GNI Marketing Director
By Peter Karlovich
For an organization to thrive and grow, it needs many things. First, you must offer a quality product that provides value and is delivered consistently. Having attended the GNI Gathering 18 times, as well as a GNI-sponsored cruise, I can say that GNI delivers on this requirement, and Rick Johnson, our Executive Director, makes it look effortless (which it is not). However, as I have painfully learned through building and operating my own business ventures, it is not enough to simply have a superior product. It is equally important to constantly promote your offering and attract new audiences, adjust to the changing times, all while maintaining and strengthening your existing loyal fan base.
As many of you know, GNI has had, at best, a “challenging” history with our marketing effort. For various reasons, promoting and growing an organization such as GNI poses new challenges that did not exist a decade ago. While attendance at The Gathering has ticked up slightly the past two years, the Board believes that to ensure the long-term viability of the organization, we must place new emphasis on promotion and marketing. We must recruit new members, lure back ones who may have drifted away and keep our “regulars” coming back for more.
To that end, earlier this year the Board approved a new, paid staff position (the only paid position other than Executive Director), that of Marketing Director. This engagement is treated as a non-employee contractor. While it is expected that the Marketing Director will be engaged with GNI on a year-round basis, the position is not full-time and is targeted towards an individual who performs other, similar free-lance work for various organizations.
In May and June of this year, I, along with Ian L., a GNI member living in London and a brand manager for a major multi-national steel company there, drafted a Job Description that outlines the challenges facing the organization, along with duties and responsibilities for this new position. After review and approval by the Board, in early July, the Job Description was posted on BuffBuzz, Facebook, Twitter, and Monster.com; a copy can be found here: Marketing Director Job Description.
Over the next month we received approximately 25 inquires for this position, from as close as Pittsburgh, PA (where I live) to as far away as South Africa. Of those, about half were “junk” applications (no resume, a “skeleton” resume or no relevant experience). Of the remainder, about half were good to strong candidates that deserved further review. Through September and early October, Ian and I conducted conference call interviews with the 6 strongest candidates. Each interview lasted approximately one hour and consisted of some standardized questions and criteria that Ian and I established in advance, followed by a free-form discussion of the challenges facing GNI and some solutions each candidate might propose. To say the least, even the interview process was very productive in that we consistently identified several agreed-upon areas of focus as well as some common ideas for ways to approach the problems.
|Gene Evangelist, GNI Marketing Director|
After the interviews, we narrowed the list down to the three strongest candidates. After a thorough review of qualifications, answers to interview questions and discussion, we decided on a candidate. In mid-October, we presented our choice to the Board, and the Board approved our recommendation of 6-year GNI member Gene Evangelist as the new Marketing Director. The Board will be holding our winter board meeting at the end of October which will beGene’s first activity in an official capacity with our organization.
Gene brings with him a 20-year track record of marketing, sales management, and business development experience, along with technical expertise in ad networks, mobile apps, mobile advertising and web development. He holds a BA in Communications from St. Vincent College and earned an MBA from the University of Miami, Coral Gables. He has been an entrepreneur as well as a senior executive for various internet, social media and technology companies. I’m sure many of you have met Gene at one of the recent Gatherings and I ask that you join me in welcoming him as he takes on this new challenge. Welcome Gene!