While new to the Times Observer, the newspaper's new director of advertising is not at all new to the business community with which she'll be dealing.
Monday was Melissa Anderson's first day at the post. She replaces Jack Albaugh, who is retiring after 23 years in the advertising department at the newspaper including seven years as director.
Anderson is already familiar with the community as the former director of chamber operations at the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry (WCCBI).
She expects the skills and connections she developed there over six years to serve her well.
"The two jobs have some big similarities," Anderson said. At WCCBI "we worked on a lot of promotional opportunities, building positive relationships, and continuing to find new and creative ways to help our area."
"A lot of that will translate exactly into what I plan to do here at the Times Observer," she said.
She expects to oversee growth in the online portion of the newspaper's advertising while maintaining a strong physical presence. "I still see that split" between the two delivery systems, she said. "There are people who feel strongly about having something tangible, but there is an increasing move to online marketing."
"The combination of the two is what we'll continue to see for some time," she said.
Anderson is a graduate of Jamestown Business College with a degree in sales, marketing and management.
She was the director of marketing for Pharmacy Innovations and also has previous experience in media advertising, working on sales proposals, marketing materials, and traffic programming for a radio station.
For now, she is getting to know the staff and learning the ropes at the Times Observer. But she has plans for the near future.
"I have some new ideas for the upcoming months," she said. "We'll be looking to partner with local organizations in the community. We're looking forward to new programs and products that will help to highlight area businesses' and organizations' activities. There will be much more forthcoming on those ideas in the near future."
"I look forward to building upon the great work that the Times Observer already does," Anderson said.
She hopes the positive relationship between the newspaper and the chamber will work to the benefit of both. "I look forward to helping them promote their programs and maintain the already positive relationship they have with the Times Observer," she said.
The change from the director of chamber operations to director of advertising is a small step in professional terms, but a significant leap personally.
"Leaving the chamber was not a decision I made lightly," Anderson said. "After much deliberation, this was the right move at the right time."
"I think everyone looks forward to new challenges and new opportunities," she said.
Albaugh is moving on for similar reasons. "The paper has been interesting," he said. "I've enjoyed it. But it's time to move on."
"Everything is full of challenges and opportunities," he said, "every day in every field."
But he said he sees a bright future for the department, with a strong core of personnel and a new leader well positioned to take the company forward.
"I think they chose well when they chose Melissa," he said. "They have someone who has a strong tie to the community."
Publisher Robert Patchen agrees.
"We're extremely excited to add Melissa Anderson to our staff," Patchen said. "Although she has big shoes to fill, I believe her attention to detail, her enthusiasm, and her years of experience in the Warren market make her the ideal person to fill those shoes and lead our advertising department into the future."