Published August 31, 2021
This month's featured Professional Staff Senate member is Elena Conti-Blatto, Director of Marketing in the Office of University Communications.
I have worked at the University at Buffalo for six years.
This was an inaugural position and I was very excited to have been offered such an exciting opportunity. I enjoy the branding and marketing aspects tremendously, and especially raising awareness of the university, communicating the great research and work we are doing here at UB on national and international levels. What I found especially inspiring was the collaboration during the research phases of the identity and branding initiative. I feel this is what truly contributed to making it successful.
Saying no –I always try to find solutions and help as many units as I’m able to, but that is not always possible.
I am very proud to have been part of the university’s identity and brand strategy initiative. After several rounds of research, we launched in 2016, which was a great accomplishment. However, what’s been even more impressive has been the evolution of the brand –how it has been embraced and adopted throughout the university. I have been involved in several branding initiatives throughout my marketing career, but this has been the most successful by far. I attribute it to the level of collaboration (mentioned previously), the training we implemented, and the tools we provided to make the application as easy as possible. The robust brand site has provided an incredible tool to all units across the university, making it easy for them to apply the brand standards to their communication pieces. Over the years, we have heard from people internally and externally, complimenting us on how well organized, informative and helpful the site is; they actually use our site as an example of how to bring a brand to life.
We have a group of incredibly talented people, not only in the roles they have within UC but also in their passions outside of work. I feel fortunate to work in a department that is made of such wonderful (and kind) people.
I know it’s a cliché, but always follow your passion, keep on top of trends and be curious about everything. Find a mentor who inspires you and meet with them regularly. Leave your ego at the door –be able to listen, communicate, compromise, problem solve and work with different teams and stakeholders. These are invaluable traits for any professional, but especially for those just starting out.
I love to bake and cook, trying new recipes as much as possible. And I like to entertain, but COVID has certainly put a stop to that. So now I bake and drop it off at friends’ houses (mainly so I don’t eat it all 😊).
I love to make homemade gnocchi and sauce –my family loves this and it is a recipe handed down from my grandmother to my mother to me. I also love to make cheesecake –I try to customize it. If a person loves Reese’s peanut butter cups, for example, I will make a peanut butter cheesecake.
That’s really a tough question because I love to travel and there are just so many incredible and breathtaking places to see both in and outside of the U.S. My previous job took me around the world so there are many places I would love to return to. One of those places is Australia–the people are incredibly fun-loving and so welcoming. It’s really such a beautiful country.
I have recently (pre-COVID) returned to something I used to do in my ‘younger days’ which is tap dancing. I forgot how much fun it is and what a great workout. I hope to return to it once the COVID situation is under control.