Marketing Graduate Wins Big in Vegas

Southern Illinois University



Marketing Graduate Wins Big in Vegas

October 01, 2014, Emily Precht


Robyn Phelan, Marketing '11

Robyn Phelan, senior marketing manager at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, is making her mark in the city known as “The Entertainment Capital of the World.”

Phelan graduated from Southern Illinois University in 2011 with a degree in marketing and speech communication, with a specialization in public relations.

As the senior marketing manager at the Palms, Phelan is responsible for all paid digital advertising. That includes executing all display, mobile (including SMS), video and social media advertising for the casino hotel and its entities. She also manages the relationships with the search marketing agency and affiliate program partner.

The biggest reward of her job, Phelan says, is “seeing the light bulb go off with upper management after countless of meetings spent explaining the benefits of digital advertising. It feels good to share my knowledge and teach people.” That level of involvement is nothing new for Phelan. During her time at SIU, she took on multiple roles throughout the College of Business:

  • She was the director of public relations for the SIU chapter of American Marketing Association.

  • She created the first-ever Polar Plunge for Special Olympics on campus (which is still a success today).

  • She interned with Chicago Fire, Saluki Athletics and the Southern Illinois Miners.

  • She participated in an externship with the Chicago Blackhawks.

“Many people told me I was crazy, and that I should just take it easy,” Phelan says. “I am glad I didn’t let those individuals hold me back from doing what I did, because otherwise I wouldn’t have the knowledge or skills that I do today.”

Phelan says the biggest thing she learned throughout her years at SIU and in the College of Business is “to find your passion and never let anything hold you back.” “Without being in the College of Business, I 100 percent guarantee you that I would not be in Vegas today,” she says.

Phelan moved to Vegas only a few short weeks after graduating to take advantage of an opportunity to intern with Digital World Expo. The annual conference was hosted by a fellow College of Business graduate, Shawn Rorick, who wanted to bring other Salukis to Las Vegas.

“The College of Business offers a lot of great opportunities that allow you to put your best foot forward,” she says, adding that she had “countless meetings” with Matt Purdy, the associate director of career services and placement in the college’s Business Placement Center, to perfect her résumé, explore internship and externship opportunities, and just talk through her thoughts about what she wanted in a career.

As an alumna of the College of Business, Phelan still keeps in touch with a handful of professors, saying: “Without their commitment to education and students, I wouldn’t have the knowledge I have today – and wouldn’t be able to do what I do on a daily basis.”

“Once a Saluki, always a Saluki” is a motto Phelan and many of the alumni from the College of Business have taken to heart. “I have an SIU pencil holder on my desk, and my dog wears an SIU collar,” she says. “When I cross paths with a fellow Saluki, you create a special bond that can never be replaced. Go, Dawgs!”