Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My Former Employer Just Fired Father Joseph Fessio
Or...I believe Ave Maria University has made a marketing mistake

I've been quite cautious here at The Dragon not to speak candidly about my former employment at Ave Maria University. In fact, I believe I've repressed quite a lot of my experiences there to protect my fragile mind. ;) Seriously, Father Joseph Fessio, the until-2:00-this-afternoon Provost of Ave Maria University, hired me after a 10-minute conversation May 2004 to start up a community newspaper that AMU would publish. To this day I will purport that he is a fine gentleman with a headstrong business sense about him. I'm not saying we didn't disagree on various points, and we had our professional arguments that one or the other of us would give in on, but, overall, I believe we had an excellent working relationship, and he is one of the few individuals from Ave Maria University that I truly would not mind working with in the future.

Now that Mr. Tom Monaghan has flipped his lid and fired Father Fessio, why, perhaps I'll have the opportunity to work with the good father some day in the future. A source on the Ave Maria University interim campus this afternoon asked Father Fessio why he had been asked to leave campus, why he'd been released. Father Fessio responded that he wasn't sure. Obviously, Joe and the man in charge of getting people to Heaven had come to an impasse on some topic.

What does all this have to do with The Dragon? Well, I got to thinking about the logic of firing your figurehead (who, in this case, also happens to be the only person at the top who has experience in academia). I got to thinking about marketing and promotion and how mentally compromised a person has to be to up and fire a friend of the pope when that person is trying to build The Uber-Catholic University in America. Tom Monaghan wants to build a mecca in the swamps of Collier County where people will pour out their donations and send their children to become disciples of Christ. The disciples of Christ part of that is something I was buying into while I worked at Ave Maria University. Even though I'm not Catholic, I believe in building a Christian foundation in a young person's heart and mind...if the young person is into that. So let's get on with the mission.

What surprised me today was the fact that the chancellor of this university just wiped out the figurehead. Tom Monaghan just took away Father Joseph Fessio. He just took away the friend of the pope. He just took away the man that's on the "short list" for the news media when they need a quote from an American on the pope or the latest edict out of Rome. He just took away the biggest fund raiser for AMU. He just took away the most erudite speaker for AMU (and I don't mean to negate Joseph Pierce's contributions in that category, by the way). He just took away his main marketing tool.

It is my opinion that Tom Monaghan has made a big marketing mistake, and here at The Dragon, we just wanted to point out to writers and authors that shooting yourself in the foot is a bad idea. If you have a strong, valued, respected, and working marketing tool, think twice before you delete it from your program. What we writers and authors can learn from this experience is to use good marketing to our advantage while we have it.

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Blogger Jeni said...

Trying to decipher what goes on in the minds of those at the pinnacle of management is something I don't think anyone can figure out most of the time.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Raisa said...

Interesting to know.

6:20 AM  
Blogger Sandy Lender said...

Good morning, Raisa.
You've found this post quite a long time after it was posted, and Fr. Fessio has been reinstated (albeit in a lesser station) at the university.
I also believe his current relationship with the pope's additional publishers may affect his standing in that realm. I'm not clear on that point, and I don't need to be.
Good luck to you.
Sandy L.
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

7:46 AM  

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