By Sarah M. (Fugman) Wells, class of 2003, Creative Writing major and English minor
Ashland MFA, class of 2015
Director of Content Marketing
I started a new position with Spire Advertising in Ashland as Director of Content Marketing in January 2017. In my role, I lead a team of writers, videographers, and social media marketers to tell the stories of small businesses using a variety of media. I set the tone and voicing for each web project and video script. I work closely with our broader team of marketing professionals to plan a content marketing strategy for each of our marketing customers that includes drafting email campaigns, planning social media content calendars, writing series of blog posts, and developing new landing pages.
This isn’t the work I thought I would love as an undergraduate creative writing major, and it isn’t the path I envisioned for myself as a student in the MFA program at Ashland either. And yet here I am - writing all day for over 50 small businesses, leading a team of creative people, and loving every minute of it. People in the everyday world need good writers - just scroll through the comments section of a popular article (if you dare) or your Facebook feed, and you’ll find all of the evidence you need. My current mission in life is evangelizing to MFA graduates and other great writers to convert them to the digital marketing world. Y’all should come hang out over here… it’s so fun!
As both a traditional student in the classroom and an active observer during my time as the administrative director for the MFA program, I deeply value the reading and writing of the human condition taught and practiced in Ashland’s creative writing programs. Besides the essential tools of craft, the program helped me to learn how to see and hear the world. I’ve found this careful listening to be a critical component of leadership and the creative process.
Outside of my day job, I try to make time to write my personal projects. In the early morning hours before I head to work, I’m currently writing a family devotional for Discovery House Publishers. The devotional is under contract and due to the publisher this fall. It will be available for sale fall 2018. I’m only partly kidding when I’ve said I’d like to title the devotional, Not Your Mama’s Family Devotional. These days I spend most of my time working on this project and other faith-based articles for Off the Page, a blog geared toward individuals within or outside of the church who have an interest in matters of faith. I aim to write on my own blog once a month, at sarahmariewells.com.
I keep one toe planted in the English Department at Ashland until someone asks me to get on out of here, as co-editor of Beautiful Things with River Teeth. It’s my regular connection to the literary world - and to Joe Mackall and Dan Lehman - and I’m hanging on to that connection with all of the twitchy muscles my big toe has to offer.
It’s been an unexpected journey since I graduated from Ashland in 2003, from working for a landscape architect as an office assistant to managing public relations for a private Christian school, from serving as the administrative director for Ashland’s MFA program for seven years to working as the senior managing editor at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management, to leaving higher education to be right in the mix of small businesses, where I have the chance to tell a new story every day.
I’ve loved all of it.