Reader Profile: Monique Hester

profile_monique_hester.gifName: Monique Hester
Title: Marketing Director
Property: Cortana Mall
Location: Louisiana, USA

How long have you been at this property?
Two-and-a-half years.

How many years of experience do you have in the retail industry?
I have an extensive 20-plus year background based in the fashion retail industry. I switched to shopping center marketing about seven years ago and loved it!

As a mall marketer, you’ve been through two hurricanes—Katrina and Gustav. How has that affected your approach to crisis management at the mall?
I’ve learned that, regardless of what your role is in the crisis plan, you need to be prepared to assume other duties, be flexible with your hours and learn to be resourceful with what little is available to you (e.g. staffing or supplies or equipment).

Is your marketing department involved in the elaboration of Cortana Mall’s crisis management plan?
Yes and my major responsibility in the crisis plan is internal and external communications.

How much does your mall rely on technology in the delivery of its crisis management plan (e.g. e-newsletter, mall Website, blog)?
During Hurricanes, a lot of modern day technology is not accessible so I kept in contact with the press, TV and radio stations to deliver the most current status on the mall’s closing and opening.

What is your primary marketing goal this year?
My primary goal is to increase gift card sales

What is your biggest challenge this year?
Mall sales because the recession has customers hesitant to shop as much as previous years.

Can you offer one tip to other mall-marketing professionals?
Allow me to give two tips about Hurricane survival:
1) You can never have enough ice!
2) Keep two cell phones—one with a local area code and the second with an out-of-state area code—so that you can communicate with the corporate office and relatives if the local telephone service is knocked out.

Thanks Monique!

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