Market Maven - Paige Olney Zars '09

Market Maven

As a kid Paige Olney Zars ’09 crafted her own play business cards, brochures, and posters. She also liked learning the jingles to her favorite television commercials. It stands to reason that her childhood pastimes would crop up again as the focus of her career in marketing. Now all grown up, Zars works as a marketing coordinator at JohnsonRauhoff, a communications group based in Saint Joseph, Michigan, which specializes in marketing, product communications, and photography.

But Zars didn’t settle on marketing from the get-go. As a sophomore at Saint Mary’s, she leaned toward majoring in business because of the broadness of the program, but took her time to give it some serious thought. When she recalled a marketing class she took in high school and how much fun it was for her, Zars decided to go with the business major, but focus on the marketing side of things. 

Her decision paid off. “Once I entered the working world, I was shocked at how often I put my knowledge to use,” Zars says. She had taken several of Professor Bill Shannon’s marketing courses at the College and says his real-world-scale assignments gave her the hands-on experience she needed.

Zars recalls Shannon’s “advertising and promotions” course in which students designed a full pseudo marketing campaign for Martin’s Supermarkets, which they presented to corporate management as part of their grade. “The project taught me so much about a marketing campaign, from budgeting to learning the terminology, and ways to purchase media such as billboards, radio, and television spots,” says Zars. She also minored in advertising and another creative passion, dance.

Zars has come a long way from making pretend business cards. At JohnsonRauhoff she works as the liaison between clients and the creative team, a group of copywriters, graphic designers, and art directors. She is involved in market research, budgeting, and estimates. Recently, Zars worked on two photoshoots for lifestyle guru Katie Brown and even got to appear on Brown’s PBS-TV show “Katie Brown Workshop.”

In her free time Zars teaches three ballet classes at Dance Arts in Stevensville, Michigan. She is also a new member of Women’s Service League, a southwestern Michigan club dedicated to community service.