Becky Watson is the new director of marketing and communications for Saint Michael's College. A Washington State native and longtime Las Vegas, NV, resident with over 20 years of experience in higher education marketing, Watson began work June 2.
"How could you not want to come to St. Mike's?" she said, citing the college's reputation, warmth of the welcome she has received, the beauty and artistic sensibility of the Champlain Valley and Vermont, and a culture of volunteer service at the college consistent with her own values and experiences.
Watson was selected from a pool of more than 80 candidates from across the country. "It was a national search and a very competitive process," said Sarah Kelly, vice president for enrollment and marketing at Saint Michael's. "Becky distinguished herself early in the process. Her energy and enthusiasm were palpable when she visited campus. She had clearly done her ‘homework' and already knew a lot about Saint Michael's College. Her strengths in integrated marketing and communications are exciting assets and we are delighted that she has joined the Saint Michael's and Burlington communities."
Watson said the prospect of marketing Saint Michael's, a smaller-sized, private, liberal arts college, is particularly attractive to her based on her work at doctoral-research and master's-granting universities. Whatever a college or university's size, she said, effectively marketing it in today's world means astutely keeping pace with rapidly changing integrated marketing communications, technology and market research unlike anything seen in earlier eras. "It's evolving day-to-day," she said. "Maybe five years ago you could get away with doing what you've been doing for a while, but now it's to the point where it's really daily changes we're talking about in the types and strategies of marketing and communication."
"The biggest change is this: historically, you'd tell the customer what they want, but now it's just the opposite -- they're telling you," Watson said. "So the question throughout the industry becomes how to continually communicate effectively."
Watson has a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She founded Education Integrated Marketing in 2011 in Las Vegas. Prior to that, Watson was director of public relations and marketing and faculty at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA, where she also earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees. Before that she was marketing manager and director of the College of Education's Department of Communications and Alumni Relations at Purdue University, after many years in publications and marketing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she became assistant director for marketing and community relations.
She expects to draw on her diverse background in presenting Saint Michael's to prospective students, donors, alumni, the media and wider public. Watson said she values open business relationships, and is "always looking for that hidden story to tell and how best to further the mission of the institution." Adding to that, the volunteer community service at Saint Michael's was a draw to her "since I'm always connected to my community with my personal mission of giving back." For her long career that has meant deep involvement with campus committees and active professional membership with civic and professional organizations. She has received numerous professional awards in integrated marketing. In her spare time, Watson enjoys photography, hiking and skiing. For more than a decade she has volunteered in a Yucatecan Mayan village, which she finds deeply fulfilling.
Watson is a native of Cashmere, WA, an area where both sets of grandparents settled as orchardists. She said she's always had strong positive impressions about Saint Michael's College and the surrounding region, impressions that are being affirmed continually as she meets more Vermonters and New Englanders.