Innovation, optimism and leadership are words that come to mind when describing this week’s alumni success story feature, Rebecca Dutcher ‘99. As a self-proclaimed “marketing nerd,” Rebecca credits her hands-on experience in the DU marketing program as the springboard which launched her into her career as the director of the web division at 834 Marketing & Design. Read Rebecca’s full interview below.
Q & A with Rebecca
Tell us a little about yourself, Rebecca!
I recently started a new position as the Director of the Web Division at 834 Marketing and Design, an integrated communications agency providing specialized support to West Michigan businesses. I am responsible for everything web-related, including digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), development and analytics. I know enough about the technical aspect of programming and coding to be “dangerous,” yet am able to articulate client wants and needs to our developers.
In my former positions, I did everything from simple logo development to complete brand overhauls to video creation and more, on both the client side, as well as the ad agency side. I have spent years in the digital world including director of business development for Mindscape at Hanon McKendry and most recently Senior Account Executive for BluFish Consulting in Marshall, MI. I am currently the VP of Programming and Immediate Past President for American Marketing Association of West Michigan and a board member for Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW).
Surprisingly, marketing was my not my first career choice. I wanted to be a horse veterinarian and be the vet at the Olympics. In my last semester in high school, my plan took a complete 180. I took a marketing class and really enjoyed it. I found the marketing field had both the creative and analytical process which was intriguing. I am not the type of person who likes to be tied to a desk all day or do the same thing over and over. So, marketing is perfect for my personality. It is so many things, and always a little different.
What was your experience like at DU?
I was a non-traditional student at the downtown campus. I took most of my classes at night because and even weekends, because I also worked full-time. I really enjoyed the flexibility of DU’s program because it allowed me to excel in the classroom as well as in the workplace. I finished in 1999 with my BA in sales and marketing with a minor in international business.
What is one of your favorite memories of DU?
Davenport was innovative and ahead of their time. We learned about things that are applicable to the world now in my intercultural communications class. My professor, Marti Lamphear-Van Horn, brought real world experience to the classroom. She taught us how to understand different cultures and generations, and the impact those differences have on communication styles. I remember going on “field trips” to explore cuisine from different countries and discussing current news from around the world. I really enjoyed this class.
Did DU prepare you for success?
Absolutely, Davenport prepared me for success through the hands-on experiences and real-life projects. Especially since I went through college without email or Google.
What advice do you have for recent grads?
Get your hands dirty and go the extra mile. Work hard and go above and beyond to achieve your goals. When you volunteer to help out or take on a project outside of your normal role, you learn how to do new things. Be willing to do your own research and figure it out instead of asking simple questions of your supervisors.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I get nervous before networking events and big presentations. I am actually a bit shy. I was in speech competitions in college with BPA. Everyone thought I was so confident, but little did they know that I was nervous too.
What do you do when you are not working?
Well, I am workaholic that likes to find balance in the midst of my busy schedule. I enjoy spending time with my husband and son. We like to go out to eat as a family, especially for Sunday breakfast. I love to exercise and stay active, kickboxing is my favorite way to reduce stress.
The beauty of the work I do, and the Team at 834 Design, is it allows me to work from home or anywhere I need to be. I’m able to go on field trips with my son or volunteer on community boards.