Some Final Thoughts, a Thank You, and a Great Future Ahead!!


jerry kill
October 22, 2015, will be a memorable day for many of us, especially for me at my final meeting as Director of the Institute for Research in Marketing and our Ten Year Anniversary Celebration at TCF Bank Stadium's ‘M’ Club Room and Gopher Football Locker Room.

The historical nature of the Gopher Locker Room with 100 years of pictures depicting Gopher football legacy served as a great backdrop for our historical celebration!

Gopher Football Coach Jerry Kill's inspirational speech, in what turned out to be his last public appearance as a coach, left us all with an incredible impression and memory of the day. He gave us, as marketers and leaders, the message that our role is actually to inspire and lead others in everything we do within our organizations and personal lives.   

Understanding that inspirational role will focus us on the goal of leading the great, talented people we are honored to work with, to achieve results beyond who we are and what we ever thought could be accomplished! There is more clarity in our marketing efforts when our goal is to inspire our people, clients, guests, and customers.

Coach Kill's life challenges serve as the model for us all as he now leaves a legacy in his leadership role at the University of Minnesota. That legacy is one of turning the Gopher program around into a winner by inspiring student-athletes and their parents. His message is “Here is how we will provide a great education and better life for your student-athlete at the University of Minnesota.” We thank him for that great inspirational marketing message and his outstanding work here in developing our student-athletes.   


Possessive Agressive
CEO and Entrepreneur Phil Soran provided an excellent bookend to our Institute Celebration as he complemented Coach Kill's message with "Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch.” Phil, current Vidku CEO (a U of M startup), and former Compellent CEO (which he sold to Dell for $960 million), again reminded us that culture is the competitive advantage when creating an organization. Inspiring and leading are the critical success factors that sustained his organizations and created a culture of sales excellence and client focus enabling him to attract and retain outstanding people over the long-term.   

We thank them both for making October 22 a celebration that was both memorable and inspirational. As I look forward to moving back to my full-time marketing teaching career in the Undergraduate, MBA, and Executive Education programs here at the Carlson School, I am confident that I will be able to pass the inspiration along to our dedicated and talented students.

That confidence comes from a Department of Marketing that has so many of the cultural qualities of inspirational leadership that Coach Kill and Phil Soran talked about.

Akshay Rao's inspiration and vision that created the Institute are here along with George John, Barbara Loken, and Vlad Griskevicius’ outstanding support as department chairs during my tenure. They have and continue to inspire and lead us all.

Our phenomenal Institute Board Members, world-class research faculty, and excellent administrative team (with Ashley Dziuk as Program Coordinator) all have provided me with the support and inspiration these last five years to enable us all to move forward and grow together. I cannot thank you enough as director for your Institute for Research in Marketing – it has been an inspiring and cultural experience of a lifetime for me!

Now, I will pass that baton onto our new director, Steve Goodyear, an outstanding individual with excellent worldwide corporate experience in marketing and communications. For the past 10 years, he has taught in our global and marketing programs at the Carlson School.

Steve is a person whom Department Chair Vlad Griskevicius and I feel will carry on a tradition of engagement and relationship with our Board and the business community. I will be working closely with Steve to ensure his smooth transition over the coming months. Thank YOU all! 

Sincerely and inspired,
Wayne G. Mueller
Former Director
Institute for Research in Marketing



Read why the Institute for Research in Marketing was started, and how it has thrived over the last 10 years. 

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From 2005 to 2015: A Timeline of the Institute for Research in Marketing