Suzanne Satterfield—Exceptional Performance, Lasting Relationships

As she gazed up at the flames exploding 300 feet over the Central California desert, and looked back down on the large gathering of media below, Suzanne Satterfield couldn’t help but take a moment to reflect on how she’d arrived at this point.

A Bakersfield, Calif. native, Suzanne began her journey in higher education about two decades earlier with aspirations of earning an animal science degree. But a chance job with the local newspaper permanently altered her course.

“I took a part time job at the Bakersfield Californian in the advertising department,” Suzanne said. “It was a good job that gave me something to do and helped me pay for college.”

But it was much more than that.

In dire need of some speedy typing, the Californian’s newsroom recruited Suzanne—who could type a brisk 95-words-per-minute—to assist in transcribing copy in the fast-paced environment.

It was all the spark she needed.

“Right when I walked into that newsroom, I instantaneously caught the excitement,” Suzanne said. “After that, opening the newspaper became a completely new experience. I knew it was exactly where I wanted to be.”

Shortly thereafter, Suzanne changed her major from animal science to communications. And she’s never looked back.

Suzanne continued to work for the Californian as a copy editor and reporter after graduating from California State University Bakersfield. Working for the Californian is an experience she says opened many doors for her, setting the stage for a successful career in Bakersfield. Over the course of the next two decades, Suzanne gained valuable experience in a vast spectrum of marketing and media-related positions.

As the marketing manager for Castle and Cooke, one of the largest land developers and builders in Kern County, she coordinated advertising efforts of budgets in excess of $2 million. As the company’s community relations representative, she also served on committees for various non-profit groups such as the Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference, Kern Economic Development Corporation and the Chamber of Commerce. Suzanne then moved on to local NBC affiliate KGET where as special projects coordinator she coordinated major citywide events including Kidfest, KGET’s Health Fair and Slam Jam 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament.

After her stint at KGET, Suzanne moved on to work for Cynthia Pollard Communications, Inc. As project manager she handled media placement and campaign development for premier clients—including the Bakersfield Heart Hospital. Her broad array of client’s included a medical facility, builder and an oil company.

 

Connecting the Dots

In 1998, the small industrial town of Lost Hills—just 50 miles northwest of Bakersfield—was site of one of the largest natural gas well blowouts in modern U.S. history. On Nov. 23, just northeast of the main Lost Hills oil field, a drill, at a depth of nearly 17,000 feet, tapped into an undiscovered reservoir of gas that was under intense pressure. The result was an immediate burst of natural gas and petroleum that exploded into flames, knocking down a massive drilling rig and melting nearby equipment. The fire, which rose 300 feet into the air and could be seen from 40 miles away, burned for 14 days.

As on-site public relations coordinator for Cynthia Pollard Communications’ client, world-renowned oil well  firefighters Boots & Coots, Suzanne had the difficult task of facilitating the translation of technical jargon to an increasingly nervous public.

“This experience made me realize how important it is to craft messages that are meaningful to the public,” she said. “Working hand-in-hand with international media forced me to adapt on the fly to accomplish this goal.”

Through intense experiences like this, Suzanne further developed a priceless intuition that would come in handy—and profitable—just a few years down the road.

In 2003, the real estate market in Bakersfield began to soar. In this booming market, real estate agents were forced to market themselves in order to stay competitive. Normally in a real estate agency setting, agents work under the company’s umbrella but pay for their own individual marketing.

This newfound need for sophisticated individual marketing prompted Suzanne to suggest an innovative approach to local agency Watson Realty.

“I went in and spoke with the general manager of Watson and told him that I sensed an opportunity for the company to create an in-house marketing division instead of agents marketing themselves separately. Suzanne said. “I thought the idea would work and was just hoping he’d give me a chance.”

He did. And it paid off in a big way.

After the new marketing department’s first full year of operation, four employees were added so that all work, whether writing, graphic design or photography, could be done in-house. Not only did the department pay for itself, it actually made the company a profit.

“Essentially we created an in-house agency that both turned a profit and increased our agents’ exposure,” Suzanne said. “We found a way to take a necessary service and make it into a profit center.”

Her work with Watson Realty signaled a change in Suzanne’s career path: from employee to consultant. Yet, despite the change to self-employment, Suzanne remains more committed to her clients than ever.

“Often times agencies work more to build up their own name than they do their client’s, and that’s not the way it should be” Suzanne said. “My passion is in working alongside my client to help them accomplish their goals—not mine.”

In 2006, Suzanne began working as a marketing consultant for San Joaquin Community Hospital where her tasks include media buying and placement, campaign development and video production. Though a challenging transition, Suzanne has and continues to thrive in the life-changing health care environment.

“Health care is challenging because every aspect of it is constantly changing and therefore unpredictable,” Suzanne said. “Even though I’m not a frontline caregiver next to the bedside, everybody in the hospital plays a part in improving the lives of the patients. That makes this job really rewarding.”

 

Devoted to Relationships

Though a consummate professional, Suzanne is also a dedicated wife and mother of three. She and husband Mike often open their home to their church family for Bible studies and socials, and also work with Crown Financial Services to give financial counseling to couples struggling with balancing their checkbook with their lifestyle.

With more than 27 years of marketing, public relations and media experience, Suzanne Satterfield brings a seasoned knowledge from a gamut of jobs and community interactions. Yet though her portfolio is vast, she remains dedicated—both in work and at home—to the most important resource: people.

“In the world of marketing there are always ways that you can help a client improve and meet their goals,” Suzanne said. “I love working with people and helping them get results they’ve been searching for. Just looking at their success, that’s what makes me happy.” 

 

 

 

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