It takes commitment to transform a mall into more than just a place for retail therapy and window shopping. As director of marketing for the Jefferson Valley Mall, Alexa O’Rourke’s long-term goal is to leverage hyper-local partnerships in order to turn the Yorktown retail center into a community hub. Last June, for instance, the shopping complex hosted the 2015 Yorktown Community Day, featuring carnival games, nonprofits, local emergency teams, rock-climbing, and food trucks. While it required a ton of coordination, O’Rourke found it rewarding—so much so, she’s currently gearing up for this year’s Community Day, which will take place at the mall again in June. Securing community partnerships like these are just part of her day-to-day responsibilities, which also include planning mall events, kids programs, wellness workshops, senior expos, fashion shows—and, of course, prepping the place for the busy holiday shopping season. October through December, O’Rourke’s days go into holiday overdrive. “It’s all about work/life balance to get through those extra work hours,” says O’Rourke, who makes it through the hectic shopping season by carefully outlining her priorities each morning.
• O’Rourke attended the University of Rhode Island, where she majored in public relations.
• She previously held a temp position at the bustling Stamford Town Center in Connecticut, where she discovered her love for mall-and-retail marketing.
• While in college, O’Rourke interned for a large PR firm in Manhattan, where she handled beauty-and-lifestyle accounts. While it was a “glam” gig, she prefers community-based fields. “You create more meaningful relationships by reaching out to strangers and turning them into friends,” says O’Rourke. “It’s super-important for me to do that in a job setting.”
• Her favorite place to shop at the mall? “This is a tough question,” replies O’Rourke, “but I’m a huge fan of Francesca’s,” a women’s casual-clothing chain.