Pamela Akins has one guiding motto: make it happen. So, when the only space she could find to launch her own marketing business in 1989 was a one room, former storage space in a third-floor walk-up, Akins was not deterred. She transformed it into Akins Marketing & Design and five years later moved her business from that third-floor walk-up to a stately Colonial-turned-Victorian structure. The charming “painted lady” building on a quiet street in New London, Connecticut, has been her trademark office since.
Akins started her career as an editor at Prentice-Hall where she produced business management and training periodicals. It was while she worked at the publishing house that she earned her MBA from UNH. Soon after she joined Analysis & Technology, where she applied her brand-new MBA knowledge to developing the marketing materials that took the company public in the mid-eighties.
Akins says she developed her “make it happen” mantra at A&T, but she credits her UNH MBA with giving her the management tools to grow her own business when she was ready to go out on her own.
Akins has faced many challenges. A Texan whose father died early in her life, this southern woman says she not only had to adapt to the New England environment and culture but learn to compete for clients in a male-dominated business world.
Now with over 30 years in publishing, business communications and advertising, Akins reflects on many memorable successes. She recalls listening to passengers on the Block Island Ferry sing the jingle she developed for the tourism ferry company and following a New Haven bus whose billboard carried the “Send Pests Packing” artwork she created for the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. She also produced a celebrity PSA with NBC Today Show co-host Matt Lauer for the Rhode Island Governor’s Reading Initiative and helped arrange media coverage for a Connecticut Sports Foundation fundraiser that featured Baseball Hall of Famers Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford.
Akins has used her public relations, copy writing and editing skills to market many successful products. These include Vanna White’s Perfect Smile Tooth Whitening System, Sennheiser microphones and headphones, and Definitive Technology high-end loudspeakers. She has worked on a number of public service campaigns including the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s 2007-08 Pandemic Influenza Public Awareness Campaign and 2009 H1N1 Preparedness Campaign. She also has supported the marketing and communications efforts of nonprofits such as Lawrence & Memorial Hospital and the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and Tower Labs, and manufacturers such as L.C. Doane and Gunther Technologies.
Akins also believes in doing good in the world. She devotes most of her volunteer time to the Rotary International organization, serving as District Governor during Rotary’s Centennial Year in 2004-05, President-Elect Trainer 2000-09, Zone Governor-Elect Trainer 2007-09, and International Governor-Elect Trainer 2007. As a Rotary District Governor, she learned to motivate and manage volunteers and as a Rotary Trainer, she helped new volunteer leaders develop their own leadership skills. Through Rotary, Akins has connected with fellow business and professional people around the world for the benefit of their own local communities.
Knowing the ups and downs of life and business, Akins has simple advice for students: “Don’t be overwhelmed by the challenges you encounter in your studies, your careers or your lives. Take it step by step, and you’ll do what you need to do and accomplish what you need to accomplish. One step at a time, you’ll make it happen.”
Posted Summer 2010