Marketing Manager, intelliTECH Communications Group
By Liz Warren-Pederson
Opportunity knocks, but sometimes a knock can turn into an opportunity, as Gabriela Head discovered when she dropped by associate professor of marketing Hope Schau’s office one day.
Head, who holds undergraduate degrees in business management and political science from the UA, entered the Eller MBA after a seven-year career working for a nonprofit organization and a forensic laboratory in administrative and leadership positions.
She expected to focus her graduate education on finance, but after completing a marketing strategy project during her internship with Inteland enrolling in Schau’s integrated marketing communications course, she began to rethink her path.
“Hope’s class really ignited my passion for brand communities and consumer collaboration research,” Head explained. That was when she went to visit Schau.
Schau’s colleague Gauray Bhalla – formerly of TNS Global Market Research – was looking for a research assistant. Schau recommended Head without hesitation, and Bhalla hired her.
For the next 18 months, Head worked with Bhalla and another research assistant on the completion of his book, Collaboration and Co-Creation: New Platforms for Marketing and Innovation, which was published in 2010.
“The book is designed to assist organizations in systematically designing and implementing effective collaborative innovation programs,” Head explained. Through collaborative innovation programs, she added, organizations such as Hallmark, the Phoenix Suns, Nike, Audi, and Dell have produced greater value for customers than possible by acting alone.
Over the course of the project, Head used traditional research methods and monitored social media and web chatter to develop case studies and content for the book.
“Working with Dr. Bhalla was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” she said. “He has been a wonderful mentor, and the value I received from this experience was similar to completing another year and a half of graduate school.”
After completing her Eller MBA, Head joined intelliTECH Communications Group as marketing manager. The company provides technology solutions to small and medium-sized organizations.
She has also stayed connected with Schau, with whom she worked on a research project focused on the Twilight saga brand community for a chapter of the forthcoming book Marketing Management: A Cultural Perspective.
“The Eller MBA program is a close-knit community that empowers a student to develop one-on-one relationships with faculty and staff, the type of relationship that allows students to knock on a faculty member’s door and ask for advice on how to continue in an area of study where one feels great passion,” Head said. “Without this type of environment, I would never have had the opportunity to contribute to work of this caliber.”