List Plebes Speak Out

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NEW YORK -- A panel of past winners of the Ron Davis Award spoke out Aug. 16 at the Direct Marketing Association's List Vision show.

The session was laid back, as moderator Michael Heaney, vice president of sales at Millard Group, asked the young list professionals several random questions, starting with: "What do you find to be the least favorite part of your job?"

"Unreasonable client demands," an audience member shouted.

"Actually, unreasonable client demands is my favorite part of the job," said panelist Jeremy Johnson, account director at Millard Group. "There's always something to do that way."

Many in the audience chuckled.

Mr. Heaney's next question was for Heather Winnicki, account executive at Direct Media.

"What are some of your good qualities in terms of how you work?" he asked.

"Multitasking," she replied. "I could get five calls after lunch from all different clients making some sort of demands. Miraculously, I manage to address all needs before the end of the day."

When asked whom she modeled herself after, panelist Britt Bean-Perry called Lori Magill-Cook, senior vice president of data management at American List Counsel, her mentor.

"Lori is one of the smartest professionals in the business," said Ms. Perry, who is vice president, client marketing manager at ALC.

The Ron Davis Award goes to individuals with no more than five years of service in the list industry who show commitment to direct marketing as a career. It was named for Ron Davis, former director of list management at Meredith Corp., who died of cancer in 1995. The award first was presented in 1996.

This year's recipients are Hayley Fenster of ALC, Marc Patterson of Millard Group and Mariela Almonacy of Bottom Line Lists.

Mr. Heaney asked the panelists how the industry has changed since they won the award. Jonathan Pogact, director of business development at Mal Dunn Associates, is a 2005 recipient.

"Search engine optimization has taken on a strong role within the direct marketing industry," Mr. Pogact said. "That would be something that I have witnessed take shape."

Mr. Johnson added that he has seen companies being sold and players change.

Lastly, Mr. Heaney asked Ms. Perry how she will survive in this ever-changing industry. She said partnering with the mailer is the key to success.

"I don't want to be a vendor, I want to be a partner," she said. "I want a list owner to tell me its goals and I will make them my own, and we will both succeed."

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