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Southern Illinois University



Marketing Leadership Program

March 29, 2010, Amanda Weaver

The Department of Marketing at Southern Illinois University is providing their students another opportunity to network with alumni. This is through the revival of a mentorship program that was started a few years ago by the Department’s External Advisory Board.

“The Marketing Leadership Program’s mission is to provide a partnership with marketing students that will facilitate the completion of their college experience and ease the transition into the business world, producing tomorrow’s leaders in return,” said John Heakin, a College of Business alumnus and former Chairman of the Marketing External Advisory Board. Heakin currently serves as co-chair of the Marketing Leadership Program.

The Marketing Leadership Program is sponsored by the Department of Marketing External Advisory Board and was launched in January of 2006 after extensive study that included professionally conducted focus groups of students, who formed the inaugural class. The research sought to understand the student experience and how it could be enhanced through mentorship and networking.

The mentorship program pair’s alumni with students who have similar career interests to that of their own. Over time, the alumni and student develop a dialogue discussing issues related to academics, career search, externship and internship advice, and networking.

This year, Heakin is trying to make a formal push to expand the program. Dr. Cheryl Burke Jarvis, the faculty advisor of the Marketing Leadership Program, said the External Advisory Board wants to eventually create a Registered Student Organization (RSO) and Facebook page for the program. This will allow students to recruit their peers for the marketing leadership program as well as well as allow students to mentor each other and create a more extensive network base with alumni.

Heakin said that one of the principles he believes in is that involvement in the program will extend into a longer commitment. He calls it the “mentoring family tree.” It assumes new students assigned to a particular board member will get the additional benefit of the assistance from all those former students with whom the board member has worked in the past. The student gets a more experienced person’s wisdom and a younger person’s connection to what is happening now.

In order to become a mentee, students should fill out an application form in the marketing department, located in room 229 on the second floor of the Rehn Hall. Along with the application, each student should include a cover letter as to why they would like to join the program and a resume to help the Marketing Leadership Program find the right alumnus match.