The Ohio State University Alumni Association

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Nancy Kramer ’77, our storyteller

The marketing whiz and alum built her brand in Columbus, improving both Ohio State and the city in the process.

Nancy Kramer ’77 has the job title of chief evangelist, which suits her national and global reputation for telling meaningful stories. She founded her marketing agency Resource/Ammirati in 1981; it was acquired last year by IBM. Kramer also sits on the boards of The Columbus Foundation, The Columbus Partnership, The Ohio State University Advancement Committee and Wexner Center for the Arts, among others.

We asked for her take — as a professional storyteller and someone who’s lived her whole life in Columbus — on the ever-evolving interactive narrative of the university and the city.

From your time as a student here into your professional life, how have you seen the relationship between Columbus and Ohio State evolve?

In the late ’90s, the university and the city didn’t cooperate very well. It took the leadership of Mayor [Michael B.] Coleman to recognize the university was one of the biggest assets of the city. And it took the leadership of the university at the time recognizing the value of the city. Having a university in an urban environment is so fabulous. I love to see how the two worlds have collided and intersected and are collaborating in distinct ways.

What’s a favorite example?

The Smart City initiative is a great way for these two entities to collaborate around very specific things. It’s about future economic development in the city, and the more economic development, the better. People from the university can take positions in the market, and the market loves to retain talent.

How is Columbus doing at telling its story to the world?

The city has become more confident, and we’re owning who we are. Several years ago, we went through an exercise about the city’s identity, and what came up again and again was that the collective city was very smart and very open.