Heather Lynn Harris

Heather Lynn Harris

Professional Profile

I began my professional career in marketing working in product development and marketing.  Over 12 years-time, I worked for three different fortune 500 companies in several different industries including: medical, food, and toy.  I have launched over 250 products and managed these product through their entire life cycle utilizing marketing strategy, marketing communication and financial management to achieve profitable gains for the companies I worked for.  I have worked on multi-functional teams, directed agencies, and managed product categories ranging from $25 million to $250 million in sales.

I entered the field of higher education in 2005 around the same time that the field of marketing was going through a shift from emphasis on product feature and benefit and financial analysis, to visual storytelling and brand engagement.  The significance of this shift was obvious to me as a marketer and to remain relevant and forward focused in my profession I decided to pursue an MFA as a terminal degree.  I felt the ability to get the story of the brand communicated in words and pictures would be table stakes for all marketers and the MFA would give me the skill set needed to do that.  I find all these years later that my instincts were right.  My focus in marketing education is now on storytelling and visual engagement – the two most important areas in marketing today.  As the Director of the Integrated Marketing Communications program I emphasis the need for students to have both strategic as well as visual marketing skills and enjoy creating new courses that deliver this, like our newly developed Consumer Insights course and our revamped Communications Design course. 

My research focus is also on storytelling and visual engagement and the power it can have on audiences.  I am interested specifically in the impact of storytelling and visual messages sent to the youngest of audiences.

Academic Credentials

  • MFA, Illustration, Academy of Art University (2015)
  • MBA, Finance, University of Rochester (1992)
  • BS, Marketing, Syracuse University (1989)