Cover Story: Direct Marketer of the Year: Marisa Anne Edmund
When the Best Path Isn't a Straight One
Marisa Edmund has known since she was 10 that she wanted her paychecks to come from a marketing career. To reach that goal, she double-majored in marketing and management at Georgetown. She even spent a semester studying international marketing at the Chinese University of Hong Kong—during the summer of 1997 that saw the British leave, the Chinese take over and Edmund kicked out of her dorm room to accommodate dignitaries involved in the transfer of sovereignty. But before that happened, she completed work at Chinese University—adding in knowledge from her internships at investment bank Friedman, Billings, Ramsey (FBR) and The Four Seasons hotel, which earned her the International Marketing Award from McDonough School of Business in 1998.
Then she entered the family business in another capacity.
"I came in doing human resources, because my dad [Robert Edmund] said, 'If you can manage people effectively, you can do anything.'" Marisa Edmund recalls.
Robert Edmund explains: "I asked Mari to start in HR because it was my first position when I joined EO after college. HR gives you an opportunity to value the people who make your company successful. It also exposes you to the many different problems that impact every expertise group within the company. You cannot lead people unless you have a ground-level appreciation for their ambitions, fears, motivations, concerns, etc. Mari is a natural leader, but the HR experience put her in tune with the real people of our company. These were not her high school or college chums! Marketing, likewise, is all about understanding your customers."
As HR director, she saw a critical need for a company that needed to sell to engineers. So she started an engineering recruiting program with universities and increased the technical staff by more than 20 percent in five years. She still thinks that choice was invaluable to EO's marketing.