...And Part Time Marathoner
Let’s get this one out of the way early…I am not a web developer. I don’t pretend to be a web developer. This is a WordPress site and without the magic that is WordPress, I wouldn’t even have a website to call my own. I have worked with, and continue to work with, many talented web developers, interactive strategists, visual artists and the occasional individual who sits in front of a bank of HD screens with headphones on all day clicking on their keyboard and mouse in a flurry of activity while not actually speaking to anyone. I am not any of those people, nor do I have their talent and it is with that lack of talent that I have created ChrisZona.com.
So, that is my disclaimer and this is my website. You will find formatting errors. You will stumble upon a dead link now and again. That is not intentional. I am a perfectionist. But like I said, I am not a web developer and if I couldn’t figure out how to do it in WordPress’ very pleasant user interface and content management system, then it didn’t get fixed and probably won’t get fixed.
With that said, thanks for clicking, reading and hopefully enjoying the site.
Long ago I texted a number of friends, colleagues and associates and asked for one word that best describes me. I had visions of kicking off this ABOUT ME section with a word cloud of their responses that would look something like the image you see to the right.
Instead, after what would prove to be no shortage of replies to my “tell me about me” query, what came back in those texts, emails and phone calls was something completely different. That exercise in improved self-awareness was just over three years ago and helped to provide the impetus for continued introspection. Since that time I would like to think that I have continued to change – both privately and professionally.
Not that the original responses were negative (in the interest of transparency, they weren’t 100% positive – but more good than bad, for sure), but there is always room for improvement. So, three years later I repeated that same exercise, hoping again for a word cloud that mirrored what you see above and to the right.
However, not to my surprise, my “about me” word cloud came back to look more like what you see in the image below left:
Even my best friend Billy [see photo below right] cursed at me when I asked him for his response. Well, okay, he just sat there staring at me while begging for a treat, but still, the message was clear.
Honestly though, dogs may tell us more about management and leadership than we give them credit for. But that’s a story for another time.
So, to provide a bit more clarification into who I am and what I am about, it seems that it’s up to me to tell you about myself. Here’s what I know. I am a transplanted NY’er of Italian heritage who is an avid marathoner (31 down and counting – so that’s probably where the “crazy” part in the word cloud comes in), wannabe cyclist and former two-sport college varsity athlete who played both Division I lacrosse and soccer. I’m a fierce competitor but the truth is that I really do it because I also look damn sexy in spandex (and no such luck on that coming up in the word cloud).
I joined the insightful research-based marketing firm thesalesfactory in 2010 after spending eight years focused on the public relations, marketing and branding for Winston-Salem State University. Three years at the Sales Factory (now SFW after the acquisition of another company) prepared me for being offered a fantastic opportunity with Mack Trucks – a member of the Volvo Group – in global brand management.
I would like to think that I have a unique skill set that combines marketing, strategic communications and relationship management.
I push hard but the truth is I expect greatness of myself and greatness of others. As a self-proclaimed developer of talent (I have heard it from other people too), there are few things more satisfying than identifying the strengths of others and putting them in positions to succeed.
I received my undergraduate degree in political science from Niagara University and earned dual master’s degrees from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. And yes, I miss New York.
Finally, while I am an excellent griller (I still call it – erroneously according to my Southern friends – BBQ) and baker (my cream cheese brownies are killer) and enjoy fine foods and wine, on a daily basis I have the dietary habits of a 12-year-old as I subsist on macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers and pizza. If you can cover it in Texas Pete hot sauce, then it’s on the menu.
But enough about me. If you really want to learn more, please visit my Professional Profile page.
101 East 6th Street, Suite 514 • Winston-Salem, NC 27101 • +1.336.501.8445 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Brand Architecture, Marketing & Engagement • Market Research & Analysis • Strategic Communications • Public Relations • Project Management • Product Lifecycle Management • Go-To-Market Strategy • Brand Management & Development • Customer Experience • Change Leadership • Financial & Budget Control • Emerging, Digital & Social Media Marketing
Mack Trucks is one of the largest manufacturers of heavy-duty Class Eight trucks, engines and transmissions. Founded in 1900, Mack trucks are sold and serviced in more than 45 countries worldwide. Mack is part of the Volvo Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment, marine and industrial engines with over 95,000 global employees, production facilities in 19 countries and sales of products in more than 190 markets.
