On our first episode of Rediscover Your Story Podcast we have Jackie Marschall. Jackie is a proud Cincinnatian & lover of people with a passion for storytelling, community connection and sharing her voice for helping others. Her world revolves around the largest community-based provider of blood products and services in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky as the Public Information Officer for Hoxworth Blood Center, University of Cincinnati.
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Jesy Herron: Hi, I'm Jesy Herron, host of Rediscover Your Story, a podcast for marketers who need a break from everyday learning but still want to connect with like-minded professionals on all things creative. Today, we're here to listen and talk with Jackie Marschall from Hoxworth Blood Center. And if you think I'm positive, just wait till you hear from her. She's B+.
Let's discover her story.
Joining me today is Jackie Marschall from Hoxworth Blood Center.
Jackie Marschall: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it. I love this stuff. And it's always great to have spending time with you and talking with you.
Jesy Herron: We’re here in RESLV Studios, and I'm just going to quickly pick up a conversation that we were just having off camera, we were talking about your homegirl, Phoebe. Please tell us who is Phoebe.
Jackie Marschall: Phoebe is my number one biggest fan and my dog, my rambunctious golden retriever. She's just the absolute best. She's a menace. She's always playing the long game, but always out for love. If anybody can follow me on social media, you'll get enough of my dog. She wants everything, steals everything, including your heart. And if you're home late, she's going to steal your trash and throw it all over your house to teach you a lesson. Yeah, she's predictably unpredictable. So, 90% of the time, she's a perfect gem. But if I am home past dinner time, my life is ruined. It's worth it. I love her.
Jesy Herron: Puppies are worth it, aren't they? I have two little divas at home, my little French bulldogs. There were some serious threats I was making over the weekend over one of them. The other one. She's the perfect angel. But I mean, you know, it’s the name of the game. The things we do for our dogs.
Jesy Herron: What else does Jackie love? Tell me.
Jackie Marschall: I love Cincinnati. Cincinnati's where I was born and raised. I'm in Northern Kentucky, I should say, because that makes a difference sometimes. I'm an NKU undergrad, and then in a few short weeks, I will also have my master's degree from the University of Cincinnati. Very homegrown here. And I also love all the bars, restaurants. I'm a big social person, so I'm always out and about doing fun things. I'm 110% extrovert, so I need the people and I love the people here. We just have a really great community, all sorts of people here and all the love. I feel like there's just a lot of love in Cincinnati and I love being a part of that.
Jesy Herron: There is a lot of love in Cincinnati. I think it goes beyond just like our normal establishments, like people know us for maybe Skyline or Graeters or things of that nature. But I think beyond that it’s a fun place to be creative. I am always in awe of how generous everybody is in Cincinnati, like always willing to help one another just from the business side of the community and then just the non-business part of the community.
Jackie Marschall: Yeah. Gosh, we see that firsthand at Hoxworth and that's one of my favorite things. That Hoxworth is connected to so many people, like literally everyone and everybody always has a story to tell. I love being out at different events and stuff and you know, people always spot the Hoxworth booths and almost every single time, at least one or two people will come up and tell us about how their lives have been impacted by people who have donated blood. And I think that's just like the most amazing thing about my job in particular.
Jesy Herron: Let's take a quick step back. What is your job? Who do you work for? Tell me a little bit about that.
Jackie Marschall: HI, I am Jackie and I'm the public information officer for Hoxworth Blood Center.
Jesy Herron: Perfect role.
Jackie Marschall: Yeah. I do public relations, social media, all our regular media stuff. I'll be on the news. I do other podcast like our “In the know with Doctor O” podcasts, I manage our website, you'll see me on our social channels. I'm kind of everywhere. I do all the little things and it's so much fun, so very public facing and I get to do the fun stuff is like what I like to say
Jesy Herron: You really embrace all the fun. Any time that we're with you, I feel like you're just the biggest energy giver. So, thanks for giving us your energy.
Jackie Marschall: Of course. And likewise, with you all. I feel like you're the same way. It's not uncommon when we're just out and about randomly, separately and we run into each other in the city doing the same stuff because that's what we do.
