The Marketing Club welcomed Mary Institute alumna Janet Horlacher ’76 as a guest speaker for their final meeting of the year on Monday. In a discussion format, Ms. Horlacher fielded questions from the students and shared valuable insight from her over 20 years of work as the Principal at Janet McAfee Real Estate and 10 years in brand management at Ralston Purina.
Ms. Horlacher talked about some of the lessons she learned early on in her career about perseverance and how important it is to cheer on one’s team. Utilizing football as an analogy to brand management, she shared how brand managers are like the quarterbacks of a business and its perception. She talked about line extensions, sharing how they capitalize on the momentum of a trusted brand to further succeed in the market, and she walked students through what it’s like to launch a new product from a financial and marketing perspective. She went on to describe the challenges of trying to earn new customers compared to maintaining loyal, return customers. Also, she gave a nod to the books GRIT by Angela Duckworth and Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell where she talked about how important it is to take failures as opportunities for learning and growth, sharing of some of her own peaks and valleys in her marketing career.
When asked about what stood out from the presentation, Marketing Club member Margaret Woodburn ’19 shared, “It was fascinating to hear stories from Ms. Horlacher about her time spent in the marketing world. The one thing she made sure we knew walking out was to PERSEVERE. The hardest part of marketing is getting people to try something in the first place, so you just have to keep pushing to make it happen; nothing will succeed overnight.”
As Ms. Horlacher closed, she gave students some final words of wisdom knowing that some, like Margaret, are about to graduate from MICDS this month and will all too soon be graduating college. “Many people are going to ask you about what you are going to do,” she shared. “It’s OK if you don’t know what you are going to do as you embark on your future. Your career, and life itself, is the result of many small steps over time.” Like some of the product launches she referred to in the discussion, success can take time. Hopefully, those who attended the presentation will take Janet’s advice to heart, one step at a time, and perhaps find themselves speaking to the MICDS Marketing Club years from now!