Eller Evening MBA ’12
Director of Marketing, Hotel Congress
By Liz Warren-Pederson
Growing up in Tucson, Shannon Franklin didn’t necessarily expect to stay in town after finishing her undergraduate degree the UA. But between her work with local nonprofits and a recent job change that put her in the thick of the city’s downtown revitalization, Tucson has had a lot to offer after all.
“Working for Hotel Congress is exciting because I like the growth that’s happening downtown and I want to be a part of it,” she said. “With the new restaurants, entertainment, events, and even housing, downtown has a lot to offer. I think it’s people my age, young professionals, who will carry the growth.”
Franklin earned her undergraduate degree in communications. She joined a marketing agency after graduation, then spent six and a half years immersed in public relations, advertising, and promotion. “It was a great period of learning,” she said. “I ended up getting to know a little about a lot of broad industries such as travel and medicine.”
Five years into her tenure with the agency, she enrolled in the Eller MBA program. “I had been contemplating my career path, and an MBA was the next logical thing for me professionally.” Franklin said she values the experience of sitting in the classroom and learning, so the once-weekly Evening MBA program was the right choice. Midway through the program, she joined Hotel Congress.
“When I was working at the agency, I’d work with a client to develop a public relations plan or design an ad,” she said. “Now at Hotel Congress, it’s essentially doing all marketing for six businesses in one.” In addition to Hotel Congress, the Cup Café, Club Congress, and the Copper Hall banquet room, she also oversees Maynards Market & Kitchen.
“Each component has its own marketing needs and set of challenges, and I need to come up with plans that address them all,” she said. Her MBA has also broadened her perspective. “I have to think more about how the marketing interacts with operations, for example,” she said.
Though her role at Congress and school have kept her busy, Franklin has found time to stay engaged with the nonprofit community, which contributed to her being named one of Tucson’s “40 Under 40” in 2012. She is on the board of the Tucson Urban League, and has been involved with the Aurora Foundation since 2003, when she was an undergraduate, most recently serving as its board president.
“I think it’s important for everyone to take the time to give back,” she said.