Early achievements result in marketing award for FSU scholar

February 23, 2023

Her research shows up in more than a thousand citations by fellow scholars.

Her new findings resulted in five papers that are under advanced review at premier marketing journals.

She has served on at least four journal editorial boards and at least five dissertation committees.

The breadth of achievements by Colleen Harmeling reads like a list of feats that most faculty aspire to accomplish over the course of their career, but not even a decade has passed since Harmeling – now the Dr. Persis E. Rockwood Associate Professor of Marketing at the Florida State University College of Business – earned her Ph.D. and joined the faculty ranks.

Pictured at Coleen Harmeling's award ceremony, from left: supporters Marina Cozac (FSU), Jordan Moffett (University of Kentucky), Rachel Hochstein (FSU), Harmeling, Harrison Pugh (University of North Carolina-Greensboro), Valentina Udal (FSU) and Alec Pappas (Washington State University).

For her success as an emerging female research star and mentor, the American Marketing Association recently named Harmeling winner of its 2023 Erin Anderson Award.

"It is one thing to do good work that impacts the field, but it is another to be a great person who elevates those around her in a holistic way," wrote fellow scholars Hari Sridhar and Willy Bolander, both of Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. "Indeed, our lives are better with Colleen in them, and we are quite confident that our entire field is better off as well."

Harmeling credits the honor to a groundswell of support from past and present students and colleagues.

"My former students organized this without me knowing, so the award was a very big surprise," Harmeling said. At their prompting, more than 60 scholars submitted nomination materials to the AMA award's decision committee.

"The letters that they collected are still deeply moving to me," Harmeling said. "I am grateful for this loving community of humans who can see things in me that sometimes I cannot see myself. This field has been such a gift, and I hope I can give back what it has given me."

Harmeling, who earned tenure as an associate professor at FSU in 2020, studies the intersection of marketing strategy and customer relationship management. Her work focuses on stakeholder engagement theory and strategy with an emphasis on healthcare decision making, relationship dynamics, customer experience design, relationship recovery, and morality in business-to-business, service and retail markets.

Fellow faculty members note that she is routinely asked to present research and career talks at leadership conferences.

Along with evident prowess as a scholar, the Erin Anderson Award criteria calls for a strong track record of mentorship. Not only does Harmeling teach junior faculty members how to succeed at an academic career, her colleagues wrote, but she also teaches them how to pay those lessons forward as well.

"Colleen forms deep relationships with mentees by being transparent about her own path and choices," they wrote to the selection committee. "She models hard work and persistence that success as a research scholar requires. But, more importantly, she models the ways in which a scholar can impact her discipline and lend a helping hand to younger scholars who come along behind her."

One of the authors of that letter, Michael Brady, the director of the Dr. Persis E. Rockwood School of Marketing at FSU and Bob Sasser Professor of Marketing, said Harmeling is the first FSU marketing faculty member to be honored with the Anderson award.

"It's a much-deserved honor for her," Brady said, "and, for us, it's another important milestone on the Rockwood School's path to preeminence." FSU recently created the school through a $10 million gift in honor of trailblazer and former FSU marketing faculty member Dr. Persis E. Rockwood.

-- Melanie Yeager