As NTC’s new CEO Margaret Eames says, “We’ve always had women in leadership roles at NTC, and still do. That’s key to what we do and how we do it.”
And NTC is all the better for it. Research has shown that companies with more women in senior positions are more profitable, more socially responsible and provide safer, higher-quality customer experiences – among many other benefits, like being both more open to change and less risk-seeking – as noted recently in the Harvard Business Review.
Taking a moment to highlight a few of the impressive women who serve as managers and department directors at NTC; it’s easy to see how their impact and influence is undeniable in the inner and outer workings of the company. Here’s an example: When confronted with the ongoing pandemic that directly conflicted with NTC’s primary product – live in-school theatre assemblies across the country – Morgan Marx. (Digital & Video Manager) jumped into filming and editing all new livestreams, digitizing all of the educational materials and updating websites for widespread access. Melissa Kim (Data Manager) reworked the established online scheduling system and internal CRM processes to fit better with a new world for educators that is asynchronous, hybrid and ever-fluctuating. MaryLynn Mennicke (School Communications Director) conceived and spearheaded a whole new outreach process, down to the tactics per campaign and troubleshooting the implementation of the code herself to ensure this new method worked to deliver livestream education programs to the scores of schools expecting it.
As a result, NTC was able to reach 1.3 million students in the 2020-21 school year, despite the pandemic. As we approach the halfway point of the 2021-22 school year with over 1,700 schools having already received our new programming, NTC is poised again to meet their clients’ goals while engaging and inspiring thousands of students. How? Leadership.
Learn more about these NTC leaders to watch:
Name: Morgan Marx
Title: Digital and Video Manager
Years at NTC: 7
What does a typical day look like for you? Every day at NTC is different and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Some days I am in the back studio filming our next video with the rest of the production crew. These productions usually include a few cameras, sound and light systems, a large colorful set and a handful of quirky characters. On non-filming days, there is a good chance I am editing the newly created content to be used in all different media settings. And if I am not working with video, I am working in web development: websites, digital games, email campaigns, etc. To get all of the digital content out there, I need to work with all of the different departments within the company. Which means a ton of emails and fun excursions across the office for drop-in visits.
Your leadership style: Team focused, promote energy management
Favorite project you’ve led at NTC: Leading the building of microsites for clients is always a fun new challenge I enjoy doing. Each build is a great opportunity to be creative and learn new skills.
If you had to give a piece of professional advice to a younger you, what would it be? Be comfortable with making mistakes – it will create learning opportunities and result in more personal progress and efficiency than always aiming for perfection.
Name: Melissa Kim
Title: Data Manager
Years at NTC: 3
Department: Creative Services/IT
What does a typical day look like for you? I’m not sure if my days are ever typical but I can tell this – on any given day, you can always find me knee-deep in data. With my role, it’s imperative to understand the data landscape and all its caveats as I am constantly cleaning, manipulating, and prepping data to support the needs of my colleagues. The accuracy of our data is of high importance to me, so having a keen eye and being conscientious is essential. So whenever I feel I’m in data overload, it’s important to step away for a spell. That’s when I can have some doggie downtime with my 4 month-old Corgi pup, Spumoni, and her Shiba Inu sister, Kimchi.
Your leadership style: Communication is key and it’s also a two-way street. That’s why I like to embrace the collaborate approach when it comes to leadership. I find that engaging in thoughtful conversations and actively soliciting feedback from team members can really go a long way in improving operations and providing innovative solutions.
Favorite project you’ve led at NTC: I don’t have a specific project per say, but one thing I absolutely love is being able to get creative and develop methods and/or build something new which helps make someone else’s workday run smoother.
If you had to give a piece of professional advice to a younger you, what would it be? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box – sometimes the best ideas/solutions are found there.
Name: MaryLynn Mennicke
Title: Director, School Communications
Years at NTC: 11.5
Department: School Communications
What does a typical day look like for you: Meeting with my staff to help them align priorities, problem-solve and make plans; reviewing and creating marketing materials (copy, webpages, videos, designed print materials) and plans; discussing communication tactics; reviewing Salesforce processes and data and directing and implementing workflow; answering the phone and talking to educators interested in our programs; discussing program decisions and strategies cross-departmentally with other department leads; answering too many emails!
Your leadership style: I believe that leaders should work harder than the people who report to them. I believe that leadership comes with responsibility and privilege and as such, you owe it to the people who are trusting in you to give them as much if not more than what you’re expecting from them. I believe in collaborating – sharing and debating ideas and working together to choose the best solution in every situation. I believe that pop-culture references and nerdy jokes make any meeting more fun. I believe in advocating for and protecting my people, as well as challenging them to act and work with thorough plans and well-thought-out intentions in all our communications. I believe a plan succeeds or fails based on the details: the plan is the weeds, and as a leader it’s important to me to understand the details and listen to the people who are on the front lines in executing any plan, and get their buy-in to the idea and the detail.
Favorite project you’ve led at NTC: Any project where I get to train people is my favorite. It feels great to share the knowledge I’ve accumulated and connect it in a way that’s helpful to others, and it’s also always fun to have others reflect and expand your expertise at the same time with fresh thinking and approaches. But two particular projects come to mind: one, designing company-wide processes for our company project management of our contracts, and then meeting with each department to train and implement the new process. Seeing lightbulbs go off and things clicking – and getting buy-in on new processes aided with training that I catered to each department felt like a huge success. Second, I once hired representatives to travel on-the-road for us for a specialized outreach project, visiting our school contacts in person to facilitate their participation in NTC programs and deliver materials. Organizing their materials, planning their visits and training on how to engage these educators in the benefits of our programs was a huge project to get off the ground – and I felt like I could live vicariously through them as they made connections with educators in person.
If you had to give a piece of professional advice to a younger you, what would it be: Stop volunteering to make every problem yours to solve. It’s not sustainable.
Name: Nikki Swoboda
Title: Director of Sales and Marketing
Years at NTC: Almost 1 done
What does a typical day look like for you? While every day is a little different at NTC, each day has the same tenets. I check my schedule for meetings to identify my work progress time, then start with my inbox for any immediate needs. I will usually have a department or cross-department meeting before I can clear the inbox, which then brings me to decision-making mode, fact-finding missions or quick huddles with other colleagues. If I haven’t already, I check in with School Communications next and then check in on Client Services projects. Some more meetings, then a laugh or two, a marketing project, some afternoon coffee, a Salesforce/TaskRay check and finally try to finish a project that can still get done and out today!
Your leadership style: I often use Brené Brown’s quote, “Clear is kind.” I believe in a lot of communication as a leader. I also depend on large whiteboards for lists and brainstorms, and Post-its for promises and one-liners.
Favorite project you’ve led at NTC: I’ve enjoyed reshaping our email marketing strategies in Sales and Marketing and getting creative with our content to convert clicks to leads. I also really got into helping to shape copy and tactics for teacher campaigns last winter when the brilliance of MaryLynn, Melissa and Bill [Turner, NTC’s Director of IT] figured out the new booking system!
If you had to give a piece of professional advice to a younger you, what would it be: You have plenty to offer – know that you are the goods.