NEX GEN program helps Vic Bowers with job transition
Moving up at McClatchy
Vic Bowers spent his NEX GEN year embracing change.
At the time he was selected for SNPA's mentoring program, Bowers was strategic accounts manager for The Charlotte Observer. In January, Bowers was named digital revenue manager for the Observer's parent company, McClatchy.
In 11 months, Bowers said, his role and duties have evolved and he has had a change in supervisor. He now works from home and travels to McClatchy properties as needed.
Bowers' assigned mentor was Nancy Solliday, vice president/advertising sales for The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla. She proved to be the person he could have "a candid conversation with" as he considered the new job offer and worked through restructuring at the company.
"It was a decision she helped me weigh," Bowers said. "It was somebody to talk to that was off the record. That was invaluable as far as having somebody in the industry."
A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bowers started his career on the news side in Indianapolis. He liked to write but also liked developing relationships with customers and helping local businesses be successful, so he was drawn to advertising. Bowers also worked in Greensboro, N.C., for Landmark Communications before moving to Charlotte in 2013.
Bowers' old job was overseeing larger accounts for the Observer, such as health care, furniture, heating and air, financing, banks, automotive and real estate. Now he works with the 30 McClatchy markets overseeing digital services. He is the liaison to third-party vendors and does some training for the sales force.
"I figure I have about 20 more years to work, at least, and I think the future of our industry is on the digital side," said Bowers, 41. "I needed to increase my acumen, and continuous learning is something that is exciting to me."
Because Solliday had corporate experience with Gannett, she was able to guide Bowers through the pros and cons of working and traveling from a home office as well as learning how to work with both legacy and new employees. Solliday would bring up issues Bowers hadn't thought about as he made the transition, he said.
They had the regular monthly phone conversation that is part of the NEX GEN program but also exchanged text messages and additional calls when Bowers wanted advice. He spent a day at the Fort Myers newspaper where he learned about some of Gannett's operations, and added a visit to McClatchy's Bradenton Herald while he was in Florida.
"What I've learned is practical application as opposed to theory," Bowers said. "How to work in a changing environment. How to adapt. How to manage up as well as manage down. I've always been kind of in the middle."
Bowers said he now considers Solliday a personal friend as well as a mentor. "We still have on our calendar to have a regular monthly call."
SNPA will invite applications this summer for the NEX GEN Class of 2018-19.
Watch for additional interviews with members of the 2016-17 NEX GEN Class in upcoming issues of the eBulletin.
Jane Nicholes is a veteran journalist based in coastal Alabama and is a regular contributor to SNPA. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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