At its meeting on September 30, the Senate of Semmelweis University decided to establish the Directorate-General for Marketing and Communication in the framework of the amendment of certain provisions of the Organizational and Operational Rules. The new Directorate-General will include the existing Directorate for Communication and Event Management (KRI), divided into two separate directorates based on the two main areas of expertise (communication and events), the Brand and Marketing Directorate, as well as the area of international communications from the Directorate of International Relations. The newly created unit will be headed as of October 1 by Dóra Szepesi, who has so far been working in the Rector’s Office and as the Rector’s PR Manager. She is also responsible for the creation and operation of Dr. Béla Merkely’s official Facebook page, one of the aims of which was to channel the Rector’s increased media presence in the wake of the pandemic.
Dóra Szepesi came to the university with more than a decade of experience in advertising agency work, typically working on major domestic and transnational international projects, running 360-degree communication campaigns using all available tools, from digital channels to print and television. These gave her an insight into all segments of marketing communication, covering all the areas covered by the new DG.
However, as she says, agency campaigns are usually communicated to a narrow, specific target group, whereas in the case of the university, the information needs to be communicated to a much wider audience, from university staff and students to patients and the general public. It is the latter that she sees as the real challenge, but also as a motivating factor. “I’ve always liked tasks that are new to me, that challenge me, that push me forward, and the tasks that need to be done, which is why I always took on many projects at once at the agencies,” she says, reflecting her fast-paced approach.
The new Director-General also said that, although she has only been working at the University for barely a year and a half, she very quickly felt like a Semmelweis Citizen, and that the very intensive work she has done alongside the Rector, adapted to his pace and the diversity of his responsibilities, has helped her to acquire a thorough knowledge of the University. “You could say that I did not arrive close to the fire from the first moment, but right into the fire, right into the thick of it,” she said.
For a transitional period, Dóra Szepesi will also take on the role of Director of Communication in addition to Director-General. This position was recommended to the Rector by Eszter Kovács, the previous head of the KRI, who, after much reflection, decided to focus on other professional tasks and challenges in the future. As of 1 October, Eszter Kovács will continue to support the communications area as Deputy Director for Press Relations and will also work on the creation of a new online platform for telemedicine.
The new directorate-general has been created to enable the directorates and departments involved in the communication area and its support to work more closely together, making their work more efficient. A new organizational structure and model will be introduced to strengthen the project-based approach.
International communication will be strengthened, with a stronger and more innovative marketing communication campaign, both towards prospective international students and in general. “If we can also achieve greater publicity in the international press, it will help to increase the University’s recognition and reputation and thus its progress in world rankings,” the Director-General stressed. This is why it is important to have synergy in both domestic and international communication, with one conductor managing these two areas, so that we can unite both areas in the interests of our goals. It is key to disseminate knowledge and to strive for clear communication to the general public, thus enhancing the reputation of the university, she made clear.
The tasks in the field of events will also be expanded, with the aim of providing more capacity to support smaller events in addition to the main events. The new leader considers it important to further improve the quality of events and to make large-scale events even more festive.
Dóra Szepesi said that she also wants to further strengthen the university’s digital platforms, and to use new platforms in addition to the current ones. It is important to create more and more unique content along the lines of strategic communication objectives, and this is very well supported by the studio and film crew already being built, which will allow us to create more and more self-produced short films, whether for educational or communication purposes, she said, giving an insight into the plans. The increase in tasks will also mean an expansion of the team, as it is clear that the current capacity of the department is no longer able to serve the growing needs and demands of the university. As a leader, Dóra Szepesi considers it important to have a strong team behind her, with whom there is mutual trust, and as she says, she herself wants to be part of the team, and she considers it essential to think together and to have colleagues contribute their professional knowledge and opinions to important decisions.
Our common goal is also to further strengthen the image of the university’s leaders and iconic figures, alongside the reputation of the institution, both at home and internationally, as communication is fundamental to the image of the university, to the image we portray of ourselves
– she stressed. She added that in the COVID-19 epidemic, the communication of the university, the rapid and up-to-date transmission of authentic information, has been highly valued over the past year and a half, and thus the preservation of the university’s leading role in this field is also a key objective.
“I am excited about the responsibilities of this new position. It is a great honor to be part of the University’s history,” said the new leader.
Translation: Tamás Deme
Photo: Attila Kovács – Semmelweis University