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Kathleen Flynn ’79

The Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer had plans of becoming a journalist and going to law school– now, she has no regrets about the great journey her career actually took her on.

Posted in: Alumni Profiles

Kathleen Flynn

Kathleen Flynn ’79 graduated from Montclair State with a BA in English and a minor in Journalism, as well as earning a K-12 Teaching Certification in 1979.  Flynn, who now resides in San Francisco, CA, is currently the Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer for Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, LLP.

After graduating from Montclair State, she taught high school English for two and a half years while also exploring career opportunities that matched her passion for journalism and marketing. She was later hired as a public relations coordinator for Coopers & Lybrand, which gave her the opportunity to combine both of her interests and move into professional services marketing. Since 1992, Flynn has led the marketing departments of a number of law firms including Cooley, Fenwick & West, Littler Mendelson and Sedgwick. For six years, she formed and managed her own marketing agency which supported law and accounting firms in business development efforts. In addition, she has held multiple leadership positions in the International Legal Marketing Association and Public Relations Society of America. From 2001 to 2003, Flynn, along with her husband and six-year-old son, took a sabbatical and traveled aboard their sailboat visiting nine countries and transiting the Panama Canal.

As a college student, Flynn would have never imagined that she would be spending the next 35 years as a professional services marketer. “I had planned to be a journalist and once considered law school, but I have no regrets – I love my job,” she says. “Throughout my career, I have worked with talented marketers, lawyers and accountants, which has brought me great opportunities and professional rewards that I never imagined as a young college student.”

Being an English major helped her develop valuable writing and communication skills that have been vital to her success as a marketer and leader. “The platform skills I developed in my teacher training have helped me to become a comfortable speaker and seek opportunities to speak,” says Flynn.

While at Montclair State, Flynn lived in Bohn Hall while also taking on a job as Resident Assistant during her senior year. She kept herself involved on campus by conducting campus tours, speaking about Montclair State at high schools, becoming a member of the College Life Union Board (CLUB) and The Montclarion. As a member of CLUB, she was responsible for coordinating and managing the hospitality for concerts on campus.

Her favorite memories of her time at Montclair State include “traying” in what used to be parking lots during the blizzard of 1978 and “catching rays” on the sundeck of Bohn Hall, while being serenaded by huge stereo speakers. Flynn very much enjoyed taking Broadcasting 101 with Dr. Wayne Bond and Shakespeare classes with Dr. Naiomi Liebler. “I loved her classes so much so that I even took a graduate level semester of Hamlet with her during my senior year,” she says. Perhaps, her favorite memory of all is seeing the pride on her mother’s face as she became the first woman in her family to graduate from college.

One piece of advice to undergraduates? “Be willing to start at the bottom in a career, industry or company that you are passionate about and then strive to exceed expectations,” says Flynn. “You will be recognized for your commitment and be able to grow in your chosen field.”