I'm Gina Harris. As a marketing manager, I am responsible for all marketing activities related to student recruitment and university performances as well as the long-term marketing strategy for the university. My day-to-day activities include planning and implementing promotional campaigns, preparing digital and print artwork, and analyzing the success of these efforts.
Seeing the raw talent of the students has been such a joy for me. Every dance, concert, film, set and play demonstrate the love they have for their craft. Being able to share that with others is fulfilling.
Though the next performance season is more than six months away, I have to start planning now in order to get it ready to announce. It’s all hands on deck for the Strategic Communications team this time of year as it takes input from everyone to develop, print and distribute the performance season brochure. At the same time, I’m balancing our advertising budget for the end of this year while simultaneously planning a new budget for the next! It’s never a dull moment in marketing!
This year’s largest marketing transition has been with the move from #wecreatehere to #poweringcreativity. The launch of the public phase of the Comprehensive Campaign for UNCSA gave us an opportunity to visually build on the momentum of #wecreatehere with something new, striking and completely different from campaigns we’ve done in the past. The fantastic black and white photography featuring our own amazing students is minimalist, yet strong and compelling. (See some of the photography in the Chancellor Search Leadership Statement.)
Working on the Powering Creativity campaign has been the most fun project to be a part of. During our photo shoot, I was blown away by the talent of the students who participated. We worked from sunup to sundown, cut up, sang and danced, turning what could have been a tough couple of days into a two-day party. It’s a memory I won’t soon forget.
Believe it or not, I had not seen “The Nutcracker” until I started working at UNCSA. I jumped at the chance to go to a rehearsal to meet one of our photographers. Once there, I picked a seat about six rows from the stage and precisely in the middle of the row to see what all the fuss was about when it came to "The Nutcracker." Without the usual patrons, the Stevens Center seemed eerily empty. Once the music began and the students flooded the stage, my jaw dropped. It. Was. Awesome. Every part of the performance was handled by a student. The experience helped me to see just why UNCSA is so special—the collaboration, imagination, and level of commitment it takes to pull this type of show together is monumental, and these students work hard to turn their passion into a fulfilling career. That’s what I’m marketing each day to recruit a new student or persuade a potential patron to come to one of our shows.
Growing up in Winston-Salem, it was always my goal to attend Wake Forest University. In 2001, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication, and in 2004, I earned my master’s degree in communication. I’ve always been a bit of a nerd and have always loved school. But instead of pursuing a Ph.D. or becoming one of those “perpetual students,” I decided the next best thing would be to work at a university. When the opportunity to come to UNCSA came along, I jumped at the chance. But what I didn’t’ know was that UNCSA is not your usual university.
My two favorite people in the whole wide world are my daughter, Ava, and my son, Roman. Any chance I get to spend time with them is a blessing. Besides hanging out with my kids, I’m happiest when I’m creating things. Give me a sewing machine and some fabric and I’m in hog heaven. My super power? Changing my hair color, style or whatever on a whim.
February 23, 2020