Jesy Herron: Hoxworth is a very publicly well-known Cincinnati organization. And I think that to your point, like any time that I've ever worn anything. Hoxworth or if we've ever done work for you and we want to engage with people, they always have a story to tell us about Hoxworth. How important is that to you when you're out and about and you get to hear these stories?
Jackie Marschall: I mean, it's everything. It's what connects us to the community. It's kind of ironic, Hoxworth is the veins to the community, like we are connectors here. We really are where we service. For people who don't know Hoxworth Blood Center services over 30 hospitals in our tri state area in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. We differ from places like the Red Cross because when you donate blood with Hoxworth, your blood is going to be used here in the tri state area, helping your neighbors, your colleagues, friends, family like that.
Jesy Herron: Why is that important? I mean, that is one of the biggest differentiators about Hoxworth Blood Center is that your blood stays here. It stays local.
Jackie Marschall: That’s super important because that's like the true community connection. I mean, American Red Cross is a great organization, but when you donate blood with them, it could go anywhere in the in the country and sometimes the world, depending on what the needs of the blood supply is.
We support others like that, too. There’s a really great network of blood banks nationally. We all work together when there's tragedies and natural disasters and things like that. So, we've sent blood to multiple places across the nation. I think from the Vegas shooting that happened a handful of years ago, hurricanes that happened, they kind of put out a plea to whoever can send extra blood because their services have been impacted from X, Y, Z. And there's a really great network that all kind of bands together and helps nationally when needed. But like I said, the really special thing about Hoxworth is when you donate here, our hospitals are priority.
You know, over half of our platelet collections go to Cincinnati Children's Hospital. We have University Medical Center, which is a level one trauma center. Our blood is on the helicopters with the first responders, we're so connected and we're saving people's lives. You're saving people's lives. Our blood donors are and to see it firsthand, you may not know who is getting your blood, but you know, somebody that could literally be your neighbor might be getting it.
Jesy Herron: It's such an impactful organization and story. And I think one of the first experiences that I had in giving blood, it was really interesting to me because there was a woman who was really close by and she was also giving blood. And when I watched her, I was like, “okay, I'm super young and yes, I should be doing this.” But, I was so amazed at the amount of what I would call “legacy donors” that no matter what, come hell or high water, come rain, come snow come, whatever, they're going to be there to give blood. I mean there is such this connection, like you said to the community, but there's such a connection to your donors.
And I feel like Hoxworth does such a great job of staying connected with your donor base, right?
Jackie Marschall: Oh, yeah. I mean, number one, we absolutely love our donors. Our “In the know with Dr. O” podcasts second season has really focused on our donors and that connection rather than the technical side of blood. And it's been such a fun conversation to have with people. We've brought on a handful of people who have donated platelets 24 times, which is the max that you can donate in a year, and you literally can't skip a week. You must donate every other week in order to get that. And those people, they didn't go in sick, or they didn't skip it all. They donated 24 times. And they say that they will do it every single time no matter what. And sometimes they don't even have a connection in terms of somebody they know that has received blood. They just know it's the right thing to do.
And it's just like, gosh, we have so many people that are like that. So many people. We schedule upwards of 300 to 400 donors every single day that come into our facilities to donate. That's so many people. And then once you donate, you're out for eight weeks. So, every day it's like all these new people donate. It's just a testament to the community of blood donors that we have here and the people in Cincinnati who are willing to give back and be a part of their community in that way.
Jesy Herron: And it doesn't take money. It just takes time. I think that there's some people who are like “man, I just don't have enough money to give to an organization.” Giving blood doesn't take any money at all and Hoxworth actually give us things. like. All you need to do is show up and volunteers are like “Do you want a cookie, you want an orange juice? Oh, by the way, here's this awesome shark week towel, or here's a beach towel.”
Jackie Marschall: or tumbler T-shirt or jersey or something. Yeah. That's the fun part of our job, getting to do some of those fun promotions.
Jesy Herron: You have all the fun parts of your job!
Jackie Marschall: You know, I cherry picked that when I went to college. I required something fun. I went to school for public relations because it's a fun job.
