Lynn Deckinger, director of marketing and sales at Youthville, will co-chair the American Marketing Association’s annual awards luncheon on June 27 and take over as president on July 1. The Marketer of the Year will be named and the winners from various industry categories will be recognized.
Deckinger had worked as head of marketing at Go Wichita, Exploration Place and the Sedgwick County Zoo before joining Youthville in 2007.
Q. 1 Is there a lot of competition for the AMA awards?
A. In some industries. We have a lot of advertising agencies in town, so that one’s pretty stiff, and a lot of aviation companies.
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Q. 2 Is it hard to convince employers to maintain their marketing staff during a downturn?
A. Yes. Marketers need to continue to educate their organizations about their importance and their return on investment to their companies. As marketers we need to continually educate and inform management and companies on how marketing can help their organizations.
Q. 3 Why are marketing/public relations folks always job hopping in this town?
A. It’s because we have a great community and people choose to stay here and not leave. If you want to move up, it’s difficult in a town like this because of its size. So, when one person does leave, it has a domino effect.
Q. 4 Youthville is losing its large child services state contract after 17 years. How is the agency handling it?
A. I actually had somebody ask me if I was going to lose my job, but we still have 300 foster homes in the Wichita area and continue to provide foster homes across the state. We have a residential campus in Dodge City and a secure care facility for girls ages 10 to 18 in Newton. And we do counseling and parent support. So, yes, we still have a lot of programs for at-risk youth and families.
Q. 5 And you’re going to offer new programs, as well?
A. Some of them I can’t talk about yet, but we do have a new program called Strive. It’s a two-year program dedicated to young people transitioning into adulthood but who are struggling. It provides them a life coach who does a comprehensive look at their skills and what they still need to become successful. We connect them with people in the community who can mentor them and with training and education. We’ll have eight candidates in the first year, and then in the second year, the first group will mentor the second, so there will be 16 in all.