Professor Heather Harris, M.F.A., began her professional career in marketing after receiving an M.B.A. from the William E. Simon School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester. In the following 13 years, she worked for three different Fortune 500 companies in several different industries including medical, food, and toy. She launched over 250 products and managed these products through their entire life cycle from concept to obsoletion, utilizing marketing strategy, marketing communication, and financial management to achieve profitable gains for those companies. She had led multi-functional teams, directed agencies, and managed product categories ranging from $25 million to $250 million in sales.
Harris entered the field of higher education in 2005 with a desire to share her experience with the next generation of marketers. Around that same time, social technologies started to take off, and the field of marketing went through a shift from one-way communication with an emphasis on product features and benefits, to two-way communication with a focus on brand engagement through storytelling. The significance of this shift seemed obvious to Harris as a marketer. She believed the ability to actively engage an audience and get the story of the brand communicated in words and pictures would be table stakes for all marketers. To stay on top of her field, she pursued a terminal degree in visual storytelling. So, she pursued a terminal degree in visual storytelling. A Master of Fine Arts provided her with skills in design, story, and audience empathy, which are now essential for all marketing communication professionals in this new experience economy. Harris’ focus in marketing education is on strategically building audience empathy, designing visuals that engage, and telling stories that build brand loyalty. As the Director of the Master of Arts in Communication program at St. Bonaventure University, Harris encourages students to develop both left-brain strategic thinking and right-brained visual storytelling to be successful in today’s marketplace.
Harris’ scholarly work focuses on visuals and story messaging as well. She looks at messaging to the youngest of audiences through kid-centric mediums such as song, video, and books. Focusing on song lyrics and visual imagery as modes of communication to children, Harris uses a grounded theory approach to content analysis of words and imagery to identify trends and their potential impact. Her scholarly work is the fuel that informs her original creative work in children’s books, which she both authors and illustrates.
- M.F.A., Illustration, Academy of Art University (2015)
- M.B.A., Finance, University of Rochester (1992)
- B.S., Marketing, Syracuse University (1989)