Feeling Like a Swiss Army Knife

by Jeff Ebbing
Southeastern Community College
West Burlington, IA

So this was my week (and I am not making any of this up):

Monday: Meet with college emergency team to deal with report of student with alleged guns in a backpack. Cops scour the campus and suspect flees to nearby mall, which immediately goes on lockdown. Helicopter moms launch full assault. Cancel lunch plans.

Tuesday: Deal with Monday’s “safety alert.” Labor over every word of my press release; carefully explain to media how the police report shows it was secondhand info about something someone said that someone else thought might have happened last week. Stress how seriously we take matters of safety. Scratch lunch.

Wednesday: Review proposals for college communications and marketing audit. Meet with president and the development director to discuss progress of capital campaign. Attend lunch meeting for institutional signage for upcoming construction project. Strangely, no lunch is served.

Thursday: Roll out summer registration promos across media and social. Help prepare photos for new college staff ID rollout tomorrow. Break own rule and answer phone even though I don’t recognize number. Subsequently get suckered into buying an exclusive state tournament sponsorship package. Buy Cheetos from vending machine only to remember I gave them up for Lent.

Friday: Professional development day – facilitate two sessions on enrollment ideas (while suppressing my inner fight or flight response), hastily prepare and report said ideas to 245 fellow employees as they eat their lunch and ignore me. Do photo retakes for people who are horrified by their photo ID received 30 minutes prior. Retreat to my office and write a therapeutic blog post to the only people on earth who would understand.

If it weren’t for NCMPR, I would not have survived this week. I know I’m not alone when I say that since joining this motley crew nearly 10 years ago, I’ve learned so much from so many people who are waaaay smarter than me. I owe my ability to handle crisis communications, capital campaigns, marketing strategy, brand consistency, and survive this job all to rubbing elbows with you yay-hoos.

Now I’m mere days away from doing it all over again in Portland, and I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to the sessions, the speakers and escapades with my D5 peeps. I know I’ll leave smarter than when I arrived.

As I take a deep breath and decompress from this roller coaster week, I realize that thanks to NCMPR, I’ve managed to become the marketing equivalent of a Swiss Army knife.

Did I say knife? Oops. I didn’t mean … Yes, officer, this is my ID but … Wait. Let me finish my sandwich. Is that a TV truck?

See you in Portland. Maybe.

Jeff Ebbing is director of marketing and communications (a.k.a. the marketing guy) at Southeastern Community College in West Burlington, Iowa. He likes music, mustard and a good laugh. Oh, and he’s beginning to doubt if he’ll ever get to eat lunch again.

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