K-State marketing professor’s bond with students goes beyond sales

Dawn Deeter, marketing professor, has been named the JJ Vanier Distinguished Chair of Relational Selling and Marketing, as well as the director of the National Strategic Selling Institute. (Payton Heinze | The Collegian)

Marketing professor Dawn Deeter was originally brought to Kansas State six years ago to start up the sales program within the College of Business. On top of being a marketing professor, Deeter was also named the JJ Vanier Distinguished Chair of Relational Selling and Marketing, as well as the director of the National Strategic Selling Institute.

“(NSSI) is a program designed to give students the skills they need to succeed out in the business world, specifically in respect to careers in sales,” Deeter said.

Deeter described the organization she started as an umbrella, where the curriculum for students to earn a sales certificate can be paired with any major in the university and can prove helpful within every industry.

While the curriculum itself can be useful, Nick Ramsey, senior in finance, said it’s Deeter’s ability to connect with students that puts her and her program over the top.

“She’s been able to show us the ropes and show us what the real world is going to be like,” Ramsey said.

By being involved in NSSI, students have the opportunity to take advantage of sales competitions and professional development workshops put on by corporate business partners. In addition, NSSI students can join a number of clubs within the program, including Pi Sigma Epsilon, a sales and marketing fraternity, and the K-State Sales team.

Ramsey and Dan Burger, senior in entrepreneurship, are both actively involved in the K-State Sales team, which Deeter directs, along with NSSI.

“She’s almost an adviser for all of her students,” Burger said. “We all call her mom on the sales team, she facilitates everything for us, which is great.”

Beyond being a point of reference for academics, Burger said Deeter possesses an open door policy regarding both career and personal matters. Whether Burger had questions about figuring out which companies would be a better fit for him or about unrelated issues, he said he never felt a hesitation to go to her.

“She’s very relationship-oriented,” Ramsey said. “She wants to help you be the best person you can be and also get the job that you want.”

Before becoming involved at K-State, Deeter said she started off as a shoe buyer after receiving her undergraduate degree from Morehead State University in clothing and textiles. In the first few years after receiving her degree, she bought shoes for department stores in Florida.

“I did that for 10 years and enjoyed it while I did it, but at some point I always thought I wanted to teach, so I decided to go back in and get my MBA,” Deeter said.

She then ended up at the University of South Florida to get her doctorate and picked sales as her area of focus in the marketing department.

“I worked with so many sales people over the years that it made a lot of sense for me to go into the sales route,” Deeter said.

She then received a job at K-State, which provided her with the opportunity to start her own sales program.

“It is a program that was almost nonexistent here and now it’s one of the top in the country all because of (Deeter),” Burger said. “She does a great job of taking something from the ground up and investing in it, people can see the enthusiasm she has about the sales program when they’re around her.”

Through her sales program, Deeter said she prides herself on the 100 percent job placement rate within the program.

“We’re very protective of that so we work very hard to make sure our students get placed in the kind of job they want,” Deeter said.

Ramsey said both the students and Deeter want to make sure the 100 percent rate can be continued, and that is portrayed through Deeter’s connectedness with her students.

“She is very adamant on getting kids where they want to go,” Burger said. “And after kids see the success that has happened in the past with her they are all glued to that because they know she knows what she’s doing.”

Behind Deeter’s academic persona, Burger said there is a goofy and nerdy side to her that all of her students love.

“It doesn’t meet the eye at first, but once you get to know Dr. Deeter, she’s a huge fan of Star Wars,” Burger said. “She literally has the Star Wars theme song as her ringtone.”

From her successful sales program to her open relationship with her students, Deeter said she is very appreciative of what K-State’s community has to offer.

“It really is like a family, and I’ve never met a nicer group of people,” Deeter said. “The students are great; they work hard, they’re competitive, they’re well-mannered. It is just a pleasure to work here.”