B. Comm. (Co-op), 1995, MBA, 2003
Executive Director, Marketing and Development
The Rooms Corporation
St. John’s, NL
For Deanne Fisher, studying business at the undergraduate and graduate level at Memorial University has provided an excellent foundation for a vibrant career in marketing and communications – one that has led her to her current position as executive director of marketing and development at The Rooms Corporation.
It was in her first year of general studies at Memorial that Ms. Fisher began to realize that a career in business, and specifically marketing, was for her.
“When I had started university in 1989, you had to do a general studies year,” she says. “Entering university, I don’t know that I was set that I was going to do business but the general studies year sort of helped me figure out some courses that I liked and then I decided, after doing some courses that were more business related, that it was something I tended to gear towards – it was more my interest, my aptitude.”
She feels that the experience gained from the work term component of the bachelor of commerce program was invaluable.
“I was able to accept challenges – I wasn’t nervous about going into something new because I had these work terms that gave me some confidence. I’d learned from great people that I had worked with.”
Following graduation from the bachelor of commerce program in 1995, Ms. Fisher wanted to work in the advertising industry and secured a position with M5 Marketing Communications in St. John’s as an account manager/director.
“[M5] was really where I cut my teeth in marketing. It really shaped my career path,” she says. “You just got thrown into the middle of any project, doing whatever was required for your clients … All of the things you studied and learned about in textbooks, you did.”
While working at M5, Ms. Fisher also completed her master in business administration (MBA) at Memorial on a part-time basis.
“Working with the people in the program was a great experience because there were so many different perspectives brought to the program. People were coming from engineering, some people were social workers â”€ it just brought all different backgrounds to play [and] you benefited a lot from your colleagues.”
In 2003, following the completion of her MBA and six years at M5, Ms. Fisher moved into a government position in communications and then to Memorial University as manager of marketing and development for the distance education program. She says that she probably would have stayed in the position at Memorial for longer but she was contacted by a friend she had met in government who asked if she was interested in taking on her current position at The Rooms.
“At this time, in early 2005, The Rooms hadn’t been open yet,” says Ms. Fisher. “It was brand new. The slate was clean from a marketing perspective, even though you were dealing with some opposition in the community.”
“It certainly did challenge me, especially the first couple of years of trying to shape the public perception of The Rooms and getting beyond a lot of that controversy, getting the brand awareness out there, marketing the institution, getting people to come through the doors.”
Ms. Fisher believes in keeping a balance between work and home life and enjoys spending family time with her five-year-old daughter, Sydney. She sits on the board of directors for her daughter’s daycare and also enjoys going to the gym, catching up with friends and continuing to learn.
In 2006 Ms. Fisher completed a master’s certificate of project management through a partnership program between York University’s Schulich School of Business and Memorial University’s Gardiner Centre. In 2011 she completed a social media and e-marketing certificate, also offered by the Gardiner Centre.
Ms. Fisher notes that keeping an open mind, especially when it comes to opportunities, has been the key to her successful career.
“I never thought that the culture sector would be where I would find so much enjoyment or so much opportunity,” she says. “You never know where things will take you.”