Tuesday, September 22, 2015

New COBI sales faculty member knows UT is the place to be

If someone's existence was displayed like Facebook, the newest faculty member in the UT COBI Edward H. Schmidt School of Professional Sales' would have checked many episodes in her life with "Likes."

Dr. Catherine Johnson, Assistant Professor in the Marketing and International Business Department, likes teaching, students, her previous career in banking, her new coworkers in COBI, travel, writing, reading mysteries and uncharted experiences with people around the world.

Dr. Catherine Johnson
"I've seen the Eiffel Tower, the Coliseum, Australia, but I would love to go to Istanbul, New Zealand, the Falkland Islands," Dr. Johnson said. "The coolest places I've been are less traveled, less scripted. I really enjoy unscripted interaction with locals."

"I like students, they are fun to hang around," she added. "Because teaching sales is very interactive, with role plays and more, people need to engage. If you're going to teach sales, this is where you want to do it. But it's not enough to have a good program; it is also important that the faculty is warm and welcoming."

"Southerners are known for being friendly, and southern hospitality is true, but I found the people here to also be nice, supporting and friendly, as well as fun. UT seems to be really exciting right now. This is a great place to be."

"Plus," she said, "I'm kind of a Midwesterner."

Being born in Minnesota qualifies her as a Midwesterner, but she grew up in Louisville and attended the University of Kentucky, where she majored in German and history, spending a year in Germany through an exchange program.

She returned to Minnesota to obtain her master's degree, after which she worked in banking.

"I was the branch manager. It was a lot of fun and great for a sales experience. The financial service industry is interesting. At smaller banks, you have to do everything: you have to care about your customers.  You are the interface between the bank and the customer, and you have to cross-sell, upsell, and more."

Dr. Johnson obtained her Ph.D, at the University of Alabama, where she studied sales and consumer behavior and also taught for two years.

Her research revolves around emotional intelligence in sales outcomes, sales strategy and consumer behavior. In 2014 she received the best paper award at the American Marketing Association Winter Marketing Education Conference, and also received an award from the Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium.  She recently had a paper about corporate social responsibility accepted by the Journal of Business Research. "It will be my first paper which will reflect my position at The University of Toledo."

Dr. Johnson said she went into teaching because "I've always liked working with students; plus the academic life appealed to me because it involves both reading and writing about what you want. Furthermore, both my father and grandfather were professors, so I've always lived in a college town, such as East Lansing and Tuscaloosa. "

"The best part of teaching is getting students excited about what you are excited about, to transfer your enthusiasm to others, especially in entry level classes," she explained.  "When they 'get it' and students make that connection, that's neat.   I also like it when I've made a lasting impact with students, when a student comes back to see you, or asks for advice, or when students feel that I am approachable and will actually come up and introduce you to their parents."

"It's about making a difference in a student's life, making an impact.  You are there to help them; it is not just about one class."

"The field of sales is really great, and the proof that the program is working is when students come out prepared to sell. That shows that we place the focus on the students and learning outcomes," Dr. Johnson said.   "Here at UT the sales school places students in front of recruiters all the time, and they can tell that our students are now professionals."

And that is something that all students, and the companies which hire them, "Like."

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