find jobs
what:
where:
 
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip code
Interview with VP, Marketing & Media Relations
What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in that field?

I am the vice president in charge of marketing and media relations at St. Borromeo Catholic Church, which although a non profit program, is home to a multi million dollar outreach program including an elementary school, library, homeless shelter, assisted living program, nursing home, disability center, and community outreach programs.

Would you describe the things you do on a typical day?

I make sure that all events we have are included in as many media outlets as possible. I am also in charge of the marketing effort both online and off for our community outreach, elementary school, assisted living, and nursing home programs.

On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What would it take to increase that rating?

I definitely rate my job satisfaction at a 10. There are not many other places where you can earn a great salary and really see the difference that your efforts make. People who choose our services because of our marketing receive many protections and services that are simply not available to private programs that are not protected by both non profit and religious status. In short, I believe in what I sell because I see who it helps.

What did you learn the hard way in this job and how did that happen?

There are just as many politics in the non profit world as there are in commercial business. I spent my first 5 years putting out fires from people who wanted our CEO ousted and were planting negative stories about him in the local papers. They were also using an isolated incident where a nursing home patient wandered off property as fuel to shut down the assisted living and nursing home programs.

What don’t they teach in school that would’ve been helpful to you?

Marketing is all about people and nothing else. What got me my contacts with local and national media was not my writing or negotiating ability, or even being professional. It was because they liked me. People like to work with marketers who believe in what they sell because that shows personal integrity.

How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?

After graduating from Brown University magna cum laude, I could not find a job. I actually went home and worked for my local church, who really needed a marketing person. I then moved to a bigger city, and my home priest just happened to know the priest / CEO at my current position and gave me a glowing review. They needed someone immediately because their programs were in the red because of all the negative press.

What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in this job?

Police actually interviewed me to see if I had anything to do with the situation that I mentioned before where the elderly person wandered off property. I was not even working there when that happened, but I was questioned for 3 hours!

On a good day when things are going well, can you give an example of something that really makes you feel good?

When things are going well, I like to go into the disability center and talk to the patients. Many of them can not speak, but I have learned over the years to communicate with them through sign language, and sometimes just by reading their eyes. It makes me feel good that all of those patients are telling me that they are receiving quality care.

When nothing seems to go right, what kind of snafus do you handle and what do you dislike the most?

Even though my title is marketing, I do a lot of PR as well. Handling media is no cakewalk, because they love to edit what I tell them to fit whatever angle they are selling, so I have to be extremely careful about what I say.

How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance?

The job is quite stressful, as the church is seen as a pillar of the community for many people. I do maintain a healthy balance. I made sure to have the training and manpower in place so that I could take a break when needed. Thankfully, most of our employees have the same attitude about the program that I do, so our turnover is very low.

What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough considering your responsibilities?

The non profit sector pays less than the for profit market. Someone in my position overseeing approximately US $50 million dollars in assets can expect a mid six figure range salary in the private sector, maybe more if they are able to negotiate performance bonuses into their employment contract, which is quite doable. I do not make nearly that much (low six figures). Don't get into non profit for the money.

What’s the most rewarding moment you’ve experienced in this position? Of all the things you’ve done at work, what are you most proud of?

Every time I go into the elementary school or the disability center and see who we help, my work is vindicated. I am rewarded every day.

What’s the most challenging moment you’ve experienced? What would you prefer to forget?

One moment, during the opening of the assisted living facility, we had an argument with a key advertising medium about putting our ad in during opening week. They did not put it in and we lost lots of money. We actually had to sue them, and for a while, I was pulling double duty as a full time marketer and as an expert witness (they settled out of court after trying to whittle down our resources. I actually had to do a lot of litigation research as well.)

What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?

It is good to have a college degree. Public speaking skills and great writing skills are essential, as everyone will be looking to you to say the right thing, to put ideas down in the right way.

What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?

Be ready to like people if you don't already, and never let them see you sweat. Ever.

How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?

I take two weeks per year at least. There is no such thing as enough vacation! As much as I love my job, I look forward to the period in my life when I can just relax. However, it is my turn to sweat for others. Gotta own that to succeed in life and don't look for shortcuts.

Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?

Non profit work is just as stressful as commercial work.

Does this job move your heart? If not, what does?

Absolutely this job moves my heart. It actually makes other experiences more intense because I can really see how blessed I am to have a fully functioning body and mind and friends who love me. Many people come to use because they do not have these things.

If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?

I would own a community outreach program and employ formerly homeless people.