Leigh Davis hired as Eagle's marketing director
PITTSFIELD — Leigh Davis has been a film and television editor in Los Angeles and a tenured professor in Ireland. She's served as a marketing manager, a public relations consultant, a newspaper columnist, a real estate agent, and a town official in Great Barrington.
It's an eclectic career path, and the next chapter has brought Davis to The Berkshire Eagle and New England Newspapers Inc. where she has been hired for the newly created position of marketing director.
Davis has served as marketing manager for the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington since 2012.
A Great Barrington resident, Davis will assume her new duties at The Eagle on July 1. She will be headquartered at The Eagle's main offices in Pittsfield.
"I was looking for an opportunity to take my marketing skills to the next level," said Davis. "I've always been very committed to the community. And the direction that The Eagle was going in with local ownership ... was very important to me."
As marketing director, Davis will promote the company's news products online and in print, bolster advertising initiatives, drive new subscriptions, build value for current subscribers, and overall expand the business, according to Publisher Alan English.
New England Newspapers President Fredric D. Rutberg said Davis brings to the company "real in-depth knowledge of marketing ... along with a deep knowledge of the local community. It's very rare to have both.
Promoting The Eagle is "how we want to increase circulation," Rutberg said. "[Our goal] for the company is increasing the quality and the quantity to get the readership. Now that we're at that level, we want to increase the readership"
At the Mahaiwe, Davis launched a successful and diverse marketing campaign that resulted in eight of the top 10 shows in its 12-year history. She also is credited with expanding the performing arts center's audience demographic and geographic reach.
Mahaiwe attendance increased 48 percent between 2012 and 2016. The increased revenue from ticket sales allowed the organization to achieve a balanced budget for four years, with a 50/50 split between earned and contributed income.
Davis said she believed part of that success was her ability to "work outside the box, be creative, see the big picture from a customer's eyes."
"I'm very passionate about the community," she said. "That's what I can bring to The Eagle: Big picture thinking but not missing the details that matter."
"She's done a fantastic job in her five years at the Mahaiwe," said Mahaiwe Executive Director Beryl Jolly. "We've had tremendous success from her efforts expanding the brand and the reach. It shows great success at the box office."
Interested in film while attending high school, Davis went to Los Angeles in 1992 and worked as a film and television editor, a post-production supervisor, and in script development as an assistant director at companies such as Universal Studios, DreamWorks, Warner Brothers Studios, Paramount Pictures, Columbia Tri-Star and Sony Pictures.
Davis left the film industry in 1998 and moved to Ireland, where she served as a tenured professor in the school of humanities at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. She also served as course coordinator for the school's department of film and television from 2003 to 2005. She also earned a master's in screenwriting at Galway.
After her parents passed, Davis decided to return to the U.S. with her three children in 2010.
"I realized that I wanted to raise my kids in America," she said. "So I took the leap not knowing where the leap would take me."
She came to Great Barrington in an unusual way.
"I was traveling through Great Barrington on a holiday and got stuck in a snowstorm," Davis said. "I fell it love with it, and moved here with my three kids. I had no job. I came as a person wanting to make a better life for my children."
New England Newspapers includes The Eagle, and Bennington Banner, Brattleboro Reformer and Manchester Journal in Vermont. Rutberg, Robert G. Wilmers, Hans Morris, and Stanford Lipsey bought the company from Digital First Media in May 2016.
Business Editor Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at 413 496-6224.
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