Alumni in the Spotlight Webster University Leiden- Dave Mead

Dave Mead, owner of Outside-in marketing & communication and Webster Alumnus
Webster University Alumni in the Spotlight • issue 5, 2016

Webster Alumni in the Spotlight Dave Mead

Alumni in the Spotlight

Dave graduated with a BA in Strategic Marketing Management & Media Communication in 1994. Nowadays he is a very busy man with two companies and his volunteer work. He has been the chapter leader of the Webster University Alumni Association the Netherlands for nine years. In January 2016 he will step down and devote his time to other important causes, because he finds it important to give back to society.

My start with Outside-in marketing & communica-tion in 1994 resulted from one of the courses I took at Webster University. I enrolled in a small business management course and had to create a business plan for a startup company. My company focuses on marketing, communication, PR, adver-tising, and communication in general. We have been working for a lot of different organizations, mostly business-to-business and international oriented companies. We worked for Philips, Ahold, and Heineken. The biggest challenge we've had so far was the crisis two years ago when we lost several of our major customers. All of a sudden we were confronted with a huge loss of turnover. There-fore, we had to reinvent ourselves. It was very challenging to get back on track. Our company is smaller than it used to be, but we’re still alive and kicking and doing the things we really enjoy!

Marketing education
When I was seventeen we moved from the Nether-lands to New Jersey. I wasn’t really sure about what I wanted to do. There was a great marketing teacher at the college that I went to. He inspired me to opt for marketing and communications as my major. When I came back to the Netherlands I tried to transfer my credits, which worked perfectly well with Webster University. I was very interested in what kind of marketing teacher I would get, and then Randy Bootland came along. He is very talented. He really pushed me to get the most out of myself and inspired me to set up my own company.
“We’re still alive and kicking.”I think that American marketing education is very different from Dutch marketing. In the Netherlands it’s mostly based on research and facts, while in America it’s more geared towards psychology. I got the American experience from Webster, and I also got the traditional Dutch marketing education from a different institution. It was very interesting to see the different approaches to marketing. You can do survey upon survey, but in the end I am convinced it’s more about psychology. I like the psychology part: understanding people, what drives them, what motivates them, and how to tailor a product to them. I like the strategic part of it, to outsmart others.

In addition to my company Outside-in, I’m an avid scuba diver. Four years ago I was asked to join the company FunteQ Diving as a partner to promote technical diving, which is intended for advanced di-vers who want to explore overhead environments like caves and deep wrecks. We really enjoy going to places where nobody else has been before. We or-ganize trips, offer trainings, and sell equipment. A couple of years ago we lost a buddy during a dive. He had a heart attack under the water. We knew ex-actly where he was, but the police did now allow us to go back into the water. We had to wait for two weeks before the police, fire brigade, and navy seals admitted that they were not able to retrieve him. Then we could finally go into the water and bring him to the surface. We were very frustrated. I realized that many families have to go through this in complicated water-related missing persons cases. A year ago I came in contact with Signi Search Dogs (SSD). This foundation searches for people who are missing under water. They have special dogs who are trained to detect human bodies in decomposition. It’s really unique that their dogs can find both injured people during catastrophes and deceased hu-mans. There are so many families who need to wait for ages before their loved ones are found in water-related missings. I decided to devote my free time and diving expertise to finding people missing under the water. Now, we receive requests from family members and from the police. Every three weeks I spend my weekend on the foundation. The main goal for me is to find the missing people for the families. That makes it worthwhile.

I think it’s important that people give back to society. Everyone will always get something in return. That’s one of the things that I like about my position at Webster: I have a great international network. At the international alumni leadership conference you meet so many people with different positions from across the globe; it’s extremely diverse. It’s great to get in contact with other chapter leaders worldwide to discuss our best practices. I have made many really good friendships out of this. Webster has managed to grow big by staying small. Numerous locations all over the world, but with a focus on small, personal, quality education. I don’t think most graduates realize the enormous capacity surrounding Webster. The Webster network is huge. My advice to students and alumni is to make better use of the network. And last but not least: dive your dream and explore the deep!

Picture and interview by Laura Weijers
Edited by Allison Kirk
Alumnus Dave Mead & Director of Webster University NL Prof. Dr. Jean Paul van Marissing