Maria Taito Mirsky
Class of 1975
Maria Mirsky graduated with one of those “scholarly” degrees: B.A. in English Literature—the kind that people so often assume will limit career choices and leads them to ask, “What are you going to do with it?” Maria’s answer, in effect, has been, “Practically anything!” Her Marywood degree prepared her for a lifelong career—39 years—in marketing communications, at a time when majors in marketing communications barely existed. Maria, like many young women of the day, was ahead of her time. They were a generation looking to challenging careers on the horizon when they graduated, but programs to launch them into such careers had not yet been developed. However, Marywood’s broad liberal arts focus had prepared Maria to plunge into that brave new world of marketing and advertising—and succeed!
“I learned not only writing skills, but how to maintain an audience focus,” she said. “In advertising, it’s about what appeals to your target
demographics, so playing a contrarian role is key. The philosophy and psych courses also helped, along with analyzing why an author chose his/her subject. Playing games with readers, like Henry James was famous for, capped off my approach to marketing communications,” Maria added, noting the special influence of three of Marywood’s legendary English professors: the late Dr. Phil Tama, the late Barbara Hoffman, and Dr. Margaret Yarina, now retired.
In her first year after graduation, Maria worked temporary secretarial jobs through Kelly Girls. (Her salary financed two trips to Europe, following a popular “Europe on $10 a Day” plan.) Her marketing career began in September 1976 at FMC Corporation in Philadelphia, as a secretary in the Global Marketing department. Within six months she’d earned a promotion. She moved to positions of increasing responsibility with several of the world’s most prestigious manufacturers of agricultural chemicals, before founding her own marketing agency in 1986. Today, nearly 30 years later, Mirsky Associates is a successful full-service agency—concept to placement, providing multi-channel marketing, branding, and public relations, including product packaging and regulatory support. Her client list is a global who’s who in plastics, pesticides, recycling, and agricultural products. She and her husband, Jay, a University of Scranton graduate, are parents of two rising young professionals.
Maria speaks of her gratitude and affection for Marywood and the teachers that prepared her so well for a career she had not imagined. Her fellow graduates are delighted, in return, to express their admiration for the accomplishments of an outstanding alumna by naming her recipient of the 2015 Award of Excellence in Creative and Performing Arts.
2015 Award of Excellence in Creative and Performing Arts