Elizabeth Lambert WWU Women of Marketing

WWU Women of Marketing Feature with Elizabeth Lambert Director of Marketing and Brand Strategy

As March and Women's History Month ends, the WWU Marketing Program would like to take this time to appreciate all the incredible women who are shaping marketing at Western Washington University.

8 months ago, Western Washington University was thrilled to bring Elizabeth Lambert on board as our new Director of Marketing and Brand Strategy. Elizabeth was lucky enough to have fate on her side when securing this role! As she stated "I’ve worked at a variety of different types of higher education institutions, and I’ve found that I feel my most fulfilled at universities with an ethos centered around student success and inclusive achievement. When I first visited campus, I could really see Western’s commitment to students reflected in its spaces and communities. I initially applied and interviewed for another role in University Relations and Marketing, and while I instantly fell in love with Western, I wished that the role was more aligned with my university marketing experience. As luck would have it, my dream role became available just weeks after my initial interview, and so I jumped at the opportunity to move to Western."

As a marketer, Elizabeth finds it exciting to join organizations during transformation or expansion, and Western is planning on expanding its educational offerings in a way that will require creative thought and innovation. That will prove Elizabeth with the perfect opportunity to flex her strategic muscles while working alongside some truly gifted creative professionals in University Relations and Marketing.

What goals are you trying to achieve within this role?

My team and I have several objectives we’re trying to achieve, both externally and internally. First, we’re working with departments across campus (most notably Admissions, the Graduate School, and Outreach and Continuing Education) to develop digital campaigns to increase awareness of and interest in Western’s academic programs and student life opportunities. Our team is also relatively new, so we’re being intentional about being proactive with our consultation and collaboration. We’re making time and space to build community among marketing and communications professionals across campus. We’re creating a shared purpose among campus communicators to boost collaboration, which can ultimately lead to better brand consistency and stronger advocacy.

What does a typical day look like for you?

The bulk of the workday is typically comprised of several different types of collaborative meetings: check-ins with members of the University Marketing team, creative reviews, planning or assessment meetings with different departments within University Relations and Marketing, and working sessions with partners across campus. When I’m not in meetings, I write reports, marketing plans, creative briefs, or copy for our digital projects. And there are almost always multiple Teams chats at play. We have no shortage of enthusiastic and visionary partners across campus, and we’re always plotting how to fix the world’s problems…one webpage or digital ad at a time.

I wouldn’t be able to bring my best self to work every day without my family. I’m the mom of a seven-year-old, and my husband, Jason, takes on the lion’s share of parenting responsibilities, which has allowed me to pursue professional goals. Juggling work with medical appointments, school obligations, and basketball practice can be challenging, but having a partner who shares responsibilities makes all the difference.

Was there a female role model in your life who helped you to become who you are today?

Oh gosh! I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from so many amazing women! Dr. Sandra Kirschenmann taught me to plan strategically and articulate a clear vision. Dr. Kellie Butler modeled how to lead organizations through tough times while treating every individual with dignity and respect. In my current role, I have the great fortune of learning from Donna Gibbs and her wealth of marketing and communications experience. And of course, my incredible mother has always been a huge inspiration to me, even though I may not have always given her the credit she deserves. She really set the bar.

What is something you wish you would have known early in your career?

Virtually none of the positions I’ve held existed ten years ago. It’s often said that the jobs of the future don't exist yet, and I believe that statement is becoming more and more true as technology and innovation continue to transform the economy and the way we work. I am where I am today because I was able to identify emerging needs and technologies and start integrating them into my work. I wish I’d known how much a willingness to evolve would play in professional success – more than competence in any one specific area. Lifelong learning and curiosity are essential to staying relevant and competitive.

What advice would you give to young women alumni beginning to look for a marketing job?

WWU Women of Marketing feature with quote from Elizabeth Lambert Director of Marketing and Brand Strategy at WWU

Specialization is important, but being a generalist can help you see the bigger picture and make connections that others might miss. Play the long game by analyzing descriptions of positions you aspire to and give yourself an edge by identifying the skills and experiences you’ll need to reach each new level of an organization. Specializing in a specific function or niche can serve you early in your career, but I encourage you to devote your extra energy to developing a broad range of knowledge and people-management skills. It will leave you better equipped to adapt to new challenges and take advantage of new opportunities.

Do you think that individuals wanting to go into marketing should get experience outside of this field?

WWU Women of Marketing feature with quote from Elizabeth Lambert Director of Marketing and Brand Strategy at WWU

Everyone has a different path, but I’d encourage early career professionals to avoid getting too attached to labels and titles. Explore, jump around, and make lateral moves that allow you to get closer to the work that aligns most with your talents, values, and interests. I’m undoubtedly a better marketer because of the time I spent in recruitment, administrative support, internal communications, and broadcasting roles. Those experiences helped me better understand my interests, talents, and preferences, but more importantly, they helped me develop empathy and an understanding of functions across an organization. Say yes to the opportunities that you’re offered, make and learn from mistakes, figure out what thrills you, and then find (or make!) a position that pulls it all together.

As Elizabeth continues her journey at Western Washington University you can follow the amazing strides she takes to increase awareness and development a community on campus by following her on LinkedIn! You can also follow the WWU Marketing Program on LinkedIn where we will be featuring Women of Marketing throughout the year!