Caring for the Duke Brand

Denise Haviland sees parallels between tending a  garden and tending a brand

Denise Haviland kayaking on the Intercoastal Waterway near Swansboro, N.C.  Photo courtesy of Denise Haviland.
Denise Haviland kayaking on the Intercoastal Waterway near Swansboro, N.C. Photo courtesy of Denise Haviland.

Name: Denise Haviland

Title:  Director of the Office of Marketing and Strategic Communications, Duke University

Years at Duke:  9

What I do at Duke:  I lead the Office of Marketing and Strategic Communications within Public Affairs. Our goal is to help strengthen Duke's visual brand and act as a resource for communication projects, including the management of third-party vendors. Our office helps departments find the best tools, resources and vendors for their projects, whether they are magazines, newsletters or websites. By having a central office helping with this, we can get better pricing, maintain the quality of Duke's brand and identify where there are opportunities to share knowledge and resources.

What I love about Duke: I like being dedicated to a mission and watching the arc of it over the years. In the nine years I've been here, I've enjoyed seeing Duke grow. It is exciting to see growth in a place that feels so old and yet so young.

To start a conversation with me, someone should ask me about: The science and theory of communication and branding.

My first paid job: Chief copy editor for the Bowling Green State University student paper.

Best advice I have received: I have a poster on my wall that says, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." It is a quote from Einstein that my former boss in Seattle chose and framed for me. Also, "Don't let yourself be derailed by other people's agendas."

When I'm not at work I like to: Be active outside. I am a road cyclist, kayaker and runner.

Something most people don't know about me: I learned how to surf after I turned 40.

If I could have one superpower it would be: The ability to fly. When I was a kid I used to love climbing to the top of a pine tree and feeling it sway. Then I would try to see if I could jump down!

My dream job: I love my job now, but when I retire I dream of becoming a master gardener. There are parallels between growing your own food and growing your own brand. They both require tending and fertilizing and occasional reining in, and you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor in both cases.

Something unique in my office: I have a square piece of AstroTurf from Wrigley Field and on top of it is a baseball with a map of Chicago on it. My best friend sent it to me because I am an avid Cubs fan.

A book I recently read: Vanessa and Virginia, by Susan Sellers. It is a book about Virginia Woolf and her sister,the artist Vanessa Bell.

If I had $5 million I would: Buy a horse farm and have a big garden plot, continue to save for my children's education and travel. It would also be fun to have a small scholarship or foundation to help underprivileged kids find their path in life.