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Bayard Saunders

CMO of MiiA Digital



Office Hours: By appointment only

Areas of Expertise:Fundraising, Legal, Marketing, Networking, Operations, Presentation, Product Design, Technology

Bayard Saunders is CMO of MiiA Digital, engaging brands & consumers at the intersection of technology and communications, including social media, mobile & online direct marketing and PR, interactive promotions & events, analytics and research. He was a founder and led marketing for three successful startups from conception to acquisition in the B2B and B2C SaaS technology, manufacturing, healthcare, finance and retail sectors.

As Chairman of the Analytics Committee for the Technology Council, Bayard evangelized the use of business intelligence, knowledge management, metrics and data-driven management for the SMB business community. Formerly, Director Internet Sales & Marketing for The General, he led the mobile-first initiative producing mobile websites, mobile apps, and the social media and text messaging integration of customer service operations. He has also been a mentor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and a consultant at the Stanford University Office of Technology Transfer.

Bayard has practiced the innovation he preaches for Fortune 100 clients at WPP Group and Omnicom agencies, serving worldwide as a strategic planning resource for SONY Electronics, Qualcomm, Citibank, Procter & Gamble and General Motors.

Bayard earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Education and Communications from Wayne State University, and pursued graduate studies in Marketing at San Diego State University. He has also served on the boards of the Social Media Club, Interactive Marketing Association, American Marketing Association, the Public Relations Society of America, the Direct Marketing Association, and Sales and Marketing Executives International. He was an Op Ed contributor to the San Diego Daily Transcript, served as Contributing Technology Editor for Hour Detroit Magazine, and was a regular columnist/author for Idea Magazine. He is a featured conference speaker on the topics of integrated marketing, advertising, consumer communications and interactive technologies.

Q. What excites you most about the Wond’ry?

A.The opportunity to help, to participate at a fundamental level in a meaningful way in the process of creation and innovation, “to boldly go where no man has gone before,” and to give back to the community through the mission of the Wond’ry.

Q. What do you feel are the most important skills you have to offer in your role as a mentor?

A. I bring decades of experience and honed skills in every aspect of marketing and communications, from traditional branding to new media digital interface and customer experience design. I am of two minds: A mathlete in college and chaired the Analytics committee for the Technology Council, I have also been an amateur musician all of my life, bringing a creative bent to all of my pursuits. I think outside of the box, inside the box, around the box, and about the box, in ways most people would never expect.

Q. What has been your proudest moment in your career?

A.Certainly the success of my three startup companies, when they were acquired and paid investors. Proud of myself and those teams. As an individual, most proud of innovations that I conceived and brought to fruition: The first American car manufacturer website, the first home banking app, the first use of social media for eCommerce, the first text message-donation program, the year my SaaS raised $350 million for the largest nonprofits in the USA, etc.

Q. What has surprised you most about your job?

A. That the only constant is change. That every 18 months there will be a new discipline as a result of advancements in technology and science in human communications. That this professional pedagogy will be a lifelong process, and that I am delighted by change.

Q. If you could do everything over again, would you make the same career choices?

A. Mostly. Except that maybe early on I would have done a stint in Finance to help pay for my more artistic career path choices that involved less monetary compensation.

Q. In your opinion, what is the most important quality for success?

A. Persistence. And a sense of humor never hurts.

Q. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A. In kindergarten, our teacher asked us to draw a picture of what we wanted to be when we grew up. My most favorite thing to do at the time was to explore in the woods near my home. And I was excited by stories about explorers and scientists discovering new worlds, the north and south poles, the ocean, space… So I drew a picture of me in the woods with a backpack and told the teacher I wanted to be an explorer. She said, “No, no, dear. See, Jimmy drew a fireman, and Bob drew a police car, and Sue a nurse in a hospital.” So I sat down and drew a fire engine. But ever since that day, I have been an explorer – in school and in business – always an innovator, exploring the road less traveled, never satisfied with a single profession: photographer, writer, musician, artist, teacher, paralegal, analyst, strategist, designer, consultant – exploring technology, communications, and human nature.