Maria Potempski

Position: Lecturer in Marketing and Public Relations

College: College of Business

Department: Derby Business School

Subject area: Marketing and Operations

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About

I'm Programme Leader for the Marketing BA Hons (PR & Advertising) degree and am a specialist lecturer in Public Relations and marketing.

I come from a practitioner background in PR and Advertising agencies where I’ve held a number of senior positions working as an account director on both consumer and business to business brands. I’ve enjoyed being part of some multi media campaigns for household names such as M&S, Charnos, Lepel and Church’s Shoes. Fashion and retail have always been of great interest to me especially the work that has involved forecasting and trend development for new product ranges.

Having that practitioner and business background has been a great asset in my responsibility to shape our Marketing degree that has a focus on PR & Advertising. It was my ambition to develop a degree that combined the best academia has to offer with a considered use of new media, which has relevance to the business world we work in. Links with national agencies and local industry helps to keep our programme focused and current; and continuing developments with international universities adds greater possibilities for the student experience.

Teaching responsibilities

As programme leader for BA (Hons) Marketing (PR & Advertising) I'm responsible for shaping the content of the degree and I'm also personal tutor for a number of marketing students.

The modules I teach are:

  • Advertising Fundamentals
  • Business Acumen and Entrepreneurship
  • Design for Marketers
  • Managing the Brand
  • PR & Media Management

I also run a ‘student consultancy’ for the programme. The work we under take is in addition to the scheduled modules and gives students the opportunity to work on live cases in a professional manner. We research, devise strategy and pitch our findings and campaign recommendations to clients, giving them options to implement our proposals, or if required place appropriate students with them through our internships programme.

Professional interests

Communication and the creative industries are my core interests. In addition to my role as programme leader here at the University of Derby, I’m also creative director for a consultancy that supports and promotes young artists from around the world. My particular specialism in PR has been put to good use helping those emerging artists to promote themselves and become creative entrepreneurs in their own right. That, for many artists and designers is the most difficult aspect of their career.

I’ve also worked in association with the Arts Council as a non-executive director for an East of England arts organisation, helping them build their own brand, secure sponsorship and bring contemporary art to rural areas so often forgotten in arts provision.

Research interests

My work with the creative sector led to becoming part of a UK business consortium in securing a bid from the former Training and Enterprise Council, to research and develop a software package enabling computer-game designers, graphic designers and artists to manage and catalogue their work. The project aimed to increase their profitability through re-purposing game-design footage and other creative images so that they could be further commercialised.

I’ve also been part of a NESTA bid that used innovation-technology as a tool to engage with and encourage a wider range of ‘viewers’ for contemporary art exhibitions. Bringing contemporary art into unusual spaces such as National Trust properties also featured in the work, breaking boundaries of where art would normally be seen and who would view it.

Qualifications

  • BA (Hons) Fine Art
  • Post Grad Textile Technology & Management
  • PGCE.

Recent publications

The Market Sensing text book which has been written by a number of my colleagues and in particular the chapter on ‘Communicating Your Research’ which I have written in collaboration with Alison Lawson.

Additional interests and activities

When there is a little time I still paint! Although I couldn’t regard myself as a great talent I have had several exhibitions throughout the Midlands and can claim that my work has also been exhibited in in North Carolina, USA. I’m also interested in the creative use of technology and harnessing its powers to produce images that are augmented with complementary information.

Experience in industry

My first experience of PR and advertising was to work in-house for a large textile manufacturing company that supplied clothing to many high street brands. During that time I was responsible for internal and external relations.  This meant producing information for a variety of stakeholders from employees to shareholders, fashion buyers to merchandisers and included trade and national media.

That led me to set up my own first agency which I managed for a number of years before it became part of a national advertising agency network.  Working with a larger portfolio of clients broadened my knowledge of differing business sectors and also gave me the scope to become involved with brand development and trend forecasting.

The next move was to PR consultancy developing PR strategy for a portfolio of clients in fashion, retail and high-tech companies and provided opportunities for international work.

International experience

I’ve worked on business to business accounts in Stockholm, helping Swedish companies establish their products in the UK. Many of these were of a technical nature and required event management at trade fairs as well as trade media relations.

I’ve also worked in Paris with the French high-tech innovators Altran, devising and implementing their recruitment strategy in the UK which was rolled out through universities with specialist engineering colleges.

Working alongside fashion design and development professionals as an independent PR consultant in the fashion-retail sector also enabled me to be part of a leisurewear development project in North Carolina. My part was to research the market, steer the communications and produce the pitch. The collection was presented and ultimately stocked by Walmart.

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