Assistant Professor, Marketing
Before Ann Mirabito moved to academia, she lived the corporate life.
Mirabito grew up in New York, earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Duke University, built econometric models for the Federal Reserve Board, and earned an MBA from Stanford before entering the corporate world. However, teaching was always in the back of her mind.
“When I graduated from college, I thought about earning a PhD, but instead earned an MBA and took the corporate route,” she said. “A few years ago, I began thinking, ‘I’ve always been interested in research and in the opportunity to become a professor.'”
Living in Dallas and then Washington, D.C., Mirabito worked as a marketing executive for Frito Lay and served as a divisional vice president for Time Warner.
“In the business world, I found I spent more and more of my time helping people get their careers on track,” she said. “That’s a lot of what we do as professors™helping students get oriented in the right direction and helping them shine in that area.”
Mirabito entered a new phase of life, earning a PhD in Marketing from Texas A&M University. She became a Baylor faculty member in 2007 and teaches Principles of Marketing.
“I enjoy teaching Principles of Marketing because if you’re going to be successful in business, you need to be well-rounded. For students who are going into other disciplines such as Finance, Accounting or Information Systems, I think it’s important that they have a good grounding in Marketing,” she said.
Mirabito focuses on “real-world” projects in her class, exposing students to business executives from the supermarket chain, H-E-B.
“An H-E-B executive comes to campus and invites the class to put together proposals for innovations for H-E-B,” she said. “Students work in groups and present their ideas to H-E-B executives at the end of the semester. It’s great to see the connection students make with the real world through our class projects.”
Far from New York, Mirabito said she enjoys her new life in Texas. She lives in a home built on a mesa overlooking Lake Whitney and the Brazos River Valley with her husband Frank, a law professor at Texas Wesleyan University, and their sons Jack, 11, and Charlie, 10, whom they adopted from Russia. Mirabito said she appreciates the opportunity to work at Baylor.
“What I love about Baylor is the dual focus on teaching and research,” she said. “It’s exciting to be in an environment where colleagues value teaching, and I like the support we have for research-research that is both scholarly and applicable.”
Mirabito’s research focuses on a highly discussed issue in America: health care. Her most recent article “What’s the Hard Return on Employee Wellness Programs,” coauthored by Leonard Berry and William Baun, was published in the December 2010 Harvard Business Review. The article looks at employers’ creation of workplace wellness programs and the outcomes of those programs.
“One of my research streams involves looking at ways business can help solve America’s health care crisis,” she said. “We found that well-designed, well-run employee wellness programs improve employees’ health and well-being, improve productivity, cut the employer’s health care spending, and improve the organizational culture. Some people think that workplace wellness programs are just a perk; however, we found hard business returns.”
Mirabito’s research has also been published in top medical journals, with articles discussing patient-centered medical homes and the ways employer and doctor collaboration can improve population health.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to improve America’s health care by introducing marketing and business into the medical community,” she said. “Health care is important for our physical health and our fiscal health as a nation. We used to think of health care as provider-centric. Now there is a shift to looking at health care as being patient-centric, and that’s a big marketing concept.”