  • Do you work better individually or in groups?
  • Have you ever been to Disney World/Disneyland? What did you think of your stay there?
  • How will the College Program help you professionally?
  • What can you offer the company?
  • What does Disney mean to you?

I prepared by writing some bulleted notes on how I would answer the questions. I also wrote reminders to smile and be happy because if you smile, interviewers can hear it through the phone.

The program timelines vary slightly, but generally there are four programs:  Spring, Spring Advantage, Fall, and Fall Advantage. I completed the five month Spring Program, and had a chance to extend to seven months, but declined the opportunity due to an internship lined up at home. I feel like five months was just the right amount of time for me for the DCP, but others may feel that five months is not long enough to do everything. I believe that anyone can extend up to a full year in the DCP, but after that they must apply to transfer for a part-time/full-time/seasonal position within the company or leave the program.  The beauty of Disney is that, they are always innovating and changing so many things in their business. I know that when I come come back to Disney, whether that be to work or to play, Disney will still be just as magical as ever.

Living the Disney Life

Disney provides housing that is optional, and most CPs will live on housing property in one of four complexes.  For more information about each complex, I suggest you check out this housing link, as well as research some on your own on CP alum blogs.  CPs get to rank their preference for each complex and Disney makes the final decision.  Some characteristics of Disney housing are:

  • Tons of housing events
  • You meet new people
  • There are buses
  • Housing provides cooking facilities
  • Housing is safe and secure (you must get past security gates)
  • You have to share a room
  • Rent is taken out of your paycheck
  • There’s not really a “dining hall” like on a campus (though there are oodles of restaurants nearby)
  • If you drive, the typical commute is 20-35 minutes
  • You most likely will pay for laundry

I was guaranteed 30 hours of work per week in my contract, but was asked to work more than 30 sometimes and was offered opportunities to work more than 30 hours.  Many cast members joke that CP stands for “closing person,” and while this is seemingly true for some roles, it’s possible to get morning shifts as well. Many days you’ll see CPs playing in the parks as guests and later on working in those parks as cast members, or the reverse.

When you’re at Disney, spend your time wisely. Play in the parks before work, go visit attractions in Miami, Clearwater, Daytona, Cocoa Beach, etc. while you’re super close to these areasl. Not doing these things are personally some of my regrets of my program. When balancing work and fun, don’t let one take over the other, if possible.

Life after Disney

Some people have been with the company for several years, including a manager of mine, Rafael. He’s been with the company in several roles for 36 years (and counting). The CP is a way of getting your foot in the door with the organization, but it also helps get your foot in the door with other companies. Disney owns a large assortment of companies, but influences so many other businesses as well. Just putting that you have previously worked for Disney tells future employers that you’re the cream of a crop, you were chosen out of thousands of students who applied, and you completed the program. It tells future employers that your guest service and customer interaction is top notch. And best of all, it tells future employers that you will do anything to make a guest happy (not satisfied, but happy and yes, there is a difference).

On resumes, it’s easy to phrase what you did at Disney to show potential fit with other careers. As an an example, I’m interested in hospitality, so my resume phrases my Disney boat captain experience around three of the four Disney keys:  safety, courtesy, and show.  As another example, my fellow CP boat captain wants to pursue a future career in transportation dealing with statistics.  On his resume, he phrased his Disney boat captain experience to include numbers and facts about how many people were moved around on boats, transportation times, and capacity rates.

Alexis-Moyer-1

Alexis Moyer (James Madison University) and Allison Cheek (California University of Pennsylvania) enjoying some time off during the Disney College Program (DCP).

Conclusion

While I was sad to see the end of my College Program, I think it helped me professionally and personally. As Winnie the Pooh says “how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” I learned so much about myself and what I want in my future, had met wonderful peers and connections like my roommate, Allison from California University of Pennsylvania who worked with food and beverage, and had gained wonderful insight into the professional world that is Disney. For anyone inspired to join the DCP family, I would be happy to make professional connections with you on LinkedIn at Alexis “Lexi” Moyer. Hope to hear from you real soon!

 

 

Privacy Policy | Disclosures