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Veteran marketing exec named associate VP for engagement

by Cheryl Roland

July 7, 2011 | WMU News

KALAMAZOO--Veteran marketing executive Jim Small has been named associate vice president for engagement as part of a revamped fundraising and alumni relations structure at Western Michigan University.

Small, who has been working as a consultant with the WMU Development Office will oversee a team of professionals charged with both telling the WMU story and more actively engaging WMU alumni, friends and donors. Small's appointment is part of an overall reorganization announced by Jim Thomas, who last fall became WMU's new vice president for development and alumni relations. The reorganization took effect July 1, although Small's appointment was effective May 18.

"We are building our development and alumni relations team around three critical functions: engagement, gift development and administration," Thomas says. "Engagement is about identifying and inviting potential donors and alumni to become involved in the life of the University. Jim Small has already shown his ability to provide leadership in communication and outreach activities. He was the creative force behind 'Operation: Historic Moment,' which focused attention on and got the community involved in the announcement of a $100 million gift to WMU in March."

Small will lead a team of five engagement managers as well as a marketing and communication unit. He also will oversee the annual giving, stewardship and alumni relations offices for WMU. Jamie Jeremy, who has served as WMU's chief alumni relations officer since 1984, will shift her focus to serve as chief relationship officer, reporting directly to Thomas.

"Jamie Jeremy will continue to staff and serve the WMU Alumni Association as executive director of the alumni association board, but her major responsibilities will shift," Thomas says. "We want her to work with donors and serve the University by nurturing and strengthening the many relationships she's developed over the years."

In addition, the new structure includes Executive Director for Development Administration Colleen Lewis, formerly director of WMU internal audit, who will be responsible for data management, technical services, financial reporting, gift processing and administrative support.

Four regionally focused gift officers will be named as well as four major gift officers who will specialize in fundraising for targeted areas of the University. Those eight appointments are now in progress and will be announced later this summer.

Playing new roles in development and alumni relations are the following people. They are part of the engagement group headed by Jim Small.

Four engagement managers:

Mellissa Porter, formerly of the development office, will be assistant engagement manager.

Hardy Figueroa, formerly in the alumni relations office, will be associate director for alumni relations efforts.

Sarah Troup, who formerly was director of donor relations, has been named director of stewardship.

Small joins WMU after spending the past 10 years building a company he co-founded, Story Worldwide. Headquartered in New York City, Story Worldwide is a global content marketing firm that tells stories for some of the world's leading brands: Lexus, Bank of America, UPS, Klondike Bars, Nestle, Popsicle, Johnson & Johnson and Starbucks, to name a few.

Prior to that, Small spent 12 years with a content marketing company called The Quarton Group, which is based in Troy, Mich. For his final seven years with Quarton, he was president of the company, which counted among its clients such athletic organizations as the NBA, NHL, NASCAR, PGA and the United States Tennis Association.

A Michigan native, Small earned a bachelor's degree in advertising from Ferris State University.