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Kirsten Holder

Mass Communications (Advertising), 2011

Currently

Director of Marketing, Hal Smith Restaurant Group

Kirsten Holder      

Briefly describe your career path. 

I am a marketing professional, currently practicing at the Hal Smith Restaurant Group. I oversee all earned media and marketing efforts, including public relations, digital and print advertising, social media, email, and website communications.

Formally, I was the Senior Marketing Manager at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. In the first year of my museum career, I worked for The Museum Store, where I doubled website sales and created and implemented a marketing plan that was otherwise nonexistent. I was promoted to Digital Marketing Manager for the whole Museum, then to Senior Marketing Manager 10 months later. Previously I held marketing positions at Teleflora, LLC, and Jordan Advertising in Oklahoma City. I serve many community organizations throughout Oklahoma City, including the Oklahoma City University Alumni Board, Midtown Oklahoma City Rotary Club, AD2OKC, Central Oklahoma Humane Society, Sunbeam Family Services, P.E.O., and the children’s ministry at LifeChurch.tv.

Describe what an average day looks like. 

Organization is key, however controlled chaos is inevitable. Sometimes I have long leads on deadlines, other times an advertising representative or reporter may call and need information and materials on the spot. As the face of the institution, I am always ready to be "on" at a moment's notice. I am the youngest member of the Hal Smith’s leadership team.

What advice would you give your college self about pursuing work in your current industry? 

Be a sponge and absorb all the information you can - including other's successes and failures. Use that information as a tool in planning your own campaigns. Never doubt your instinct - it's better to be decisive and fail than to be passive and not make any decisions as at all.

What is a lesson learned at OKCU that you have been able to apply to your career? 

You always have a connection in common! Word gets around in any industry, for better and worse. Kindness and hard work will get you really far!

What is the most significant thing that’s happened to you since graduating? 

During my time at the National Cowboy Museum, I had been promoted three times, and then scouted for the Director of Marketing position at Hal Smith. It has been a whirlwind, and definitely hardest I have ever worked, but it has also been the most rewarding. I could not have handled the pressure without my amazing and supportive family, including my husband, Andrew Holder (OCU grad) and my schnauzer, Clifford!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

In 10 years, I hope to be Chief Marketing Officer at a large nonprofit, advertising agency, or educational institution. I have also considered teaching marketing/communications at the collegiate level.

The trip cemented the direction and focus on my chosen field of study, and really broadened the horizons of what was possible in this industry. From then on, everything I learned in the classroom related back to tangible, real-world situations that I had experienced abroad.

What is your favorite OKCU memory? 

While I was at OCU, I had the opportunity to study abroad through the Mass Communications department. We studied at Kingston University in London. The trip cemented the direction and focus on my chosen field of study, and really broadened the horizons of what was possible in this industry. From then on, everything I learned in the classroom related back to tangible, real-world situations that I had experienced abroad.