Alumni Coming Back to Teach: Meet John Nee

Please give us a brief overview of your academic and professional backgrounds.

For over 20 years, I’ve led corporate marketing, product management, and business development teams for innovative, high-growth companies. I’m now the founder and president of Act 1 Partners, a marketing, strategy, and experiential firm. I started Act 1 Partners to help organizations and teams realize their full potential by knowing their market, telling their story, and living their brand. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from Pepperdine University and an MBA from Portland State University.

What do you enjoy most about teaching in The School of Business?

I enjoy sharing my real-world experience with the students. There is sometimes a stark difference in how business works in a textbook versus real life. I like bringing that reality into the learning process. MBA students often have a lot of real-world experience, so the discussions of shared experiences add depth and perspective to the topics we cover.

What classes do you teach in our graduate programs?

Marketing Strategy and Pioneering Innovation for the Portland MBA at Portland State University’s School of Business.

What are you passionate about in your work?

I like helping companies grow top line revenues by working with them to align sales and marketing teams and exploring ways they can improve the customer experience for their clients. I’ve found that these two elements of a business can have a profound effect on culture and customer loyalty which translates to sustainable and profitable growth.

When you are not teaching, what do you do in your free time?

I like to exercise, play tennis, travel, fly fish, read and write. I also like watching movies.

What does “redefining business” mean to you?

Redefining business means managing a business on customer satisfaction metrics and not simply financial performance. Companies should be asking, “How are we adding value to our customers’ lives?” More than ever before, businesses have the tools to measure the customer experience. These tools allow for a faster and deeper understanding of the marketplace and provide a huge advantage for prioritizing projects and allocating resources. Therefore, business excellence should be measured by the strength of a culture where employees are fulfilled by their work and brand loyalty where customers genuinely like a company’s product or service. Taking care of employees and customers will ultimately drive the financial success of the company and create value for its shareholders.

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