An Opportunity to Excel
Mary Mitchell, Vice President of Campbell Marketing and Communications, was searching for an opportunity to accelerate her career after moving to Detroit in 1989. It had been a tough decade for the Big Three auto manufacturers, as imports were taking a large portion of domestic market share and rebates were taking a giant chunk out of profits. Naturally, that tough climate extended to the companies supporting and serving America’s automakers. And that’s where Mary was looking.
“I had been searching for a position with an advertising agency, but I had no direct agency experience,” Mitchell said. “After the interviews, they’d say that they wanted to hire me, but couldn’t without the agency experience.”
Mitchell had worked for a radio broadcaster in Boston for seven years after graduation from Northeastern University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies. She had just gotten married and her husband had just accepted a position as a Detroit broadcaster.
“Rod and Sandra Campbell, then the owners of Campbell & Company, and also former broadcasters, recognized the value of my years in broadcasting,” Mitchell said. “So, they brought me on board.”
Sharing the Drive
In the 31 years since beginning her career with Campbell, Mitchell has managed motorsports sponsorships for Ford Customer Service Division for more than 25 years. She has worked with many of the great names in motorsports. Among them are pioneering female racer Lyn St. James, an IMSA sports car winner and Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, NASCAR legends, Bill Elliott, Eddie and Len Wood and Bob Tasca III, record-breaking NHRA drag racer.
In her work, Mitchell helped drivers better understand their important roles as representatives of their sponsors. Conversely, she also has helped sponsors discover the unique nature of specific audiences and how best to build brand awareness and customer loyalty, two of the vital elements that translate into sales.
“One of the programs I am very proud of is our work to help Ford Customer Service Division develop long-term and trusting relationships between its technicians and the parent company,” Mitchell said. “Ford wants to keep its talented workforce. To do so requires integrity, trust and commitment – the elements of loyalty. And to these we need to add some fun and pride at work. One example is using my clients’ race team sponsorship benefits to provide once in a lifetime experiences for Ford technicians.”
A company’s commitment to its employees, and from the staff to the managers, and back again, is an essential concept that can be recognized by customers and the public at large through the actions and commitment of every member of an organization. Examples include conferred trust to get a project completed or a goal accomplished – even when the employee is working off-site.
Mitchell’s career in Detroit – both with her employer and with her clients – has been a demonstration of trust and integrity. These principles have helped build trust with clients, strengthen clients’ relationships with customers, and helped inspire colleagues. In her tenure at Campbell, Mitchell has interviewed, hired and mentored hundreds of women. And in that time, she has helped develop new ways of getting work done.
“Years ago, when my children were very young, I wanted to spend more time with them,” Mitchell said. “I asked my manager and Rod Campbell if I could do more work from home. They said, ‘Sure. Let me know what we can do to help.’ That was before anyone had heard of ‘Flex Time.’ All I had to do was ask.”
Flex Time today is a standard practice at many companies. More than getting work accomplished, the practice also builds trust between company and employees and advances careers that contribute to an organization’s success.
“One of the great things about Campbell is that we provide turnkey solutions,” Ms. Mitchell said. “We have competencies and capabilities from the creative side, to public and media relations, to special events and promotions, expertise in traditional and emerging media, all under one roof. And thanks to today’s remarkable communication technologies, we can even be out from under that roof to do our work. What’s more, there is trust that the job will be done well. That’s both our promise and our record.”