My name is Jocelyn Ruark and I’m the former Director of Marketing for The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, one of the largest breweries in the Southeast with 150 employees. I founded and built OMB Marketing from the ground up to include three other employees. We handled all social media, social partnerships, donations, marketing, public relations, press relations, advertising, creative work, and event management for OMB in-house. My successful brand-building campaigns resulted in the Brewery breaking sales and attendance records every year and increasing overall revenue 20%.
My involvement with Marketing and Entrepreneurship began in undergrad. While at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School, one of my professors connected me with the Triangle Startup Factory (TSF) in Durham, an incubator. Through TSF, I interned with a startup named PopUp. PopUp hired me to create a social media campaign to raise awareness of its location-based social networking app.
Trying my hand at creating a social media campaign at PopUp led to my interest in analyzing other companies’ social media strategies, which led to my completion of an Honors Thesis exploring the calculation of social media return on investment. In my thesis, I used metrics to rank the Fortune 100 in terms of the effectiveness of their social media efforts, and then wrote case studies on several firms (Disney, Microsoft, AIG, and Goldman Sachs) investigating what they did right or wrong. I graduated from Chapel Hill with Honors and with Distinction.
After school, I moved to Austin TX to work for Dell. Although I was hired into Dell’s Finance Development Program (FDP), I looked for opportunities to incorporate social media into my work life. Most significantly, I created an all encompassing social media campaign for FDP to use in recruiting across the country. Although I got no extra funding or extra time allotted for this work, I grew FDP Social Media to an 8 person team, created several active social media accounts, met with managers across Dell to edit my messaging appropriately, and grew FDP’s online following and recruitment. Word of my social media success got around and even Michael Dell recognized my efforts. I was asked to help with other Dell social media campaigns, and was profiled in Entrepreneurship videos inside Dell and in recruiting videos outside.
After a few years in Dell Finance, I decided to follow my heart and pursue my passion for social media, marketing, and communications by returning to graduate school. I resigned from Dell and returned home to Charlotte following my acceptance at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications. Back in Charlotte, I heard about OMB and visited the Brewery for the first time. I decided on the spot that I wanted to work there until I headed off to graduate school. I asked if I could speak to a Manager and was introduced to Jose, former OMB GM. He took a chance and hired me.
A few months later, I was a week away from moving to Chicago to attend Northwestern. I approached OMB’s founder, John Marrino, about staying at OMB to build and professionalize its Marketing department and programming from the ground up while completing my degree. He accepted, and over the next three and a half years I did just that. As part of my tenure at OMB, I was also heavily involved in the Craft Freedom fight to lift North Carolina’s 25,000 barrel cap law, and the establishment and growth of LoSo Neighborhood.