Meet Theresa Cottrell

Southeast Team

Meet Theresa Cottrell2024-03-31T16:42:21-05:00

Q&A with Theresa Cottrell

Where did you go to college and what did you major in?

Samford University. My major was Mass Communications/Journalism.

Growing up in Birmingham, I always envisioned moving away from home to attend college, but a fantastic recruiter from Samford University ultimately impacted that decision. He told me all the benefits of choosing Samford over some other colleges I was considering, plus he had a personal connection with my family from church.

How has your degree helped you in your professional life?

My time at Samford opened so many doors for me. A journalism professor strongly suggested I work for the college newspaper when I was a sophomore. That one push gave me confidence to try something new. Then, after working on the paper as a reporter, layout editor and selling ads for two years, I was awarded the role of Editor in Chief my senior year. That position taught me leadership skills. I learned working right beside someone in the trenches was the best way to build trust with a team. We had deadlines to meet, so we burned the midnight oil and ate a lot of Domino’s pizza (full page back cover every paper).

Also, while at Samford, I had internships at Southern Living-travel department, Southern Progress-public relations (I could walk to the building from my dorm) and WBRC-TV in the news department.

From each of those internships, I was able to decide what excited me about the media business and what I did not want to do for a career. I realized reporting was not for me. I did not have the stomach for hard news and a monthly magazine did not have a fast enough pace.

What is the favorite part of your job and the impact you make?

I’ve been selling for 25 years. I started as a sales rep for a television representative firm – Katz Communications, representing television stations all over the country. I sold airtime for multiple stations and ownership groups to media buyers at advertising agencies located in Atlanta. I lived in Los Angeles for a little over 3 years and did the same thing for a competing company, selling to buyers in the LA area for movie accounts and other regional accounts. For the past 12 years, I was a sales manager for WBRC- TV, the local FOX affiliate in Birmingham.

Why are clients going to love working with you?

I’ve been on both sides of desk, as a media buyer and client first before moving to the sales side. I understand what the client is up against and what a responsibility it is to make the best buying decisions with the budget allocated. I’ll always have their best interests at heart.

Which of the challenges higher education faces do you hear most during conversations w/ clients?

My favorite part of working for Advance Education is making our clients look like superstars. We have a team of super talented people and our clients get to reap the rewards in enrollment.

Many of my clients tell me they are concerned with graduating seniors choosing not to attend college at all. We need to show them why they should continue their education, so they will have more opportunities on down the road. NPR published an article that said there are 1 million fewer students in college than before the pandemic started. The article said most students are concerned about paying for school and not going into debt. Schools need to speak to these potential students and show them all the ways they can help now and in the future with better job opportunities.

Share one of your favorite advertising campaigns

I like commercials that tug at the heart strings. There’s an old Coca Cola commercial with a little boy offering his glass bottle of Coke to Mean Joe Greene. It’s always stuck with me because the giant size of the football star vs. the boy. It looks like it’s the end of a tough game or loss. Mean Joe is limping and appears to be in pain, but then the kid offers him the Coke. Coke’s tag line was “Have a Coke and a smile”. He drank it and then tossed his football jersey to the kid.

Who wouldn’t love that?

Favorite movie

The Breakfast Club. Who couldn’t identify with at least one of those characters? The Brat Pack were the coolest group of young actors at the time and there were so many quotable lines from that movie!

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