IMC 634 – Digital Storytelling
Will Oechsler is the senior vice president of U.S. operations for Our Daily Bread Ministries headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI. In this role, he oversees all domestic publishing, media, marketing, strategic partnerships, outreach, and customer experiences. He also serves on the global executive team for this 75-year-old nonprofit that operates in 150 countries worldwide.
Oechsler served as chief marketing officer for Furniture Row Companies, one of America’s fastest growing furniture retailers. The Denver-based, privately held company operates more than 330 stores in 31 states and is the largest cash buyer of furniture as well as largest factory-direct mattress retailer in the United States. While in his role, he also championed many of the company’s philanthropic efforts for non-profits including World Vision, Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, St. Jude Dream Home, Salvation Army, Arbor Day Foundation, and the Tim Tebow Foundation.
Previously, Oechsler was president of EthnoGraphic Media, an educational non-profit that produced and distributed films exploring some of today’s most critical issues. Films included Little Town of Bethlehem, Miss HIV, The Grandfathers, End of the Spear, and Beyond the Gates of Splendor. Concurrently, he was president of XLER | Marketing & Brand Consultancy and adjunct instructor at West Virginia University’s Perley Reed School of Journalism in the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) master’s degree program where he taught classes on creative strategy and execution.
Oechsler served as executive vice president of marketing at Zondervan, an international leader in Christian communications. West Michigan-based Zondervan is a HarperCollins company owned by NewsCorp. He oversaw all marketing initiatives spanning the Bible, trade book, academic, children's, and new media groups. He was also responsible for branding, corporate communications, digital marketing, market research, creative services, and events.
Before Zondervan, Oechsler was president and chief strategic officer of Hanon McKendry. In that role, he led many of the strategic initiatives for corporate clients like Owens Corning, Hush Puppies, Furniture Row, National Heritage Academies, and Rubbermaid as well as non-profits including World Vision, Promise Keepers, Alliance Defense Fund, Focus on the Family, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan, Bethany Christian Services, and Knights of Columbus.
Oechsler's professional career began at Leo Burnett USA, at the time the country’s foremost advertising agency. There he managed research and planning efforts for many of the world’s top brands including McDonald's, Sony, Philip Morris (Marlboro), Reebok, P&G, (Crest, Luvs, White Cloud, Pepto-Bismol), and Walt Disney World. His national recognition for strategic marketing communications includes two Effies, an Obie, Gabriel, Silver Anvil, New York Festival World Medal, two Pollies, two Print Magazine Awards, a Web Award, Webby Worthy Award, Marketing Sherpa Silver Mouse, four Audies (including audiobook of the year), and more than a dozen Telly Awards.
Oechsler has served on multiple corporate and non-profit boards including AimWest, ArtPrize, Catholic Human Development Outreach, Compass College of Cinematic Arts, Ferris State Universityʼs Advertising/Business Program, Front Range Christian School, Global Publishers Alliance, Grotenhuis, Life International, Orphan Justice Mission, and Rich Learning International.
A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Oechsler holds a bachelor of science in speech and a master of arts in journalism. While with the University of Texas, he served as project director at the Office of Survey Research where he led research teams on behalf of clients such as Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, and Texas Department of Health. Oechsler was also a research consultant for the South Texas Health Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. There he managed qualitative and quantitative social science research studies among Hispanics living along the Texas border with Mexico.