Jesy Herron: Let's talk about your storytelling aspect part of your job. You mentioned that there's a lot of stories to tell and there's a lot of people that come to you with their stories. That’s a lot of responsibility that you have in telling the stories about Hoxworth interactions and encounters.
Jackie Marschall: We’re very thankful for people like you and RESLV to really capture storytelling through video, shameless plug of course, but being able to video is so important now. Tik-Tok and Instagram Reels and social media in general with short attention spans. If I see a block of text, I'm barely reading that. So being able to tell stories through video is important to us. And then just being able to share that through social media, through a website, through one-on-one conversations with people. We really try to get out and share stories at events everywhere. We try to be seen everywhere so that people do share their stories with us because I think people really enjoy telling their stories and having us listen to them. Storytelling for nonprofits specifically is probably one of the biggest motivators and marketing pieces that we can use to get new donors.
Jesy Herron: Let’s really dive into the importance of figuring out your target audience. The legacy donors are the backbone of Hoxworth donations and they will donate no matter what, which is fantastic. But it's a matter of how do you identify the next generation of donors and how do you connect with that next generation of donors? Because there are platforms like TikTok. There is no way that my grandpa is getting on TikTok, maybe there are some grandparents that are but I wouldn't see him on TikTok. How do you engage with that next generation?
Jackie Marschall: Yeah, I think it's such an interesting topic because it's not only just the next generation piece, but also this post-COVID shift in life. I feel like there has been such a shift in the way that people operate ever since post-COVID and organizations are really struggling to figure out how to keep people working with them. And other people are trying to figure out how can we get more donors or how can we engage this audience? And it's all different than it was before.
Obviously, video is super important with the short attention spans and TikTok. I think we're all still trying to figure out what is it that's really going to take to connect with this younger generation of people.
Blood donation is kind of sterile, right? Like a very clinical.
Jesy Herron: It’s blood!
Jackie Marschall: Yeah, it's blood. And I don't want to go to a doctor's office for fun. Like I avoid that at all costs. But being funny and fun and attractive is helpful to make that experience feel different than a clinical type of experience. We want people to leave Hoxworth feeling good about what they did. We want them to walk out feeling like they truly made a difference in our community. And I think that's a big thing, a big connection to the people that are donating.
Jesy Herron: And so it's about experience.
Jackie Marschall: Experience is a huge piece.
Jesy Herron: How do you change that experience from, “Oh God, I have to go give blood” to “I'm actually going to give blood and it's going to be awesome because I know that it's going to be a fun experience.” How is that shift happening?
Jackie Marschall: I think it's a lot of different pieces from the look and the feel when you step into a donor center. You'll see some changes in the next couple of years as a couple of our donor centers have some really fun stuff in the works. But also, it's the connection to our people.
One of our big things right now is that we're really trying to engage with our donor services folks, our phlebotomists, our frontline staff in a different way than has ever been done before. The frontline staff are the changemakers in our organization, they're the ones that are really talking to our donors and connecting with them. Treating them differently and empowering them to have those conversations and to be themselves in the work they do. Trying to bring out themselves in the work that they do and connect with their audience, which are the donors while they have them, you got a needle in your arm for 10 minutes, sometimes 2 hours for our platelet donors.
They're not going anywhere. That one-on-one conversation, that connection, talking to them about the patients that they see, giving them the full circle look of what blood donation really is, so when they do walk out and leave, they feel like they make a difference. I think that's a huge piece.
Jesy Herron: The last time that I gave blood, it was funny because we were actually just coming to visit. I had no idea that I was going to be giving blood.
There’s a tiny backstory to that in the sense that when we were at UC a few months earlier, there was a mobile blood donation. I went and I was getting everybody from our team on camera like Scott, Kyle, Steve, they all gave blood. And Joe (Hoxworth phlebotomist) was like, I'm going to get you. I told him I was good and that I was the camera person. And promised him that the next time I see him, never, ever thinking I would see him again, ever, that I'll give blood.
So when I walked in to come hang out at main to do something with you, Joe caught me. Joe said, “Hey, you owe me blood.” How the heck did he notice me out of all the people that he sees? And that was a huge time span. I think that's to your point in that it was such an experience. Everybody's craving experience.
