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The Big Sell

Monday, November 6, 2017
Trinity alumna Bene Eaton at Under Armour

Alumna thrives in fast-paced, high-stakes milieu of global marketing

Bené (Petty) Eaton ’09, B.A. Communication, Speech Communication with a minor in Business Administration

by Mary Denny

You’ve seen the ads promoting Under Armour gear and apparel: “Unlike Any” featuring American ballerina Misty Copeland, “Make That Old” featuring NBA star Stephen Curry, and “Rule Yourself” featuring Olympic champion Michael Phelps, among many others.  Now meet the woman behind them: Trinity University graduate Bené (Petty) Eaton.

It’s a long way from the relative safety of the “Trinity bubble” to the fast-paced, high-stakes, demanding world of international marketing, and Bené has sailed into that world and found not only a friendly harbor but also great success. As advertising and campaign integration manager within Under Armour’s Global Brand Management team, she develops brand strategy and plans and executes global advertising campaigns. “It’s awesome to see a campaign come to life from an initial creative idea to a full blown initiative,” she says. “I am always amazed to see our global campaigns show up across the world in TV and social media from New York to Amsterdam to Shanghai.”  The job entails leading cross-functional teams across retail, wholesale, e-commerce, international media, social events, and PR to plan 360-degree campaign launches and activations. She is also the central point of contact with UA’s advertising agency of record, Droga5 (Ad Week’s 2016 Agency of the Year.) As key UA brand representative at film and photo shoots, she travels often to LA., New York, and San Francisco.

Sharp, passionate, and personable, Bené loves her job and the entrepreneurial environment “rich with people from all different walks of life.” With almost palpable enthusiasm, she says, “Every day is different and every project opens new doors. It’s also incredible and inspiring to work with some of the world’s greatest athletes.”

Bené  initially found her inspiration on the Trinity campus, where she “grew up” swimming in the pool and attending Vespers during the holidays. (Her father Ken Petty, advancement services manager, has worked at Trinity for more than 25 years.)  “I loved the environment and always looked forward to the day I would attend as a student,” she says.  While her father exposed her to Trinity’s many opportunities, her mother, who had a full-time job and was “incredible at balancing work and family,” taught her “what it looks like to be a strong successful female in the workplace and how to chase both family and career ambitions.”

As a Tiger, Bené “really fell in love” with the classes she took in the communication department, particularly “Advertising & PR” and “Media and Society.” She credits communication professor Jennifer Henderson with sparking her interest in the field, encouraging her to engage in communication research and take additional classes.  Other influential professors include Sammye Johnson in communication, Andrew Hansen in human communication and theatre, and Charlene Davis in business. “I cherished my time at Trinity,” says Bené, who was member of Gamma Chi Delta sorority where she held roles as publicity and scholastic chairs. She also worked as a resident mentor (RM) for two years mentoring first-year students.

She spent her first postgraduate year at an advertising agency before entering the University of Houston’s Jack J. Valenti School of Communications, earning her M.A. while continuing to work at the agency. Later, she served as advertising manager at Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

When her husband, Kevin Eaton ’09, accepted an internal medicine residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, the couple moved to Baltimore. Ready to take her marketing career to the next level, Bené accepted a role at Under Armour headquarters in the same city.

Bené and Kevin live in Baltimore with their dog, Huxley. For fun she likes to read, run, practice yoga, and blog. She also admits to being a fashionista—“I love fashion!” As for future career plans, Bené wants to continue in the marketing field with aspirations to one day becoming a chief marketing officer. “I put a lot of pressure on myself when I graduated to find the ‘perfect job’ and get into the right grad school,” she recalls, an approach she advises against today. Instead, Bené encourages new graduates to stay open to opportunities and not worry about having everything figured out immediately upon graduation. “I would have never crafted my current career trajectory 10 years ago, but I’m glad I ended up where I am.”

You can contact Bené at beaton [at] underarmour.com