She Helps Businesses Crush the Box: Heather Martin '07

Heather Martin '07

Heather Ruth Martin has a long history of transforming small businesses and helping them achieve the next level in their revenue, profitability and growth. A 2007 graduate of the NJIT School of Management’s Executive MBA program, which she completed while helping to run a small business in New Jersey, Martin has been consulting to business owners, executives, sole proprietors and entrepreneurial salespeople for more than a decade. She recently launched her own consulting firm – Heather Martin, Inc. – designed to help small and midsized companies with their strategy and sales and also provide career consulting and resume writing services for individuals. 

While the profit motive is critical to business success, Martin strongly believes that there is “something beyond money” that must drive the business forward to success. Her motivation is to help business owners strategize from a new perspective that helps propel them to the next level.

“I like to help business owners do more than just think outside the box; I help them Crush the Box,” she says. “I do this by working with them to understand their business, sales process and their limitations in both processes and belief systems that keep them from moving forward. Once we’ve figured that out, we can unlock and unleash a tremendous amount of positive energy toward developing the growth of the business.”

In addition to launching her consulting firm, Martin recently published her first novel, Reclaiming Konia: A Tale of Love, Loss and the Armenian Genocide, a work of  historical fiction based on the life of her great-grandfather, Melkon Jenanyan. 

Tell us more about your new book.

My book, Reclaiming Konia: A Tale of Love, Loss and the Armenian Genocide, is a historical fiction novel based on the life of my great-grandfather who fled Turkey before the genocide in 1915. It takes place against the backdrop of the Ottoman Empire in the late 1800s as my great-grandfather, Melkon Jenanyan, becomes an ordained Christian Minister and missionary. Around 1894, the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II massacred upward of 300,000 Armenians in one of the first waves of violence over the next 20-plus years. Melkon married his wife Semma in Philadelphia, yet even with the awareness of violence, returned to the Ottoman Empire at the turn of the century to preach the word of God and open the first Protestant church. As they grow their family in a turbulent environment, they must decide to remain or flee, and inevitably determine the values that drive their life’s meaning.

How did you find out about the EMBA program at NJIT?

NJIT is a well-known institution in the state of New Jersey. I worked as the vice president of sales for a local environmental consultant, and we often looked for engineers graduating from NJIT to come work for us. In addition, as part of a networking event at NJIT, I met the dean of the School of Management at the time: Mark Somers. I appreciated the fact that he was focused on technology, but was completely down to earth. I’ve never been one to focus on standardized tests and the dean made it clear that the process of thinking independently within the framework of the education given at NJIT would be more critical than my test scores.

What made you choose NJIT’s EMBA program above others?

NJIT’s EMBA program has many advantages. First, I appreciated the intimate class size as a way to build strong teams, forge alliances and garner the needed time and attention from professors. The program is also very flexible—the thought of taking a year or two off work and incurring debt to pay for an MBA was not in my plans. But with the EMBA, I was able to work full time in my executive position while getting my master’s. I know many other colleagues in the program had high-level positions or ran their own businesses while completing the program. The third reason was the cost. Getting an MBA is an investment, but there is often no guarantee of income going forward. To garner the needed skills, education and contacts at an affordable rate with NJIT’s program allowed me to get the best ROI. I don’t care what people tell you; spending $100 grand on a master’s degree is not a good investment.

How did the EMBA program help you in your current career path?

The EMBA program helped me in two critical ways. First it created a set of relationships with intelligent people in many industries who I could reach out to at various stages in my career for input, advice and assistance. To this day, I am still in touch with a handful of my colleagues to discuss ideas or business ventures. The second thing it gave me was a set of tools for thinking, framing conversations, and understanding a wide breadth of businesses—from small entities to large corporations, as well as the lingo, skills and methodologies being used in those companies to drive a business toward success.

What would you advise current students who are considering a similar career path?

I would encourage students on all paths to think about what they want in terms of work—their contribution to an organization—as well as the balance in their lives and their desired income. Without a goal, it is difficult to score. Even with one, it can be challenging. For those who are on the entrepreneurial path, I would remind them that the MBA and the partnership with their alumni is one important tool in their toolbox.

Forge relationships with the professors and the students in your classes, because careers these days are not linear. Gone are the days where you move up the ranks of the same organization and retire from that same company 30 years later. The key for our generation is flexibility and creating a new set of rules within an ever-changing framework in the marketplace. The skills and contacts from NJIT’s EMBA program can augment the skills you will need to have anyway: tenacity, enthusiasm, creativity and persistence. Don’t be afraid to forge your own path—it is less traveled—but takes you to a far more interesting place.

By Christina Crovetto