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About the Episode

The what's what...

Zach is out at a leadership retreat this week, so we're featuring our most recent Starter Stories episode on the pod! Get ready to meet Elizabeth Johnson - Co-Founder and Chairman at SimpsonScarborough, one of the leading market research, branding, and design firms serving higher education today.

In her senior year of high school, Elizabeth thought she'd go and study psychology in college. But, after a conversation with her father who was footing the bill, she learned that she had two different major options before her - pre-med or mathematics. 

And while she chose the latter, her favorite college class was actually an art history course! After graduating, she went to work at a small market research firm before joining Carnegie Communications, now Carnegie Dartlet, where she worked for 10 years and served as COO until she received a phone call that would change her life forever.

Christopher Simpson, the former Vice President and Spokesman for Indiana University who had been in charge of handling Bob Knight's departure as a Hoosier back in 2000, asked Elizabeth to lunch to discuss an idea he had. 

That idea would lead to the founding of SimpsonScarborough.  Elizabeth didn't know it at the time, but just a few months after the company was founded, Christopher received a terminal cancer diagnosis. 

Tune in to hear the inspiring, challenging, and remarkable story of the birth and growth of SimpsonScarborough. And for more founder journeys, check out our Starter Stories podcast.

About the Podcast

Zach Busekrus


Zach Busekrus

Zach is the Founder of Enrollify. He thoroughly enjoys building new brands, developing and executing content marketing strategies, and hosting podcasts. When he's not working on Enrollify, he enjoys discussing life's quandaries over coffee (or a good bourbon) with friends, building Sponstayneous (his travel brand side hustle), trying out new HIIT workouts, and adventuring across the globe with his wife!

Elizabeth Johnson


Elizabeth Johnson

Elizabeth founded SimpsonScarborough in 2006 with the vision of creating a higher ed marketing agency that puts research at the center of marketing strategies. Over the last 30 years, Elizabeth has helped more than 300 institutions research, develop, and implement plans to increase visibility, strengthen enrollment, raise money, and advance higher ed brands —from flagship universities and Ivy League institutions to small liberal arts colleges and regional state schools.  She is a staunch advocate for the role of CMO within higher ed and the need to integrate marketing across the enterprise for colleges and universities to thrive despite the many challenges facing the industry. Elizabeth is a trusted resource within the higher education marketing community, having presented more than 200 workshops and papers at a veritable alphabet soup of higher education-related conferences and symposia, and chairing the American Marketing Association's Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education from 2007-2011.  Her work is fueled by an enduring belief that higher ed changes the world, and that US colleges and universities play an essential role in solving the world's most pressing problems —like curing cancer, alleviating poverty, and ending systemic racism. Elizabeth is a proud alumnus of James Madison University where she earned her B.S. in Mathematics and Fordham University where she earned her M.B.A. with a concentration in Marketing.

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