Alumna comes back to say thank you

Jonathan Rhodes

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Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Kimberly King returned to the universty after 33 years of applying the knowledge that she recieved to her positions in the service.
Jonathan Rhodes/ The Lion's Roar

The university’s annual “Marketing Breakfast” featured retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Kimberly King as the guest speaker to speak on what she learned while she attended the university.

The breakfast was held in the Student Union Grand Ballroom on April 17 and was sponsored by the Southeastern Marketing Association, marketing faculty and G. Dean Brunson of Richmond, Virginia. 

King graduated from the university in 1985 as a marketing major, and King joined the navy after college. She started out as anaviation maintenance administrationman but transitioned to the Aircrew program flying C-130, C-9B and DC-9 transport planes.

King held a position that not a lot of women got to hold, and she claimed that acquiring the position had a lot to do with what she learned as a marketing major.

“In the 1980s, women had a hard time in the military,” said King. “About six percent of the military was women. I was asking to do a male-oriented job, and that was not an easy thing. I put in what was called a request shift which was a request to do something, and I was turned down two times. They told me that I needed to ‘sell yourself,’ and I knew how to do that from interviews and sales in marketing that I learned in school. I had to introduce myself just right and let that person know how their business is going to benefit from letting me in. I got that position because of this school teaching me how to do it.”

King explained to the students in attendance how important marketing is in their normal lives away from business and how what they are learning can help them in almost every way.

“Marketing is the sale or promotion of an ideal or a product,” said King. “We do that all of the time. If you are beholden to a cause, you market it. My husband and I rent old cabins up in the mountains since I retired 11 years ago from the service. To start this out, I used every marketing skill that I learned here. We had a enormous Vietnam veterans event, and again I used the skills I learned here and it went on without a flaw. I tell people that I learned all of this from Southeastern.”

King said that the reason that she wanted to come back to the university and speak was because of her aunt who passed away, who was a teacher and got her education degree from the university.

“I was talking to her and she said that ‘nobody ever came back and told me if what I taught them as a teacher mattered,’” said King. “I thought about that after she passed away, that Southeastern needs to be thanked for the things that it taught me that I thought at the time did not matter but mattered so very much.”

Marketing Internship Coordinator April Kemp, an instructor of marketing and supply chain management was glad that King reached out to her to speak to the students about their degree and about success that they can achieve.

“I think it is important for our students to see that a degree in marketing will give you the foundation to go into a variety of careers,” said Kemp. “It was also valuable for students to hear that the concepts they are learning right now can also be used in the future to help them be successful.  In fact, several students have told us that they found her message to be personally impactful. Often students struggle to figure out what they will do after graduation, Mrs. King showed that success can be found in many different settings if you use the knowledge from your degree to create opportunities.”

The students enjoyed the wisdom that King imparted to them about using their marketing skills and went to talk to her after the breakfast was over.

“Definitely inspirational,” said junior marketing major Mitchell Piper. “I haven’t been to a speaker that graduated from here before and got to hear some feedback on how they were able to utilize everything that they did learn. I’m pretty interested in joining the Air Force and it is really interesting how her marketing degree enhanced her time in the military which I’m hoping that I am able to do someday.” 

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