July 28, 2020 – Atlanta-based Parker Executive Search has been enlisted to find a chief marketing officer for the University of Idaho. The assignment is being led by president Laurie C. Wilder and vice president Porsha L. Williams.
The CMO/ executive director, communications role involves providing visionary leadership and direction over the university’s branding, marketing and strategic communications. “Reporting to the president, the position offers an exciting opportunity for an ambitious leader to build a university branding strategy in alignment with the university’s mission, vision and principles and values, while executing such strategy with the resources needed to be successful in an evolving and complex space,” said Parker Executive Search.
Responsibilities for the role include directing all institutional marketing and communications, including advertising, digital marketing and media, direct marketing, creative services, media and public relations, and internal communication, said the search firm. The CMO will also lead the university’s central team of marketing and communications professionals, which will include overseeing communications and media relations, marketing, creative services and web and digital teams. The new marketing leader will further be charged with managing the vision and operational plans for marketing, communications and branding within the university’s Office of Communications and Marketing.
Other duties involve cultivating collaborative partnership relationships with critical externally facing units such as admissions, alumni relations, athletics, advancement, research and economic development, federal relations, extension and collegiate units to improve brand management and the alignment of messaging, achieving greater synergies, and maximizing efforts and resource investments; serving as the university’s chief spokesperson and maintaining strong relations with media executives and other opinion leaders; and providing strategic oversight to media relations staff to cultivate effective working relationships with national and local reporters, and to secure coverage that illustrates the university’s mission and vision.
The successful candidate must have a bachelor’s degree in an applicable field related to communications or marketing with at least five years of experience in the field of communications, marketing and/or public relations. In addition, prospects should have demonstrated leadership experience in a complex academic, public or private sector environment.
Other preferred qualifications include: prior experience within a high performance marketing and communications environment to include internal/external higher education or corporate communications departments, destination marketing, brand marketing teams, new product launch teams or public relations agencies; proven supervisory experience and a demonstrated track record of leading cross-functional teams; understanding of the mission of a land-grant institution and the University of Idaho’s position as the state’s primary research university; and understanding of and appreciation for media culture and deadlines and how best to strategically leverage them on behalf of the university.
Candidates should also have an understanding of the alignment between marketing and enrollment management as they support the University of Idaho’s strategic goals. Experience partnering with other campus units to leverage expertise and resources is also needed, as is demonstrated experience working with public relations and media executives, policy makers, industry leaders, legislators and other opinion leaders throughout Idaho and the region.
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s land-grant institution and its principal graduate education and research university. The student population numbers 12,000, including first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars, at locations in Moscow, Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls. As the only institution in the state to be classified by the Carnegie Foundation as high research activity, university researchers attract over $100 million in research grants and contracts each year.
Parker Executive Search conducts executive searches for corporations, colleges and universities and collegiate athletics. The firm has a wide range of client schools, including Notre Dame, Dartmouth, the University of Chicago, Iowa State, Fordham, University of Central Florida, among many others.
Ms. Wilder is responsible for the strategic leadership and day-to-day operations of the search firm. She has been with the firm for 21 years and is responsible for leading the development and delivery of recruiting strategies and best practices across its core practice areas.
Ms. Wilder has been involved in all aspects of the search process and has conducted over 1,000 leadership searches. Her experience spans across AAU public research universities, regional and state colleges, and private liberal arts institutions. She has recruited for leadership positions across all levels of higher education and collegiate athletics. Ms. Wilder has also actively worked on middle- and senior-level searches for a variety of corporate clients in the sales, marketing, material management, logistics, human resources, general management, operations, manufacturing, construction and finance functions.
Ms. Williams leads business, client and candidate development for the firm’s higher education practice. Her career with the firm began as chief of staff to the president and quickly advanced through the ranks to her current leadership role. She is responsible for client management, candidate development and recruitment, and search execution. Ms. Williams has significant experience recruiting world class leaders among colleges and universities across the country. She has completed over 200 searches. In addition, Ms. Williams has conducted substantial work for Fortune 500 companies in the financial services industry.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media