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Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - Take 5 with Joan Carleton
By Katie Land, news editor

Composed of a diverse array of faculty, staff and administrators, the Oakland University community is unique, creative, and dedicated. As part of a continuing effort to explore the various roles and lives of our Golden Grizzlies, the News @ OU website presents a new interview series. We invite you to share these stories and “Take 5” with OU.

"Take 5 with Joan Carleton"

Joan Carleton is the marketing and communications manager for the Macomb-Oakland University INCubator. At the incubator, Joan handles all of the integrated marketing including branding, web development, marketing, writing, and event planning. Joan originally joined the OU community as a student, completing her second bachelor’s degree in journalism with a graphic design minor in 2011. A Michigan native, Joan earned her first bachelor’s degree from Albion College in art and communication. She currently lives in Oak Park and is contemplating a return to campus as a graduate student.

1) What special challenges do you face as the marketing and communications manager at Mac-OU INC?

Basically I’m in charge of all of the integrated marketing for the incubator. In the fall of 2011, we did a complete restructure of our branding initiatives. It was great to come on board at a time when things were changing because I was able to implement a number of initiatives and incorporate ideas into our event planning, web, marketing, writing and branding work. In addition, I assist with statewide entrepreneurial events, such as the Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship and the Accelerate Michigan Business Plan Competition. My job is never the same from day to day, and I really enjoy having different projects and programs to work on. One unique challenge is getting the word out about the incubator because in a way, we are a start-up ourselves. We are still working to develop our audience, and spread the word that we are here for all entrepreneurial needs.

2) What makes the Macomb-OU Incubator unique?

We offer incubation and acceleration services. Our incubation services include offering low rent facilities with a great space – offices are furnished and have exterior doors, sinks, mail services and access to office equipment. Our acceleration services are always growing. We offer a business advisory board and executives in residence, including business coaches, a defense expert, a CPA, and an attorney on site. We frequently host special events, including Lunch & Launches, Fireside Chats with successful entrepreneurs, Capital Raise Meetups, and collaborative events with organizations such as the Biotechnology Business Consultants, PTAC, the Great Lake Entrepreneur’s Quest and the Mid Michigan Innovation Center. We are located in the defense corridor of Sterling Heights, which places us in an ideal spot to cater to companies that specialize in defense, homeland security, advanced manufacturing and technology.

3) What is something everyone knows about you?

I originally wanted to work in the fashion industry, and even spent a little over a year in New York, working for designers like Shalini, Dolce & Gabbana and Betsey Johnson. Moving back to Michigan, I realized that my true calling is marketing, no matter the client. I try to visit New York at least once a year now, but Detroit will always be my home.

4) What do you like best about working at Oakland?

I love that I came here for school and received an excellent education. I was committed to Oakland before I worked here, and I am so happy to work for an organization that I really believe in – which is something rare. As opposed to finding a job wherever the opportunities happened to be, I was able to continue on in an environment I already held respect for. It’s very special.

5) Do you have any particular hobbies or special interests?

I love to cook, and love having a home to myself so I can take over the kitchen. Lately I have gotten really into healthy eating and am always trying out new recipes. For example, I just made a pizza the other night with a low-carb cauliflower crust. I have always been an avid reader, and usually have about three books on my nightstand. My family has a cottage on Glen Lake near Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, and summer days with my entire family are moments when I am most at peace. I also recently went skydiving in Puerto Rico and loved it. It was so exhilarating, my life is forever changed. I hope to do it often!