Member Spotlight : Joseph Brennan

Photo of Joseph Brennan Member spotlight AMA NJ

As the Chief PR and Marketing Officer at Montclair State University, with over three decades of executive-level experience in higher education, Joseph leads the central Communications and Marketing team in crafting and disseminating compelling narratives that showcase the university’s achievements, programs, and community. Through strategic marketing campaigns, substantive earned news coverage, and adept management of web and social media platforms, he and his team engage with alumni, students, parents, and the public. Drawing on his expertise as a crisis expert, brand-builder, and transformative leader, Joseph guides college and university leaders in navigating complex communication challenges, fostering inclusivity, and achieving tangible results. His track record includes driving significant revenue growth, achieving historic enrollment numbers, managing high-profile crises, and enhancing institutional reputations through innovative communication strategies.

If you were to write a book about your life, what would the title be, and why?

I would borrow the title of one of my favorite Johnny Cash songs, “I’ve been Everywhere, Man.” I was born in Michigan and have lived in New York (twice), Louisiana, Ohio (twice), California, Iowa, and now New Jersey. My wife and I are adventurous and enjoy exploring new places. We made some moves to advance my career and some for family reasons, and all of them added richness and depth to our lives. We have had amazing experiences – like marching in a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans and getting to know winemakers in Northern California – and we made friends who we can visit all over the country.

How about your professional life?

My professional biography would be titled, “What Will You Do with That Liberal Arts Degree?” – a question posed to me by a former girlfriend’s father, who was skeptical that a degree in English and Psychology would equip me to earn enough to support his daughter and raise a family. That romance didn’t last, thankfully, because the next woman I dated wound up marrying me, and we’ve been together more than 35 years. Turns out that my degree was the perfect foundation for a career in marketing, which combines art and science and draws on both the creative and rational parts of the brain.

What motivated your involvement with the AMA-New Jersey chapter, and why is this organization significant to you?

Marketing is a dynamic profession that is constantly innovating. AMA helps practitioners stay current and gives us a way to stay connected with each other. I enjoy serving AMA because it gives me a way to advance our profession by helping to educate the next generation of marketers.

What advice would you offer to new professionals in your industry?

Develop yourself as a writer. Good writing is based on clear thinking. It requires you to gather and verify information, sort out what is valuable and what is not, organize it, and convey it clearly to others. These skills equip you to turn raw data into information, and information into useful knowledge. 

For anyone looking to connect with you, what is the best way to reach out on social media?

Connect with me on LinkedIn:

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