Responsible for enhancing the end-to-end Mack customer journey through utilization of the voice of customer (VOC) in an effort to identify the needs of the customer and develop customized solutions to transform the customer experience (CX). Charged with enriching the Mack brand experience by executing a total lifecycle communications and engagement strategy with the goal of improving market share, profitability and brand equity.
The global brand management and marketing group seeks to maximize the Mack Brand by ensuring effective and consistent communication and delivery of the Mack brand promise. Guidelines and strategy set forth by the Mack Global Brand Team helps to establish brand synergies across regions and communicate the Mack brand framework across all business units including – but not limited to – internal constituents, dealers and customers.
Responsible for developing the Mack brand strategy and ensuring consistency in the brand customer experience in all global markets. Works closely with global marketing and communications teams to ensure that product offerings as well as marketing and communications represent Mack’s core values and brand promise.
A full service marketing, advertising and public relations agency featuring a staff of nearly 60 professionals, The Sales Factory, Inc. boasts a client list of more than 30 nationally recognized brands with annual deliverable billings in excess of $5.2 million and budgetary oversight of nearly $20 million.
Promoted to lead a team of marketing and communications professionals across multiple verticals in three unique industries. Directed all facets of B2Band B2C brand architecture and marketing strategy, creative execution, awareness delivery (TV, print, online, OOH, social and emerging media, digital/electronic, targeted direct mail) and public relations for key accounts representing nearly 50% of The Sales Factory’s revenue. Earned product lifecycle and new product development responsibility for national hand tool manufacturer with annual sales of nearly $100 million.
Direct agency-wide media strategy for The Sales Factory’s entire client portfolio through strategy ideation, planning, negotiation, scheduling and procurement of all media including – but not limited to – traditional, digital and social media. Responsible for the management of a total media-purchasing budget in excess of $18 million. Ensure all media strategy exceeds company and client benchmarks while executing profitable campaigns. Manage future-focused media relations strategy for TSF’s clients through the development and maintenance of collaborative relationships with working media and publicity community across a wide array of product and professional service categories.
Responsible for the oversight of key accounts representing over 50% of total company revenue. Management included the development of national consumer-facing branding for clients including the creation and coordination of advertising and marketing campaigns, brand management and development, interactive and creative development, direct marketing, social and emerging media marketing, media buying, strategic consulting, public relations management and sales strategy implementation with oversight of a total advertising budget in excess of $4.5 million.
Department of Athletics, with 75 employees and 300+ student-athletes across 15 intercollegiate sports, is under the University of North Carolina system and functions as an independent entity. A fully, self-supported “company” with an annual budget of $13 million. The university has over 1,000 employees with an enrollment of more than 6,400 students.
Appointed to role for expertise in crisis communications and public relations policy-crafting during a time of successive, politically sensitive transition and change at university leadership level. Complemented primary accountability for media relations and communications with increased responsibility for departmental budgeting and personnel management.
Full ownership of department marketing, internal and external communications, PR, website, all publications, media buying, event management and advertising while controlling a $250K+ annual marketing budget. Spearhead all aspects of creative, media, advertising, branding and sponsorship for the University.
Obtained a unique position, leading design and delivery of targeted internal and external media campaigns, collateral, marketing materials and launch of the WSSURams.com website to increase visibility and brand awareness.
Canisius College – Buffalo, NY
Master of Business Administration – Marketing
Niagara University – Niagara University, NY
Bachelor of Arts – Political Science and History (Double Major)
Vistage (An International CEO Organization)
Member – Key Executives Group
Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
North Carolina Chapter Member
International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)
Charlotte Chapter Member
American Marketing Association (AMA)
Charlotte Chapter Member
Action Greensboro – Greensboro, NC
Education & Leadership Committee
Piedmont Craftsmen Incorporated – Winston-Salem, NC
Board of Directors Member
Encore Society of the W-S Symphony – Winston-Salem, NC
Encore Society Member