Jackie Marschall: And we also really try to have a neighborhood feel with all the regular donors that we see all the time.
They're on first name basis with our phlebotomists and our staff. They’re on schedule. They will say, “I'm going in on Saturday and I'm going to go and see so-and-so in Anderson” Like, that's normal. It's very normal to be on a first name basis when you come into our donor centers. And we love that. Who doesn't love that?
Yeah, my favorite thing is when I go somewhere, and somebody calls me out by name and recognizes me. And I think our donors obviously love that, too. And I think that's an important piece to us.
Jesy Herron: So then let's just talk a little bit about this new campaign that you have rolling.
Side note, my neighbor who is in the commercial for the campaign, was on a cruise when the campaign went live and everything was blowing up. She came home and she's like, “oh, my gosh, I'm on TV”
Jackie Marschall: So welcome back. You're famous.
Jesy Herron: Exactly. And that's exactly what's going on. Walk me through the background on the campaign
Jackie Marschall: Oh, yeah. So, a few months ago, we sat down with your team at RESLV and had a little brainstorming session, you know, blood donation for the longest time has been the same, right?
I think a lot of people have been through it for years. I can say that it's been sterile, right? It's the same. The marketing has been the same and if we want to want to achieve something different, we have to try something different.
Jesy Herron: I love that.
Jackie Marschall: And we want to get new donors. We must talk to them and speak to them in a different way.
One of our big things was trying to figure out how to get in front of a new audience. And through our brainstorming sessions with RESLV, we came up with a bunch of different concepts and we came up with the Your Someone's Type campaign, which I think is really fun. I mean, obviously it's kind of kitschy and been done before, but we did it in a way that was kind of risqué, like kind of breaking the boundaries to get people to say, what is this for? Some people thought it was like a dating app or something like these commercials. And then to wrap it up at the end with a donor or a recipient, rather, saying, can you donate your someone's blood donation? Saved my time or my life. And I just think that that's super, super powerful because those are real recipients and they both have real stories that have impacted their entire life. And to see that emotion kind of come through at the end I think is really powerful.
Jesy Herron: I love the combination of like you hear so many personal stories of how someone saved someone's life. And so it's kind of like without just having that really I don't know, I don't want to say sterile, like someone saved my life and just being so serious all the time, like it has like kind of all the components and has like the fun component and then it kind of does tie it together with the more serious like requests, like, Hey, someone saved my life, and I hope that you take this seriously and that you consider donating. We're really excited about it too, and we're so excited that it's out there for everyone to see.
Jackie Marschall: Yeah, it's been about a couple of weeks now, so I'm so excited to get the feedback. I've had a few people reach out and say that they love it. It's definitely different for Hawksworth because it was so needed and I love the turnout of it and you know, getting to know the recipients too, like Carla Howard, she sits on our community advisory board and she has such a unique story that she actually had to wait for blood. So she's a sickle cell warrior and she was experiencing a sickle cell crisis. I mean, her lungs collapsed. She was like experiencing extreme pain and they didn't have a match for her. They had to, you know, collect the blood and try to find something that was more suited match and that took a little bit more time, which is why type matters.
And that's why we need a diverse blood supply as well, which is a huge thing that we're really trying to address and bring awareness to is getting more demographics. African-American community, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, all of these demographics each have different antibodies and different things in their blood. That helps match to somebody who's also from that same genetic heritage.
So it matters. And we need to have a more diverse supply because, I mean, this is a community we serve. We're almost a minority majority city. Yeah. So it's it's not just a need, it's an obligation as a community organization. And that's kind of how I see it and how I'm trying to approach it as I talk about this in the community.
Jesy Herron: And your team actually like embodies that. I mean, they do they really talk about that all the time, about how can we get everybody involved, how can we, like you said, serve everybody in our community? So that's really important. Yeah. And then what do you think is next for Hawksworth? Like it's it's kind of the same.
Like you can't really like just like, oh, one day we're going to change it up, We're going to do something different. It's always going to be this sort of blood in, blood out kind of organization. But what's next for Hawksworth? What can we expect from Hawksworth?
