When Gail Lowney Alofsin arrived at Newport Yachting Center, management told her she had six months to prove that her newly created marketing position would pay off. Twenty-two years later the answer is a most-definite, yes.
Now the director of corporate sponsorships for the Newport Harbor Corp., the center’s parent organization, Alofsin oversees an office responsible for securing sponsorships associated with events at the center. She works 10-hour days but isn’t complaining. Sometimes it hardly seems like work handling responsibilities that include rubbing shoulders with executives from big-name companies backing everything from a concert to a boat show.
Alofsin manages a staff of two as well as two or three interns. She ensures Newport Harbor Corp. delivers what management promised corporations paying big bucks to sponsor events. And she works with clients to craft marketing techniques so visitors do not miss the advertiser’s message. To do that she needs to learn about each sponsor, its products and what makes its potential customers tick.
“No one day has been the same,” Alofsin said. “I feel like I’m walking into a new job every single day.”
Her background in marketing stretches back to her childhood. She conducted her first market-research report at the ripe old age of 8 while summering in Portsmouth with her parents. She measured traffic along the road, studying the best time to set up her stand hawking seashells for 10 cents and, for a quarter, driftwood fashioned into art. The research paid off and Alofsin brought in $8, enough to purchase a Julia Barbie doll.
Alofsin said her success comes from attention to detail, becoming involved in the community and building real relationships with clients. During an interview she talks about how the attitude of an usher during a concert is just as important as the performance by the artist. In the community she sits on the boards of four local nonprofit organizations – including the Newport Public Library.
She is filled with spunk and tidbits about how life is about relationships and not the car you drive. She talks about learning more from her students in her university marketing class than they learn from her.
She calls her eighth-grade teacher – a nun – every morning to recite a Hail Mary. She does the same with a former colleague now living in Boston. She buys her staff coffee each Tuesday.
Alofsin also takes the message of the importance of relationships on the road from Texas to California and Florida.
Under the moniker AMP! – or Authentic Measurable Performance – businesses hire Alofsin to deliver speeches on marketing, leadership, teamwork and relationships.
It was a relationship that brought Alofsin to Newport in March 1988 – albeit “kicking and screaming.” She followed her now-husband, John, and left a hotel marketing job she loved in Westbrook, Conn.
When she interviewed for the Newport Yachting Center job she was one of 88 applicants. When the center hired her, she inherited a schedule with just one major event, the annual Great Chowder Cook-Off.
“Her passion for marketing is sort of contagious,” said Don Troppoli, a vice president at Webster Bank who previously worked with Alofsin at Sovereign Bank. •