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Zalman Joins Full-Time Faculty

Randa Zalman has joined Bellevue University as a full-time member of the faculty in the College of Business. A veteran of the Omaha marketing and public relations industry, Zalman has spent the past five-plus years as an adjunct at the University teaching strategic marketing, new media, and other marketing-associated undergraduate and graduate programs.

She has led her own consulting firm, Canary & Coal, for the past three years and is President and CEO of the Insurance Marketing Institute, a peer-led organization created to offer education and recognition programs for insurance social media, creative and compliance professionals.

Bellevue University caught up with Zalman, who earned her Master’s in Communications Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, to talk about transitioning from an adjunct role to a full-time position and what she enjoys most about marketing and public relations.

What do you most enjoy about teaching at Bellevue University and the culture amongst the faculty at the University?

 What I love about Bellevue University is that students have opportunities to not only discover new things about their aspiring craft but the world around them and themselves. As an educator, it is immensely rewarding to see the key concepts “click” with students and to see them apply classroom lessons to real-world projects, progressing and growing over the course of a class or a program until they are tackling big issues with sophistication and insight.

Have there been any major or minor adjustments in moving from an adjunct role into a full-time position?

The transition from adjunct to full-time has been very natural and seamless. Everyone, particularly my colleagues in the College of Business, has been helpful and welcoming. It’s rewarding to be part of a team that is not only talented but also a team committed to making a larger impact.

What do you enjoy most about marketing and public relations?

What I love about marketing and public relations is not all that different from what I love about teaching. It’s about being part of a larger journey and making a difference. It’s about helping to coach, to inspire and to educate others to be more discoverable, sharable and memorable to help others achieve greater successes and lead their best life.

From a more practical perspective, I love that marketing and public relations represent a constantly changing environment. I consider myself a lifelong learner. In marketing, the fundamentals will always be there as a guide, but the day-to-day aspects of the profession change regularly, sometimes weekly. This is a profession and a craft that allows me to constantly learn and challenge my skill set.

Is there a project that you have worked on in your past professional life that you are most proud of? What went into it?

I am fortunate to be part of so many impactful projects. Much of my recent work has been within digital marketing and social media. Some of the more current projects include; consulted for professional sports organizations providing social media research and athlete conduct policies; wrote and revised the federal insurance regulations for social media; created international social media programs for global organizations; and, raised funds to repaint, repair or replace Nebraska’s historical markers. My absolute favorite honor is being invited to speak at conferences and symposiums across the globe. It’s a special feeling to connect with others and share the latest marketing trends and best practices.

Where are you from and where did you graduate from high school?

I’m originally from Hastings, Nebraska, the home to the inventor of Kool-Aid, Fisher Fountain and the Naval Ammunition Depot. I graduated from Hastings Senior High School.

Who have been the biggest supporters of your academic and career endeavors?

One of the biggest supporters of my academic and career endeavors has been Dr. Julia Cronin-Gilmore. She has been instrumental in encouraging me to pursue teaching. Her guidance, insight and coaching have set me up for success as an educator. I’m grateful to have such an accomplished mentor to help in this new career chapter.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work, I’m an avid reader with a special love of British whodunits. I volunteer with active living and retirement communities helping seniors learn social media skills so they can stay in touch with their kids and grandkids. I’m also a Trustee with the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation, so I like to spend weekends exploring Nebraska’s history hotspots.