Jackie Marschall: Yeah, so I think that, you know, right now we're working on rebuilding our team from from the COVID 19 pandemic. So we lost a lot of staff and stuff. So we're in the in the process of rebuilding that and trying to get out in the community more. One of the biggest losses that we've seen in the past few years is our lack of mobile blood drives that we've been able to do. And one of the six the one of the most biggest things I feel like that connects us is like we have our donor centers and everybody comes there and it's great. But this is mobile blood drives. That's how we get new donors. And that's we probably we have so many people that like want to host blood drives with us, but we're just so limited in our resources right now. So that's one piece. And then we're also working on renovating on some of our donor centers. So I think going for a whole new look and some of our spaces want to help on that experience piece.
That's going to be a big change. And then also, I think just like a shift in like the culture, I think that's a huge thing too, is like we really want to have a shift in our culture in the way that people feel when they come in and come out. Like our donors specifically, I really hope to see a huge shift in the next few years and how that whole dynamic, the way the way that you feel walking in and walking out like I hope that that's a shift in that in a really positive way. And I think that that would be super impactful for our community. I think that's awesome.
Jesy Herron: And then you were talking about even just like building, you know, bringing in more team members so that there's like a big need for career opportunities in recruitment right now going on at Hoxworth, Right?
Jackie Marschall: Oh, my gosh. And yeah, I mean, shameless plug on this.
Like, honestly, for working at a Hawksworth has been such an opportunity for me. Like, I'm getting this master's degree. I've never thought in my life I would be, I have a master's degree and that's the perks that you get through. Hoxworth So you get free tuition for yourself and your family, which is crazy, but lots of right well paid time off, lots of vacation time, flexible schedules for the most part, depending on where you're at in the organization because it is a 24 seven type of organization. But yeah, I mean, you know, there's lots of room for advancement. The resources are just so many resources. You're connected to the University of Cincinnati, which is also an incredible perk.
Jesy Herron: I recently heard that UC is one of the largest employers in Cincinnati
Jackie Marschall: And that's actually unique to blood centers. I’m pretty sure that Hoxworth Blood Center is the only blood center in the nation that is attached to a university and has a research arm. So that is unique and also makes us really special.
I just want to say there's a lot of really great perks of working in Hoxworth and also we do all training in house. Phlebotomist don't have to come with any experience, you can come with a high school GED and we will train you. We hook people up.
Come on, come work for us. It's a really great place.
Jesy Herron: Let's talk again about some of the fun stuff. Hoxworth has a lot of community partners?
Jackie Marschall: Yes, tons of community partners.
Jesy Herron: And I see Hoxworth Blood Center out there more than ever, which I think is awesome.
Jackie Marschall: Love to hear it.
Jesy Herron: Seriously, any event that I'm at, there's a Hoxworth Blood Center logo or I see the name. What should we know about future events in May, June, July?
Jackie Marschall: FC Cincinnati is a great partner with us. We have a blood drive at the stadium coming up, which is usually one of our really fun ones because we the stadium to ourselves. We'll be at the Flying Pig Health Expo, which is another fun event for us. We love doing that because we get tons of donors that come through there. It's open to the public at the Health and Fitness Expo at Duke Energy Convention Center. Light The Night that comes up in October, we'll probably be at some pride events this year, maybe some Juneteenth stuff too. Gosh, you know, we really do try to be everywhere.
Jesy Herron: You do. And it really shows.
Jackie Marschall: Yeah, we are everywhere. And we are for everyone. So that's the kind of message we try to send.
Jesy Herron: That's awesome. Thanks for sitting down with me.
Jackie Marschall: Oh, this is a blast. I could do this for hours.
Jesy Herron: I want to sit here and talk to you for hours. I know this is great. You've got such an important story to tell, and you do such a great job of telling that story.
Jackie Marschall: And thank you for helping us tell that story and share it out to the world. And the beautiful video work and content, it's such a pleasure working with you all and I learn a lot.
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My name is Jesy Herron. Thanks for taking a break with me.